The National Library of Ireland’s map collection contains early printed and manuscript maps and contemporary maps.
The collection focuses primarily on Ireland, but there are also maps of Britain, Europe and the rest of the world.
You can search for maps in the online catalogue.
The NLI’s collection of early printed and manuscript maps can be accessed in the Manuscripts Reading Room. You will need a reader’s ticket to access the collection.
These maps range from the 12th century to the 19th century, and include military and engineering maps, estate maps, and grand jury county maps providing an interesting insight into the changing topography and history of Ireland.
Notable items and collections
Some notable collections include: a 12th century map of Europe in Giraldus Cambrensis’ work Topographia Hibernia and the 16th century maps of the world in Ortelius’ Theatrum orbis terrarum.
Maps by Richard Bartlett documenting the Tudor conquest in Ireland.
17th century military plans of towns and fortifications by engineers such as Captain Thomas Phillips.
Copies of the Down Survey maps of lands confiscated by the Cromwellians in the seventeenth century by Sir William Petty.
18th century estate and urban surveys by Bernard Scalé.
Land Survey Maps by John Longfield, John Brownrigg, Thomas Murray et al., of the Longfield Map Collection: c. 1770 to 1840.
Ordnance Survey Maps
We also have an extensive collection of Ordnance Survey maps dating from the first Government-commissioned survey of the whole of Ireland in the early 19th century to the present day.
The originals are not available to access, however many Ordnance Survey Ireland maps of historical and genealogical interest can be accessed digitally via our eResources, which are freely available to registered readers in all reading rooms. To visit the reading rooms and access these eResources you must have a reader’s ticket.
Other printed maps
The NLI holds a collection of general maps of Ireland, from the late 16th century onwards, many of them in printed atlases.
There are also many maps illustrating printed books and these are searchable on our online catalogue under books/subject maps. They include such diverse items as Taylor and Skinner's maps of the roads of Ireland from 1777; Lough Neagh navigation plans by Robert Whitworth; John O'Donovan’s map of the Circuit of Muircheartach MacNeill; geological maps; and maps which were drawn for inclusion in tourist handbooks such as The Pictorial Handbook to Carlingford Bay and Watering Places in its Vicinity published in 1846. The catalogue record for each item will indicate in which reading room the item may be consulted. You must have a reader’s ticket to access our reading rooms. You may apply for a ticket here.