Guides to Primary Works

There is no adequate bibliography of Irish literature. Vol. 4 of The Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (M2467) and New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (N2965) list primary works by some writers, as does Frank L. Kersnowski, C. W. Spinks, and Laird Loomis, A Bibliography of Modern Irish and Anglo-Irish Literature (San Antonio: Trinity UP, 1976; 157 pp.; Checklists in the Humanities and Educ.: A Ser.). Although the latter cites bibliographies of primary and secondary works, its lists of books by 61 writers are highly selective and plagued by numerous errors.

Guides to Collections


Lester, DeeGee, comp. Irish Research: A Guide to Collections in North America, Ireland, and Great Britain. New York: Greenwood, 1987. 348 pp. Bibliogs. and Indexes in World Hist. 9. Z2031.L47 [DA906] 016.9415′0025.

A guide to collections for the study of Irish culture and civilization, including biography, film, folklore, literature, and theater. Although the bulk of the entries are for libraries and museums, Lester also lists organizations and periodicals. Entries are grouped by country; then alphabetically by state, province, or county; then city; and then repository or organization. A typical entry consists of address, a brief description of the repository or organization, a note on general collections of Irish materials, a description of special collections, a list of finding aids, notes on access or restrictions, and tips for researchers. Since information is taken from questionnaires or published descriptions, the entries vary in accuracy and fullness of detail. Two appendixes: dealers specializing in Irish books; Irish local newspapers. Indexed by persons, subjects, and titles. Despite the omission of several important collections, the inclusion of many libraries that “may have” Irish material or whose holdings are essentially general, and insufficient detail of many descriptions, Irish Research can be a useful source for identifying collections of Irish literature and related works.

The standard guide to archives in Ireland is Directory of Irish Archives, ed. Seamus Helferty and Raymond Refaussé, 5th ed. (Dublin: Four Courts, 2011; 240 pp.); however, it describes little of literary interest (see “literary papers” in the index). Consequently, researchers must also consult the guides in sections E: Libraries and Library Catalogs/Research Libraries/Guides to Collections and F: Guides to Manuscripts and Archives/Guides to Repositories and Archives.



Hayes, Richard J., ed. Manuscript Sources for the History of Irish Civilisation. 11 vols. Boston: Hall, 1965. First Supplement, 1965–1975. 3 vols. 1979. Z2041.D85 016.9415.

An index to manuscripts relating to Ireland held in about 678 libraries and more than 600 private collections in 30 countries. Entries are organized in four sequences: persons and institutions (vols. 1–4), subjects (5–6), places in Ireland (7–8), and dates (9–10). An entry typically provides a brief description of a manuscript, location, and (usually) shelf number or citation to printed calendar or catalog. Vol. 11 consists of lists of manuscript catalogs, private collections, libraries, and various lists of Gaelic manuscripts. The supplement records newly acquired manuscripts. Although many entries are taken from other catalogs or sources and some private collections have been dispersed, Hayes is a valuable, time-saving compilation that includes numerous literary manuscripts.

See also

Sec. F: Guides to Manuscripts and Archives.

Index of English Literary Manuscripts (M1365).

Printed Works


Irish Publishing Record, [1967–94]. Dublin: Natl. Lib. of Ireland, 1967–[1995?]. Annual. Z2034.I87 015′.415.

A national bibliography that records books, pamphlets, new periodicals, yearbooks, musical scores, and selected government publications published in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Entries, which provide basic card catalog information, are organized by Dewey Decimal Classification. Two indexes: authors; titles. Since information is compiled from a variety of sources, details are not always accurate, but the work does offer the most thorough record of books published in the island from 1967 to 1994.

In January 2005, the National Library of Ireland began compiling Record of Irish Publishing, a list of new books and periodicals published in the Republic of Ireland (