The Library dates back to the establishment of the College in 1592 and is the largest research library in Ireland.
Today it has five million volumes with extensive collections of journals, manuscripts, maps and music reflecting 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 now has a triple role – as a university library; as a research library of international repute; and as a provider of information to government departments, research organisations, and technical, industrial and commercial bodies within Ireland.
Although an institution of great antiquity, the Library pioneers modern methods of resource discovery and developments in the teaching, learning and research processes.