The James Hardiman Library in NUI Galway is home to over 350 archival collections, ranging in size from one postcard to 300 boxes of material, and dating from 1485 to the present. The University is particularly focused on acquiring collections relating to the West of Ireland. Notable strengths of the archive are in the subject areas of:

  • Theatre and Literature
  • The archives of the local Druid Theatre, Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe, and the Lyric Theatre in Belfast are among our collections, along with the personal papers of Thomas Kilroy, Siobhán McKenna, John McGahern, and the Shields family. In our reading room, you can also consult the Abbey Theatre's archive in digital format, the result of a collorative project between the James Hardiman Library and the Abbey Theatre.


  • Irish Language, Literature, and Tradition
  • The archives of Prionsias Mac an Bheatha, Eoghan Ó’Tuairisc, and the Irish language Manuscripts of Douglas Hyde, deposited at the Library as a bequest from Dr. Hyde on his death in 1949, are just some of our Irish language collections.


  • Political Collections
  • Our political collections include the papers of the intermediary Brendan Duddy, and the Republican Ruairí Ó’Brádaigh.


  • Academics from University College Galway
  • We hold the archives of several eminent academics from University College Galway. Some notable examples are Professor Kevin Boyle and Professor Gerard-Anthony Hayes-McCoy. Professor Boyle was Chair of Law in UCG from 1978 to 1986, and was one of the pioneering legal minds in Ireland and the U.K. at the time. He was instrumental in setting up the first Centre for Human Rights in Ireland. Professor Hayes-McCoy was Professor of History at UCG from 1958 until 1975. He co-founded the Military History Society of Ireland in 1949, was involved in the Tóstál events of the 1950s.


  • Landed Estate Collections
  • The archives of local land-holding families such as the O’Connor-Donnelans of Tuam, and the Kirwan family of Castlehackett are among our collections. The legal dealings of the families, and their management of various lands are among the types of records to be found within these archives.


  • Galway Corporation Records
  • The records of the Galway Corporation, including statute and minute books from its foundation in 1485 until 1818, are held in the James Hardiman Library Archives.

This catalogue contains both collection/fonds level descriptions for the majority of our archives collections, and their accompanying detailed catalogues. Each collection/fonds level description gives a summary of content, as well as information about the historical context and background of the collection.


New collections are added to this archive catalogue on a regular basis, however information about some of our collections is not yet available online. If you wish to enquire about the archives of the University, or about the Abbey Theatre Digital Archive, please get in touch using the information on the ‘Contact us’ tab. If you would like more information on any of our archives, please contact us in this way.


If you would like to search for books, including rare books held by the James Hardiman Library as part of our Special Collections, please consult NUI Galway’s Library Catalogue.

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