Museums and attractions

Linen Hall Library

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Contact details


17 Donegall Square North, Belfast, County Antrim,
Mrs Marie Ryan
T: (028) 9032 1707

The Linen Hall Library, set up in 1788, is Belfast's oldest library.

The Linen Hall Library is a truly unique institution. Founded in 1788, it is the oldest library in Belfast and the last subscribing library in Ireland.

It is renowned for its Irish and Local Studies Collections, ranging from Early Belfast and Ulster printed books to the 250,000 items in the Northern Ireland Political Collection, the definitive archive of the recent troubles. The Library also boasts the Northern Ireland Theatre and Performing Arts Archive.

The Linen Hall has an illustrious profile as a centre of cultural and creative life and offers a varied programme of events including exhibitions, readings and lectures. The Linen Hall Library is home to a unique collection of books by and about CS Lewis, donated by the CS Lewis Association of Ireland, and is a first for Northern Ireland.

All visitors are welcome to access our collections. Admission to the Library is free, but donations from visitors are always needed.

The licensed Coffee House is open for light refreshments and offers a range of freshly roasted coffees, quality sandwiches, soups, stew, salads, paninis and desserts.

Our Gift shop stocks an impressive range of books, prints and gifts, and every purchase benefits the Library. If you are unable to visit the shop in person, you can order online at, or by phone on (028) 9032 1707.

Full disabled access and facilities (via Fountain Street entrance).

Erected at the Library is an Ulster History Circle Blue Plaque dedicated to United Irishman Thomas Russell 1767 - 1803. Russell was Librarian from 1794-1796. By 1796 he was the commander of the United Irishmen in County Down. He was eventually arrested, brought to Downpatrick Gaol and tried for high treason.

The Library now has a Charity Book Shop (see website for details).

Tours are held Mon - Fri at 11:30 (maximum 20 people - £5 per person). Advance booking recommended. We also offer bespoke tours.