Northern Ireland Political Collection

Repository: Linen Hall Library

Identity Statement

TitleNorthern Ireland Political Collection
Archive ReferenceIE LHL NIPC
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates1968-
Extent Medium350,000 items


Creator(s): Linen Hall Library

  • Administrative History ↴

    Since 1969, the Linen Hall Library has sought to collect all printed material relating to the 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland. In the intervening decades, the library has amassed over a quarter of a million items. The Northern Ireland Political Collection presents a unique and balanced record of political events in Northern Ireland since 1966, covering the full spectrum of publishing output during this period. No other institution in any other conflict worldwide has collected the views of all sides of the conflict. The collection is recognised internationally as a unique and important resource comprising a wide range of published and unpublished materials relating to the conflict in Northern Ireland. As such the collection is an unrivalled resource for the political history and development of Northern Ireland and for conflict studies more generally.
  • Archival History ↴

    Since 1969, the Linen Hall Library has sought to collect all printed material relating to the 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland. In the intervening decades, the library has amassed over a quarter of a million items.
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴


Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Linen Hall Library ↴

    The collection documents the activities and views of all parties to the conflict, from paramilitaries to government. It covers publications by organisations on the margins of the direct political process, as well as by those chiefly concerned with social issues. The heart of the Northern Ireland Political Collection is over 14,000 books, pamphlets and reports, all catalogued by author, title, publishing organisation and subject. Manifestos are held from all elections since the mid-1960s. Whilst many of the books may be held by other libraries, the majority of the pamphlets and material from the political parties is held uniquely by the Collection.

    There are runs of over 2,000 titles of periodicals, from Loyalist News to An Phoblacht, including the periodicals of the different political parties, the security forces, pressure groups as well as socialist, fascist and anarchist organisations.

    Sexual politics is well represented, with material from both gay and lesbian organisations, as is material from minority, ethnic and community groups.

    The ephemera section comprises over 75,000 items, including leaflets, handbills and press releases. All the political parties are well represented here, as are issues such as parading, human rights, civil liberties, international solidarity campaigns, economic issues and civil liberties.

    Currently there are over 60 archival boxes of material devoted to material on the peace process.

    A political fiction section holds over 500 items that deal with the ‘Troubles’, including novels, poetry and drama.

    The Collection is the repository for several important archives, including that of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association and the Northern Ireland Women’s Rights Association. In 1993, the Northern Ireland Office at Stormont donated their press cuttings service to the Collection. The 1,685 bound volumes cover the years 1969-1989.

    In 1998, Victor Patterson, founder of Pacemaker Press, donated the early Pacemaker Press archive to the Northern Ireland Political Collection. In 1999, the PSNI donated their video archive to the Collection. The archive consists of 2,000 documentaries and news bulletins dating from the early 1980s to 1997.

    The impressive assemblage of graphic material housed in the Northern Ireland Political Collection – posters, postcards, badges and artifacts – has been digitised under the Troubled Images Project.

    Audio-visual resources held in the collection include videos, records, cassettes and CD-Roms.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Accruals ↴

    Further accruals expected, donations of material are always welcome.
  • Arrangement ↴

    Contact Linen Hall Library Archives Service for information

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions The Northern Ireland Political Collection is available for reference and/or research purposes only. All users are welcome. A letter of reference is required to browse the shelves or to view archival material.
Conditions Governing ReproductionCopyright restrictions apply. Contact Linen Hall Library for further information.
Creation Dates1968-
Extent Medium350,000 items
Material Language ScriptEnglish; Irish; Italian; Russian; Spanish; Swedish; Ulster Scots; Basque; French
Finding Aids Online catalogue available for books and pamphlets in the collection. For much of the ephemeral material, the direct assistance of staff should be sought. Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

Related MaterialOver 3,000 of images contained in the Pacemaker Press section are available to view online at

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteLinen Hall Library
Rules/ConventionsISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description, 2nd ed., Ottowa, International Council on Archives, 2000.