The Linen Hall is the oldest library in Belfast but we are much more than that. Since 1788, we have been opening minds in the city and beyond, promoting the pursuit of knowledge and preserving our world-renowned collections for you.
An extensive general lending collection of fiction and non-fiction for the benefit of our members, with strengths in literary fiction, history, politics and arts and culture – it’s like having your own private library!
Uniquely placed thanks to our history and heritage, our expansive Irish and Local Studies collection includes countless volumes of local history, fiction, plays and poetry, as well as significant archive, newspaper, map and manuscript holdings. Delve into the history and culture of Belfast and beyond.
Understand beyond the headlines with the definitive archive of the ‘troubles’. Over 350,000 items - including artefacts, books, pamphlets, leaflets, posters, and periodicals - encompassing all shades of opinion, alongside significant political and social archives of key figures and organisations. Digitised content is available via Divided Society and extraORDINARYwomen.
Digitised material from our Northern Ireland Political Collection, concentrating on the 1990s - an historically significant period of momentous change documented in thousands of individual issues of periodicals, along with posters illustrating the times. This resource also includes audio and video galleries, essays by leading academics, educational toolkits, and oral reminiscence.
Digital resource exploring roles and attitudes of women in Northern Ireland during a momentous period of recent history and political and socioeconomic change. Fascinating archives, online exhibitions, insightful creative responses, and inspiring oral histories capture issues affecting women of all generations in Northern Ireland.
The primary source for theatrical material from Northern Ireland, our Theatre & Performing Arts archive charts local theatre from printed plays of the 18th century to collections of programmes of numerous theatres, including the Grand Opera House and Lyric Theatre, and archives of playwrights and local theatre companies. Digitised content is accessible via the Digital Theatre Archive and extraORDINARYwomen.
Digitised archives of a number of writers who were born or grew up in Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Literary Archive begins in the late 19th century with the work of Sir Samuel Ferguson, and includes letters, manuscripts, and typescripts of John Boyd, Robert Greacen, Sam Hanna Bell, John Hewitt, Joan Lingard, Louis MacNeice, Stewart Parker and WR Rodgers.