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Archives Service

About the catalogue


The James Hardiman Library in NUI Galway is home to over 350 archival collections, ranging in size from one postcard to 300 boxes of material, and dating from 1485 to the present. The University is particularly focused on acquiring collections relating to the West of Ireland. Notable strengths of the archive are in the subject areas of:




Irish Language


Local Authority

Landed Estates




This catalogue contains both collection/fonds level descriptions for the majority of our archives collections, and their accompanying detailed catalogues. Each collection/fonds level description gives a summary of content, as well as information about the historical context and background of the collection.

New collections are added to this archive catalogue on a regular basis, however information about some of our collections is not yet available online. If you wish to enquire about the archives of the University, or about the Abbey Theatre Digital Archive, please get in touch using the information on the ‘Contact us’ tab. If you would like more information on any of our archives, please contact us in this way.

If you would like to search for books, including rare books held by the James Hardiman Library as part of our Special Collections, please consult NUI Galway’s Library Catalogue.

Find Archival Collections

Our Archives Catalogue is now fully searchable online using CalmView software.

This new development means that you can carry out searches across our entire database of catalogued archives, encompassing approximately 350 collections, and more than 26,000 records. In addition, the catalogue will be updated with new records several times a year.

Instructions on how to get the most out of your search are available on the site itself.

Hard copies of our descriptive lists are also available for consultation in the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room. For larger collections these descriptive lists contain identity statements, content and structure, context (a biography of a person, an administrative history of an institution or organisation), conditions of access and related material. There will then be a detailed list of what is in the collection to the appropriate level of description. Small Collections will have a collection level description.

If you have any questions about our archives, please get in contact with the Archivists. 

Digital Collections

The James Hardiman Library is committed to making material from its archival and printed collections available online.  Digitisation opens up access to these valuable resources and allows them to be used and enjoyed by all.

A number of our archival collections have been digitised and are available online.  Collections Include

Ritchie-Pickow Collection

In 1996 the Ritchie Pickow Phototgraphic Archive was acquired by the James Hardiman Library, National University of Ireland, Galway, along with tapes of sound recordings. The photographs were taken and the recordings made by the husband and wife team George Pickow and Jean Ritchie on visits to Ireland in 1952 and 1953. Two exhibitions of the Ritchie Pickow Photographic Archive have been held at NUIG in 1992 and 1996. It was under the auspices of Dáibhín Ó Cróinín, lecturer in the History Department of the university and a grandson of one of the vocalists recorded by Jean Ritchie, that the collection was acquired for the Library Archives.

Abbey Theatre Minute Books Jan 1904 - May 1939

A collection of Abbey Theatre minute books from January 1904 to May 1939. These minute books contain hand-written minutes from Abbey Theatre meetings. Each minute book has been transcribed and this collection provides access to both the transcribed text and the original text displayed in a side-by-side searchable manner.

Brendan Duddy Collection

The core of the collection covers a period of twenty years (1972-1993) and relates to Brendan Duddy's agency in the peace process. The collection as a whole covers over thirty years (1968-2007) and includes his wider observations of the process. The papers consist of memoranda (including two diaries of 1975 and 1976), of correspondence, and of published items (press cuttings, pamphlets, reports, brochures). As regards his personal involvement, the archives reflect particularly the period of 1974-1976, the period of the hungerstrikes of 1981 and 1981, and then the intense activity of 1993. After 1993, he served on the Northern Ireland Policing Board in 2006-2007.

Michael Cusack Collection

The Michael Cusack collection is the unique personal collection of the founder of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), generally acknowledged to be the greatest amateur sporting organisation in the world. The GAA, which remains a dominant force in Ireland's cultural and sporting life, was founded in 1884 as a highly influential element of the Irish cultural renaissance of the late nineteenth century and of Ireland's struggle to re-establish its own political, linguistic and cultural identity.

Tim Robinson Townland Index

An extensive card catalogue compiled by Tim Robinson throughout the 1980s and 1990s, drawn from his field notes. The series has been arranged by Robinson into civil parishes, and further divided into townlands. For most of the townlands, there are several record cards that give a detailed description of the local landscape.

How do I search?

Quick Search

You can perform a Quick Search by using the box at the top right hand side of the page. This option searches across the title and description fields in the catalogue database. Advanced Search allows you to search across the entire database.

Advanced Search

Any text

Use this field to search across all the text fields in the catalogue database. Type the word(s) you wish to search into the 'Any text' search box, and click on the 'Search' button at the bottom of the screen.

Where more than one term is entered, the search will automatically retrieve records that contain both terms. These terms may not always appear next to each other in the text.

If you want to search for an exact phrase so the words appear next to each other in the text, for example John McGahern, enter the text with double quotation marks, "John McGahern".

Note that this type of search will bring up entries for records from all of the NUI Galway archival collections that are catalogued and available online. To find out which collection an entry relates to, click on the Ref No, and look at the top line of text on the page. We recommend that you have a look at the Collection/Fonds level description for any records you are interested in as this will help you to place the record in context.

Refine advanced search criteria

If you have entered more than one word in your search, clicking ‘Refine Search Criteria’ gives you three ways of refining the results.

‘With all the words’ to search only for records that contain all your search terms

‘With at least one of the words’ to search for records that contain at least one of your search terms

‘Without the words’ to exclude certain words or phrases that might be called up by the search criteria you have chosen.

How can I find out more information about an entry displayed in the ‘search results’ hitlist?

By clicking on the ‘Ref No’ of a particular entry, the full description will be displayed. Click on the ‘Ref No’ again to see the record in its hierarchical context, and to see other records that are in the same collection.