History of the Library
The Library’s history dates back to the establishment of the College in 1592 and it is the largest library in Ireland.
Today it has 5 million printed volumes with extensive collections of journals, manuscripts, maps and music reflecting over 400 years of academic development. The most famous of its manuscripts, the Book of Kells and the Book of Durrow, were presented by Henry Jones, Bishop of Meath and former vice-chancellor of the University, in the 1660s. Other special collections include the Ussher Collection acquired in 1661 and the Fagel Collection of 1802.
The Library was endowed with legal deposit privilege in 1801 and continues to receive copies of material published in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The Library supports the learning and research needs across all disciplines of the College; it is a major research library of international repute; it provides services to a wide range of external users and institutions; it contributes to the development of creative initiatives in information provision and its exhibitions of manuscripts and other treasures attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to visit the Old Library each year.
Although an institution of great antiquity, the Library pioneers modern methods of resource discovery and developments in the teaching, learning and research processes.