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Irish Studies Collection

Elizabeth Sweeney
Irish Studies Bibliographer

Kathleen Williams
Irish Studies Bibliographer

Collection Overview
The Irish studies collection at the O'Neill Library includes a wide range of materials supporting the Irish Studies Program and the research needs of its faculty. The strongest areas of the Irish studies collection are history, literature, language, and music. The library also has significant holdings in the areas of Irish politics, archaeology, social and economic history, religion, mythology, and genealogy.

In addition to acquiring newly published materials, the Irish Studies bibliographers make retrospective purchases of microfilm sets and other items. Retrospective purchases include Irish literary collections, newspapers, statistical information, government publications, and political or historical materials.

The O'Neill Library provides access to the wealth of Irish studies materials published after 1800. Materials pertaining to Irish art and architecture are available at the Bapst Library. The Burns Library houses the University’s rare and valuable Irish materials, extensive holdings of post-1800 printed materials, and special manuscript collections pertaining to Irish and Irish-Americans. The O'Neill Library works closely with the Burns and Bapst libraries in identifying collection needs, providing research support to faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, alumni, and the greater community.

Within the last few years, the library has expanded its Irish media collection in the O'Neill Library Media Center. Poetry readings, dramatic productions, recorded literary works, language courses, documentaries, myths, folklore, cinema, music, and dance, are collected to enrich and complement classroom instruction. The expanding Irish music offerings at Boston College have led to a comprehensive collecting strategy for newly-released traditional Irish music recordings, complementing the collections in the Irish Music Center in the John J. Burns Library. | View selected resources »


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Interdisciplinary Elements of Subject Area
Irish studies at Boston College is extremely diverse. The collection encompasses history, literature, fine arts, the social sciences, politics, and religion.

Formats and Types of Materials
Formats collected include print, electronic, microform, and audiovisual. Types of materials include monographs, serials, and reference works including major indexes, abstracts, catalogs, bibliographies, yearbooks, dictionaries, encyclopedias, research guides, and directories.

Materials published in Western languages are emphasized, particularly English, Irish, French, and German. Significant texts in Latin are also collected.

Geographic Area Coverage
The major geographic concerns are Ireland, the United Kingdom, and North America, with additional materials from Australia and New Zealand. In light of the Boston College Libraries' resource-sharing agreement with the Linen Hall Library in Belfast, the library plans to expand its holdings relating to the peace process in Northern Ireland. This agreement also allows the Boston College community access to the Linen Hall Library collections, including the world's foremost comprehensive collection relating to the "Troubles" of Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Time Periods
The selection of materials reflects an interest in all historical time periods, from pre-Celtic civilization to the present day.

Dates of Publication
The library aims for completeness in acquiring all newly-published materials in the humanities, fine arts, and social sciences. Retrospective purchases are made annually, toward the goal of comprehensive historical coverage.