Royal College of Science for Ireland Collection

UCD Special Collections holds the library of the Royal College of Science for Ireland Library, which includes the library of the Museum of Irish Industry.

The Collection

  • The library of the Royal College of Science for Ireland (RCScI)  is one of the most comprehensive Victorian science libraries in the UK and Ireland.
  • It contains rare scientific monographs from the 17th to the 19th centuries and earlier, and complete runs of periodicals which are not to be found in any other Irish library.
  • UCD can trace many of its chairs in the sciences back to this institution, which had an enormous impact on the democratisation of science education in Ireland.
  • The library of the RCScI forms part UCD’s documentary heritage.
  • Examination of the RCScI material demonstrates the breath of subjects taught in that institution.
  • Many items within the collection contain very beautiful plates of illustrations.

Collection Highlights

  • The Anatomy of Plants by Nehemiah Grew, published in 1682.  
  • Zoologia medicinalis Hibernica by John K’Eogh printed in Dublin in 1739.
  • Essays towards a natural History of the County of Dublin by John Rutty printed in Dublin in 1772.  
  • Journals of the Royal Botanical Gardens of Calcutta.
  • Full set of the Reports of the Department of Science and Art.
  • 1860 edition of Darwin’s On the origin of Species.
  • 47 volumes of the Report of the Scientific Results of the Exploring Voyage of H.M.S. Challenger 1873-16, most of which are related to zoology, but botany; physics and chemistry are also covered.
  • Les Arts au Moyen Age by Alexander Du Sommerard, which cost £57 in 1854, includes an atlas of 107 plates and an album with 402 plates.  
  • Catalogues of the various industrial exhibitions
  • Important scientific journals from the Victorian era and beyond, which are not available elsewhere in Ireland or online:
    • Magazine of Natural History 1855-1906
    • British Association Report, 1850-1922
    • Journal of the Geological Society of London, 1845-1914
    • Journal of the Linnean Society, 1857-1907
    • Annuaire de l’economie politique, 1844-1899
  • Other RCScI periodicals which are available elsewhere but are nonetheless an important asset to UCD:
    • Proceedings of the Royal Dublin Society, 1851-1913
    • American Journal of Science and Art, 1853-1920

Access and Use

The collections can be consulted by the students and staff of UCD, and by external users, in the Special Collections Reading Room.

More Information

Find material in the collection:

  • Use The Library Catalogue  to key in Royal College of Science
  • When you get a results screen select Special Collections from Location option in the left panel