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Belfast's oldest library with famous Irish and genealogy collections, housed in a listed Victorian linen building.
Founded in 1788, Linen Hall Library is the oldest library in Belfast and the last subscribing library in Ireland. It is renowned for its unparalleled Irish and Local Studies Collection, ranging from comprehensive holdings of Early Belfast and Ulster printed books to the 250,000 items in the Northern Ireland Political Collection, the definitive archive of the recent 'Troubles'.
The library also boasts the Northern Ireland Theatre and Performing Arts Archive, a unique collection reflecting the rich cultural heritage.
The library's oldest book is De Anima (1490) written by the Eastern physician, Avicenna, about health and well being. It also has a first edition copy of James Joyce's Ulysses in its collection, and the first printing of the American Declaration of Independence outside of America.
The Linen Hall has an illustrious profile as a centre of cultural and creative life and offers a varied programme of events ranging from monthly exhibitions to readings and lectures.
All visitors are welcome to access the collections, and staff are always on hand to help.
Admission to the library is free, but donations from visitors are appreciated to support the library's work.
Full disabled access and facilities are available (via Fountain Street entrance). Guide dogs and hearing dogs are welcome.
- 17 Donegall Square North
- BT1 5GB
Top Reasons To Visit
- Belfast's oldest fully-functioning library, established in 1788
- Housed in stunning Victorian linen warehouse
- Holds the definitive 'Troubles' archive with 350,000 items
- Comprehensive Irish and Belfast collections
- Notable genealogy collection
The licensed Coffee House is open for light refreshments. It offers a range of specialty freshly roasted coffees, high quality sandwiches, soups, stew, salads, paninis, baked potatoes, and a range of puddings and pastries.
The shop at the Linen Hall stocks an impressive range of books, prints and gifts. If you are unable to visit the shop in person, you can order Linen Hall products by telephoning 028 9032 1707.
Eric Woods takes a look at the story of Ulsterman Samuel C Davidson who designed and built the machinery which inspired Sirocco fans.