The Hardiman atlas

Repository: Trinity College Dublin

Identity Statement

TitleThe Hardiman atlas
Archive ReferenceIE TCD MS/1209
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates[c1560-1620]
Extent Medium6 portfolios of maps


Creator(s): Hardiman, James, 1782-1855, Irish historian Carew, George, 1555-1629, Earl of Totnes, statesman

  • Administrative History ↴

    James Hardiman (1782-1855) was born in Co. Mayo and trained as a lawyer. He was librarian in Queen's College Galway. George Carew (1555-1629) 1st Earl of Totnes and President of Munster.
  • Archival History ↴

    This collection has been in the possession of the Trinity College Dublin library since the late eighteenth century. Quoting from J.H. Andrews (below): 'Carew is said to have wanted all his Irish papers to be deposited at Trinity ... though as it turned out most of them finally came to rest at Lambeth Palace in London. Nobody knows when, how or why the maps became detached from the collection and found their way to Dublin. They simply turn up in the College records of the late eighteenth century .... It was a non-Trinity historian, James Hardiman of Galway, who first catalogued them in 1821, apparently on his own initiative, and after being bound into a single, large volume they became generally known as the Hardiman atlas ...The credit for [the rediscovery of their true origin] belongs to a recent Keeper of Manuscripts William O'Sullivan, who put the issue beyond any doubt by identifying Carew's hand on many of the Hardiman maps and by collating all their titles and subjects with the original early-seventeenth-century catalogue still at Lambeth'.
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴


Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Hardiman, James, 1782-1855, Irish historian Carew, George, 1555-1629, Earl of Totnes, statesman ↴

    The collection of maps made by George Carew, Lord President of Munster at the beginning of the 17th century, contains nearly 90 maps and is one of the largest sets of original Tudor and early Stuart maps of Ireland surviving anywhere. They are known collectively as the ‘Hardiman Atlas’ after their first cataloguer, James Hardiman.
    Quoting from J.H. Andrews (below): These maps, which are ‘for the most part competently drawn and attractively coloured’ and which ‘display not one scale of latitude or longitude in the entire collection … are essentially the by-product of a military and political conquest. However, as well as forts, defended towns and troop movements, they are rich in placenames, territorial boundaries and a good deal of ordinary landscape detail.’

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴

    The 90 maps are bound in 6 portfolios

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions Consultation of digital surrogates only.
Conditions Governing ReproductionPlease contact for guidance.
Creation Dates[c1560-1620]
Extent Medium6 portfolios of maps
Material Language ScriptEnglish and Latin
Finding Aids An item level catalogue complete with images is available to view via the online catalogue Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

Publication NoteW. 'Sullivan, 'George Carew's Irish Maps', Long Room 26-27 (1985), pp. 15-25 J.H. Andrews, 'Maps and Atlases', Treasures of the Library Trinity College Dublin ed., Peter Fox (RIA: Dublin, 1986) Annaleigh Margey, Mapping Ireland, c.1550 – 1640: a catalogue of the early modern maps of Ireland including maps relating to plantation, (Irish Manuscripts Commission: Dublin)


NoteRebound in 6 portfolios in 1982.

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteAdapted by Natalie Milne, February 2014.
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottowa: International Council on Archives, 2000. National Council on Archives: Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names. Chippenham: National Council on Archives, 1997.
Date of Descriptions41671