Libraries enable the past to talk to the future.

Edward Cornish




Introduction to Collections

The Linen Hall Library has unique collections comprising c.250,000 volumes, and many thousands of more ephemeral items. Originally Belfast's only general library, it has an extensive General Collection (Levels 2 and 4), and a Children's Collection (Level 2).

The Library is best known for its Irish and Local Studies Collection, which includes a wide range of specialisms in form and content, and notably the Northern Ireland Political Collection, and the Theatre & Performing Arts Archive (all can be accessed at Level 4).

The Library has a significant Genealogy and Heraldry Collection, and one of the largest collections of Burns & Burnsiana outside Scotland (Level 4).

The Library holds its own archives and those of others, along with literary manuscripts in its Archives and Manuscripts Collection (Level 4).

Postcards IrelandSome of the Library’s collections have been digitised. A selection of material from the Theatre Archive can be viewed at while the Library’s vintage postcard collection can be browsed and purchased at

The Northern Ireland Literary Archive features the original manuscripts and letters of nine local writers. Work by Louis MacNeice, John Hewitt, Joan Lingard and Sam Hanna Bell amongst others are available to consult, alongside short essays that explain and contextualise the images (

For further information, please contact:

Irish & Reference Department
T: 028 9032 1707