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Irish Studies: Home

A guide to MUN Libraries' nationally-recognized Irish Studies collection. For more information, see

MUN Libraries Irish Studies Collection

 Newfoundland and Ireland

Newfoundland, or to use its time-honoured Irish name, Talamh an Eisc (The Land of the Fish), has an ancient and enduring relationship with Ireland. Originating in the late seventeenth century with Irish participation in the seasonal fishery, Irish interest in Newfoundland led to substantial emigration from Waterford and its adjacent counties in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. So strong was the Irish presence that in 1784 a Roman Catholic mission, the first such in British North America, was appointed for Newfoundland. An essential qualification for the head of the mission was fluency in Gaelic. By 1836, when the first detailed census was taken, fully half of Newfoundland's population was of Irish birth or descent. Irish cultural patterns and traditions remain strong on Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula.

The library's collection reflects the richness of Newfoundland's Irish heritage. It includes over 15,000 books and more than 60 subscriptions to magazines and scholarly journals. The material covers a complete range of topics on Irish life, past and present. It contains items on Irish economic and cultural geography, as well as studies on Irish emigration, settlement patterns and Irish family history. There are also important concentrations of Anglo-Irish and Gaelic literature, material on Irish foklore and folk music, resources for studying the linguistics of Gaelic and Hiberno-English (the dialect of English spoken in Ireland), and books and tapes for learning the Irish language.

Professors and students from a wide variety of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences use the Irish collection. The Social Sciences and Humanities and Research Council of Canada has recognized this library's importance as a site for Irish Studies, and has generously supported the development of its research resources with more than $200,000 in grants.


Unique Irish Collections

  • QE II Library Map Room Collections: The largest collection of cartographic materials in NL.
    •  Irish Historic Towns Series
    • Ordnance Survey Memoirs
    • Maps from 19th Century Ordnance Survey
    • Specialized Gazetteers
  • The Catherine Graham Collection
    • 189 printed works by Irish writers and works about Irish writing
  • General Rare Books Collection
    • Features limited edition autographed works by such writers as Austin Clarke, Thomas Kinsella, Ciaran Carson, Seamus Heaney, and John F. Deane
    • Signed early editions by Yeats, Lady Gregory, and a large number of first editions from the Cuala Press
  • Historical Collection (Rare Books Collection)
  • Demography and Family History
    • Tithe Applotment Books (early 19th Century)
    • Survey of Irish households for tax purposes
    • Griffith’s Valuation (its Successor)
    • Devon Commission Reports and Evidence
    • Census of Ireland (1813-1911)
    • Parish registers of the Southeast (from 1730) 


Further information: Map Room Collections and/ or General Rare Books Collections