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Named Book Collections

The Named Collections represent distinct book collections held within Special Collections. Many are named for the donors.

Unless otherwise indicated, books from these collections cannot be borrowed. Titles marked * have associated archival collections

Anon *

The so-called Anonymous Collection was donated to the library in 1997. It originated in Galway City and contains much of Irish literary and historical interest, especially copies of the writings of Francis MacManus, John D. Sheridan and Maurice Walsh.

Bairead *

This collection is named for the donor and creators of the collection, Síghle (1903-1985) and Stiophán (1867-1921) Bairéad. Síghle donated this material to the Library in 1976 in memory of her father Stiophán, first Treasurer of the Gaelic League, and of her brother Ciarán (1905-1976), a collector with the Irish Folklore Commission. The book collection is principally Irish language material and in particular ephemeral material from the early days of the Gaelic revival movements.

Cairnes *

The titles in the Cairnes collection formed part of the library of John Elliott Cairnes (1823-1875), political economist, who was Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Economy at Queen's College, Galway (1859-1870). The collection contains works on 19th century economy and society.


The Coen collection was presented to the library by the late Fr. Martin Coen (1933-1997), historian and graduate of the University. It contains a significant amount of local and Irish history material as well as some religious and devotional material.


This very large collection originally constituted part of the library of Séamus Ó Duilearga (1899-1980), former Professor of Irish Folklore at University College Dublin. It was acquired by the Library in 1981 and contains a fine representation of writings on all aspects of both Irish and European folklore for much of the 20th century. In addition to the book material, there is a significant collection of offprints received by Professor Ó Duilearga from academic colleagues throughout the world.


The items in the Déon collection have been donated over the past number of years by the French author, Michel Déon (1919-), who has resided in County Galway for many years, and has established links with the University during that time. The collection contains modern French writing, including Monsieur Déon's own publications. A significant proportion of this collection may be borrowed.


These titles came from the library of the late Professor Thomas Fanning, of the School of Archaeology, NUI Galway. The material includes Irish archaeology and historical material.

Feminist Publishing Collection

Collected mainly in the last 15 years, this material represents the work of all feminist publishers in Ireland in the last 20 years of the 20th century. It was donated to the Library by Alan Hayes, publisher with Arlen House, and is a significant collection for the study of feminist literature and history in Ireland. Details of titles are available by typing "Feminist Publishing Collection" into the Library catalogue.


This book collection is named for the donor, Irish author Grattan Freyer. It contains works by and about the author Liam O'Flaherty.


This substantial collection was purchased by the Library in 1976. It contains all material published by and about Isabella Augusta, Lady Gregory (1852-1932). A native of County Galway, she was a major figure in the Irish Literary Revival and the founding of the Abbey Theatre. Many of the works are available in the different editions in which they have appeared. There are also associated works and biographies.


The Henry Library is held on deposit from the Church of Ireland diocese of Tuam, Killala and Achonry. The bulk of the collection represents the Library of the Reverend Joseph Henry, D.D (1821-1885). As well as theological and biblical material, it contains 19th century literature and historical publishing as well as an extensive collection of travel writings from the 1850s-1880s. The material in this collection are all included in the Library catalogue, and a printed catalogue is also available in the Special Collections Reading Room, and online: Henry Library Catalogue‌. 


The Hunt Collection was donated by American psychologist Professor Darwin P Hunt and is an extensive collection of books on 20th century psychology and related subjects. It has a principally American bias. Most of this collection can be borrowed.


This collection of about 3500 volumes was given to the Library in 2000 in memory of Michael Morris, 3rd Baron Killanin (1914-1999), well-known writer, film director/producer and sports administrator. His family wished to highlight the close connections of the Morris family with Galway. Among the subjects represented are 20th century Irish Literature, Irish Art and Archaeology as well as world politics and horse racing. The collection is being processed and details of up to 75% are now available on the Library Catalogue.

King’s Inn

The King’s Inn (School of Law, Dublin) collection was purchased for the Library with the aid of An Taisce (The National Trust for Ireland) in the early 1970s. It includes volumes on historical, classical and natural history, the highlight of the collection being a very early version of the Confessions of St. Augustine.

McGahern Collection

The Library is endeavouring to collect the published works of John McGahern, both in English and where they have been translated into other languages. These volumes have been assembled as the McGahern Collection.


The Murray collection was kindly donated by an alumnus of the University, Professor Ciarán Murray, now professor of English at Chuo University, Japan. It includes rare early 19th century editions of the work of Sydney Owenson (Lady Morgan).

Ó Dubháin

Donated by the family of the late Máirtín Ó Dubháin, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, this collection consists of material relating to military and political nationalism in Ireland in the 20th century.

Ó hÉineachain and O’Shaughnessy

This is made up of small collections of poetry, fiction and non-fiction in the Irish language from the early part of the 20th century. The donors were associated with Galway and the University.

Ringling North Collection

There is an emphasis on modern fine bindings in this collection which represents some of the personal library of Henry Ringling North, (1909-1993), Vice-President of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. In addition the collection includes some rare editions of Irish 18th and 19th century publishing. This collection is currently being catalogued.  Type “Ringling North Collection” into the Search the Library’s Collections box on the Library home page. You can use the filters on the left hand side to refine your search results.


This collection, kindly donated by Limerick historian Kieran Sheedy, contains books on the history of the Irish in Australia and material relating to the rebellion of 1798.


This is a substantial collection representing some of the library of acclaimed actor, Arthur Shields, donated by his daughter Christine. Notable contents include rare pictorial and pamphlet material on the 1916-1922 period of Irish history.

St. Anthony's

The St. Anthony's Library Collection was acquired by the Library in 1991 when the University purchased St. Anthony's College in Newcastle, Galway from the Franciscan Order. It contains over 20,000 items. Devotional literature and theology are strongly represented in the collection as are Irish and church history. Some of the post-1900 material from this collection is loanable.

Williams Collection

This collection constitutes the library, assembled over a lifetime of scholarship, of the historian T.D. Williams. The focus of the works is on the history of Britain and Europe in the twentieth century.  To see titles included in the collection type “Williams Collection” into the Search the Library’s Collections box on the Library home page. You can use the filters on the left hand side to refine your search results.

If you have any queries please contact us at


Marie Boran

Boran, Marie

Special Collections Librarian
Tel: +353 91492543

Margo Donohue

Donohue, Margo

Research and Learning / Acquisitions Assistant
Tel: +353 91 493476

Geraldine Curtin

Curtin, Geraldine

Research and Learning Assistant
Tel: +353 91493476