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Old & Rare Books

Older and rare books constitute a substantial part of our Special Collections.


  • 19th century illustrated anatomical, botanical and zoological collections
  • 19th century engineering and construction
  • History of Ireland with particular reference to local history
  • Irish language including biography, fiction, poetry and translation
  • Irish folklore
  • Religion, devotional literature and bibles
  • Travel literature relating to Ireland in the 18th and 19th centuries, especially pertaining to the Western seaboard


We also have significant 19th century academic collections which were purchased when the College was opened in 1849.

There are also many Named Book Collections which have been donated or purchased.

To discover rare and antiquarian material on your topic, search by subject on the Library Catalogue. You will notice options to filter your results. Choose Special Collections under the collections heading to see details of materials on your topic that are housed in Special Collections.

All Special Collections material must be used within the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room and may not be loaned.

When the library catalogue entry says 'Available at Special Collections Reading Room' the book is available for consultation on the Reading Room shelves. If the entry doesn't specifically mention the Reading Room, it is an item that must be requested, using the library catalogue (for University of Galway readers) or by email to

Any Questions

Special Collections

Special Collections

Special Collections
091 49 3399