National Folklore Collection Library

The specialist library of the National Folklore Collection contains over 50,000 printed items, including books, periodicals and off-prints dealing with Irish and comparative folklore, history, topography, literature, ethnology and related fields.

The library has a particularly strong international dimension, embracing folklore material published in a variety of European languages, as well as significant publications from Asia, Africa and the Americas.

The broad range of subject matter in the library reflects the holistic approach to documenting cultural history adopted by the Irish Folklore Commission and its successors. The subject areas include:

  • Studies of Irish and European oral narrative
  • Irish, European, Oriental and other collections of oral narrative texts
  • Irish and European folklife, economic and social tradition
  • Irish and European folk custom and belief
  • Irish and European folk music, song and dance
  • Anthropology
  • Natural history
  • Medieval and early Irish and European literature, including an important collection of Icelandic / Faroese / Lappish and Fenno-Ugric works
  • Regional Irish-language literature
  • Linguistic and dialect studies
  • Irish history and topography
  • Anglo-Irish literature
  • A variety of reference books, dictionaries, maps, catalogues etc.


The library journal holdings run to over 2,000 titles. These range from early editions of Irish-language journals such as An Claidheamh Soluis and An Gaodhal to current subscriptions to national and international titles of folklore and ethnology interest. The library also operates a journal exchange agreement with more than 50 cultural and academic institutions in Ireland and overseas.

Special Collections

The library holds a number of early printed works and maps, including a large collection of Irish travel writing from the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as a significant collection of Anglo-Irish literature and early chapbooks.

We ask that visitors contact us to make an appointment to view our collections.