The Linen Hall Library is a truly unique institution. Founded in 1788, it is the oldest library in Belfast and the only remaining library in Ireland that still generates a proportion of its income from membership. The Library is free to enter and enjoy, and is housed in a stunning Victorian former linen warehouse in the picturesque Donegall Square, across from Belfast City Hall.
It has a radical and ‘enlightenment’ foundation, and has prized its independence and maintained the principle that its resources are owned by the community for the community.
It is renowned for its unparalleled Irish and Local Studies Collection, ranging from comprehensive holdings of Early Belfast and Ulster printed books to the 350,000 items in the Northern Ireland Political Collection, the definitive archive of the recent ‘Troubles’.