Irish Studies Resources

Library Collections


The Hesburgh Libraries at Notre Dame have one of the most extensive Irish studies collections in America. As a collecting focus and strength of the Hesburgh Libraries, all aspects of Irish life, culture and thought are well represented.

The circulating collection is almost comprehensive in its academic publications on Irish history, literature, and Irish language from the past two decades, and continuous collection-building ensures that most scholarly publications from the twentieth century are now available to us. The ND catalog provides a guide to these and to the many books in the social sciences, medieval studies, art, music and anthropology, which relate to Irish studies. Audio collections of Irish music are particularly strong in traditional music, and the video collections include both feature films and documentaries.

The Notre Dame community enjoys online access to subscribed collections such as the Dictionary of Irish Biography, the Irish Times Online, and the Irish Newspaper Archives, in addition to many interdisiplinary resources that include Irish material. Periodicals, in paper or online, include academic journals and also magazines or newletters on Irish history, literature, current affairs and bibliography. The Hesburgh Libraries’ membership of Hathi Trust and subscriptions to ebook collections ensures immediate online access to a growing number of digitized copies of books, directly from the library catalog.

The Rare Books and Special Collections include, as the name implies, books that are old and rare, including many seventeenth-century publications, and also less-rare items that, taken together, comprise collections of scholarly interest and use. Thus, in addition to a fine collection of old and rare books, periodicals and maps, there are special collections of novels (from rare editions of early novels to contemporary paperbacks), political and religious pamphlets, manuscripts, theatre programs and other print or written papers which together constitute sources for the study of Ireland.

Among Hesburgh Special Collections are the personal library of Captain Francis O’Neill, the Vienken and Michael Foot Collections of Jonathan Swift and the collection of Edmund Burke’s bibliographer, William B. Todd. The Loeber Collection forms the basis for the Irish Fiction Collection, possibly the most wide-ranging Irish fiction collection in the world, and a further Loeber Collection of Irish periodicals was acquired in 2016. The Irish theatre collection includes twentieth century programs and scripts, and printed plays from earlier centuries.

Manuscript collections include the papers of writer Patrick McCabe, the archives of Arlen House Publishers, a collection of J. J. O’Kelly’s papers and a collection of Robert Lynd’s correspondence.

It is unsurprising, considering the role of Irish-Americans in the University, that the University Archives should hold collections of interest to Irish studies and to Irish-American history. Items of Irish-American historical interest include artifacts, correspondence, and records of University activities.

In addition to the collections held by the Hesburgh Library, a growing number of services are offered to scholars who wish to apply digital technology to their research. The Center for Digital Scholarship provides technology and expertise for those interested in applying text-mining or other digital tools to Irish studies.

Aedín Clements is the Irish Studies Librarian and Curator. She and her colleagues are happy to discuss any aspect of these collections, to provide guidance, and to meet with classes and groups engaged in any aspect of Irish Studies.


R. C. Sweetman Reading Room

The R. C. Sweetman Reading Room provides books, CDs, instructional tapes, and Irish studies journals to faculty, fellows and students of Ireland at the University of Notre Dame. Its over 1000 volumes are organized by topic: Drama, Folklore, History and Politics, Literary Criticism, Music, Poetry, and Prose. The Reading Room receives The Irish Times, in addition to domestic newspapers.

As in past years, the experience of students and faculty alike has been significantly enhanced by the Richard C. Sweetman Family Fund. Everything we do starts with students. As the R. C. Sweetman Fund continues to grow, we look forward to be able to do even more for them.