Accessing Manuscripts and Rare Books

The Reading Room of the Department of Manuscripts is situated on the second floor of 2-3 Kildare Street (see Opening Hours).

Advanced ordering is in place for the Manuscripts Reading Room and material must be ordered at least 24 hours in advance. Using the Online Order Form you can order Manuscripts (including GO and Gaelic Manuscripts) and Rare Books (LO / Joly / Dix / Thom / OKE / MU / Lough Fea / Swift / Thorpe) and choose the Collection Time that suits you. It is possible to order up to 3 items  per Collection Time.  

The Collection Times are:

Mon-Wed: 9.30am/10.30am/11.30am/12.30pm/2pm/3pm/4pm/5pm/6pm/7pm (up to 30 items per day)

Thurs-Fri: 9.30am/10.30am/11.30am/12.30pm/2pm/3pm/4pm (up to 21 items per day)

Sat: 9.30am/10.30am/11.30am (up to 9 items per day)

Orders for Collection Times up to 12.30pm must be placed before 2pm on the preceding day. This material will be available from 9.30am the next day.

Orders for Monday morning must be placed by 11.30am on Saturday. Orders placed after this time will be available on Monday from 2pm.

Orders for 2pm or later Collection Times must be placed before 5pm on the preceding day. This material will be available from 2pm the next day.

If you experience any difficulty with placing your order please contact the Archivist on Duty at or at (01) 6030386.

About Call Numbers and Extent

Examples of NLI Manuscript call numbers include: "MS 33,911"; "MS L 131"; "G 20" "21 F 115"; "D 15,409";  "GO 223".

Manuscript call numbers may refer to a single volume, a collection of folders or a large number of boxes. While you may place a request for up to 3 items for each Collection Time, staff may find it necessary to limit the amount of material retrieved per order. This will be determined by the extent of material ordered, the number of items already retrieved on your behalf and the overall number of orders received by Reading Room staff. To ensure that you receive the appropriate material for your research we are happy to assist you with placing your order.

Digitised Manuscripts and Surrogates

If an item has been digitised for access via the Library's online catalogue, the original is not issued to researchers.  Digitised material  is easily identified as the catalogue allows you to search for digitised material using the SHOW DIGITISED ITEMS ONLY  filter. Each digitised item appears as a thumbnail image on the relevant catalogue entry. 

Some manuscripts in our collection have been digitised as part of projects such as Irish Script on Screen. In these instances you will be referred to the digital copy. If an edition of a work in our Rare Books  collections is available via certain online resources available in our Reading  Rooms or if there is a link on our catalogue to a digital edition (for example via Hathi Trust or Google Preview) you will be directed to the digital copy or to the microfilm/ microfiche surrogate where they exist..

 Material withdrawn for Conservation

In some instances original material will not be issued if it is particularly fragile or vulnerable to damage.

Genealogical Office (GO) Manuscripts

Information on access to GO Manuscripts is available here.