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UCC Library now Re-opened.

Both Boole and Brookfield BHSL Libraries have re-opened with the safety of Library users and staff as our chief guiding principle.

Please see our policies and important changes regarding re-opening here

Update from our Director of Library Services, Colette McKenna regarding Library Services During COVID Level 5 - Here

Noel O'Connell & Irish Literary Society: Displaying Collections: Home

5 different areas in a collection.

12 Months in a Collection

Over 2019 there will be a display in the Rare Books Reading Room in Special Collections which will change on a regular basis. This online guide will complement the physical display and will be updated as the display changes.

The purpose of the display is to showcase the range that may be in any one collection as well as to demonstrate how collections in UCC Library's Special Collections interconnect.

For 2019 the display will focus on the Noel O'Connell and Irish Literary Society Collections.  Both collections are particularly strong on Irish Studies. 

  • January - February: Music
  • March - April: Literature
  • May - October: Language: History (guest curated by Natasha Dukelow)
  • November - December: Printing in the Irish Language

Special Collections

Special Collections is home to UCC's unique collections of literary manuscripts, early printed books pre-1850, books from printing presses, collections donated from individuals, 18th - 20th century newspapers, theses, maps, pamphlets and microfilm.

Special Collections are “elements of distinction that serve to differentiate an academic or research library from its peers” (Dooley & Luce).

We, in Special Collections, have a dual role, not only to facilitate current research but also to care and conserve these unique and distinctive materials for future users. 

About the Collections

Noel O'Connell (1929-1991) attended UCC graduating with an engineering degree in 1949. He lectured for a year and then moved to London where he established a successful consultancy. Later he would assist in developing a course in Irish Studies at Kilburn Polytechnic. In his spare time he was involved in and contributed hugely to several London-based Irish societies, including the Irish Texts Society, of which he was Honorary Secretary at the time of his premature death, and the Irish Literary Society, of which he was President for many years. This is reflected in his collection of books, which is particularly representative of the Irish and Anglo-Irish literary revivals.Noel O'Connell was Honorary Treasurer/Cisteoir Oinigh of the Irish Text Society 1962- 67 and its Honorary Secretary/Runai Oinigh 1967-91. 

The Irish Literary Society was established in London in 1892. Among its founders were WB Yeats, Douglas Hyde. TW Rolleston, Francis Fahy and other leaders of the Irish Literary Revival. The object of the Society was to promote the appreciation of Irish literature and culture and to provide a forum for intellectual and social activities in connection with these interest.  The Irish Literary Society Library was built from the end of the 19th century and through the beginning of the 20th century.

At the same time Noel O'Connell's family donated his library to UCC Library, the Executive Committee of the Irish Literary Society of which Noel was President, also decided to donate its library to the University.

Provenance Images

Irish Literary Society Library Rules Plate

Signature of Noel O'Connell

Noel O'Connell's signature is located on the endleaves of A Celtic Miscellany.

Jackson, Kenneth Jackson. A Celtic Miscellany: Translations from the Celtic Literatures. London: Routledge & Paul, 1951. [Noel O'Connell Collection]

Opening Hours

As per Irish Government direction from midnight 21 October 2020 for 6 weeks all counties are placed on Level 5 under the Plan for Living with COVID-19. The advice is: Stay at home with certain exceptions. Please note this time frame may be extended. 

Previous appointment services in Special Collections and Archives are suspended during Level 5.

We are offering the following as alternate means of access to Special Collections & Archives:

  • Scan & Deliver for Special Collections' material including items in the Reference Reading Room, Microform and items that show Special Collections by Request / Special Collections by Appointment on the library catalogue.
  • Reprographic requests for manuscripts & archival material via

Every effort will be made to fulfil scan & deliver / reprographic types of requests, but this may not always be possible due to availability, copyright restrictions, size and condition of materials.

If you have any collection queries or other queries please email:

In order to facilitate research queries, a virtual appointment service for Special Collections and Archives will shortly be established and details will be forthcoming.