In this section you will find links to informative and educational resources on architectural heritage, building conservation and the historic development of Dublin. Many remarkable historic collections have been digitised and made available online by Irish institutions in recent years, from early photographs to historic mapping.

It is always worth consulting archival institutions directly for detailed research requirements.

Irish Architectural Archive

The Irish Architectural Archive collects and preserves material of every kind relating to the architecture of the island of Ireland and makes it available to the public. As a cumulative body of material, the holdings of the Archive represent the greatest single source of information on Ireland’s buildings and those who designed them.

The Archive’s Reading Room, located in its dedicated premises at 45 Merrion Square, is open to the public and hosts a detailed photographic record of thousands of buildings and streets in Dublin and around Ireland. The archive hosts over 2.5 million individual architectural drawings and related records of the buildings and architecture of Ireland, as well as manuscripts and an extensive reference library containing original publications such as The Irish Builder.

The archive’s online catalogue is available to search online here. 

Location: 45 Merrion Square (east side), Dublin 2

National Library of Ireland

The National Library’s online catalogue is a rich guide to its collections and features many recently digitised photographs, prints and drawings of Dublin and places throughout Ireland. High resolution scans of original documents now allow detailed inspection of historic buildings and street scenes. The library’s definitive collection of reference books and national newspapers is also an invaluable research tool. 

Location: Kildare Street, Dublin 2

Record of Protected Structures

Every planning authority in Ireland is statutorily required to compile a Record of Protected Structures (RPS). This is a register of all protected structures – formerly called ‘listed buildings’ – that is incorporated in the authority’s five-year Development Plan.

Dublin City Council’s Record of Protected Structures can be downloaded here.

All county and urban RPSs can be found on local authority websites or consulted in your local library.

National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH)

The NIAH is the State body charged with recording Ireland’s architectural heritage, operating under the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. The role of the NIAH is to undertake architectural and historic landscape surveys of individual counties across Ireland and to make recommendations to the Minister for Heritage for additions to Records of Protected Structures. The NIAH survey does not confer protected status on structures, as this is a reserved function of local authorities.

The majority of Ireland’s surveys are now complete and are being finalised with detailed surveys of areas of Dublin city (2017-2018).

Individual buildings, structures, streets and historic gardens can be viewed using the online Buildings of Ireland searchable database. County and city surveys have also been made available through a series of publications, available in most good bookshops.

National Archives of Ireland

National Archives holds the records of the modern Irish State which document its historical evolution and the creation of Irish national identity. It secures the preservation of records relating to Ireland which warrant preservation as archives and ensures that appropriate arrangements are made for public access to archives.

The archive’s holdings relate to all parts of Ireland and have enormous research potential as they provide essential primary source material for people seeking to understand the political, economic and social forces which shaped Ireland. The records also permit the study of Government policy and encourage greater use of archival heritage by the general public which can be accessed through its on-site Reading Room. 

The archive’s searchable online resources allow access to Ireland’s Census Records for 1901 and 1911, Census survivals for 1821-51, Census Search forms for 1841-51, the Tithe Applotment Books from 1823 to 1837, the Soldiers’ Wills from 1914 to 1917, and the Calendars of Wills and Administrations from 1858 to 1922.

Location: Bishop Street, Dublin 2

Bridges of Dublin

Developed by Dublin City Council, the Bridges of Dublin website is the most comprehensive repository of information about the river Liffey's 23 bridges from Lucan in the west to the East Link bridge in the east.

The website contains a wealth of historic, technical and social information relating the bridges of central Dublin as well as a unique array of high resolution photographs, prints and drawings derived from collections of Dublin City Library, national instructions and private collections.

It is an essential tool for anyone studying individual bridges and the wider historic development of Dublin.

Census Records 1901 & 1911

Ireland’s Census records have been digitised and made available online by the Genealogical section of the National Archives. They provide invaluable information on the former occupants of buildings and streets, the density of populations and even living conditions and the quality of buildings through itemised records of rooms and windows.

The records can be searched online and individual sheets can be downloaded in PDF format.

Historic Mapping

A number of Irish repositories retain extensive collections of historic maps, some of which are available online. These include:

Glucksman Map Library, Trinity College Dublin

The Map Library holds over half a million maps and atlases, making it the largest collection of printed maps in Ireland. As one of the heritage departments of the Library, it holds rare older material as well as modern mapping. The collections are particularly strong on maps of Ireland and Great Britain, including the Ordnance Survey series, but they also include coverage of Europe, Africa and the rest of the world at less detailed scales.

The Map Library is available to students and staff of Trinity College Dublin who wish to consult cartographic materials. Visiting readers are welcome to consult maps not available elsewhere in Dublin and should contact contact the library to arrange an appointment. Maps can usually be sourced and prepared in advance of your visit.


University College Dublin Library

The UCD library retains a wealth of mapping of Ireland and other parts of the world. A particularly useful resource is its online digitised Historic Map Collection, which includes a section on the Historic Maps of Dublin at extremely high resolution. This includes Ordnance Survey maps of Dublin from the 1830s and 1840s which are invaluable for comparison purposes as well as in-depth research. The Ordnance Survey Ireland 19th Century Historical Maps for the entire country are also available.

Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi) 19th Century Historical Maps


Irish Historic Towns Atlas Series

The Irish Historic Towns Atlas (IHTA) project records the topographical development of a selection of Irish towns both large and small. Each town is published separately as a folder containing an invaluable series of maps relating to the town, complemented by a detailed text section describing the historic evolution and development of the place. It is an essential tool for anybody undertaking study of local history or the architectural development of Irish towns and cities.

Operated by the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) as part of a pan-European project, the IHTA studies are produced as a handsome printed series, available to purchase directly from the RIA and in most good bookshops. A digitisation project is also gradually making studies available online.

Irish Historic Towns Atlas Series

Royal Irish Academy Bookshop


Ordnance Survey Ireland

The Ordnance Survey’s Geohive Map Viewer allows users to inspect various historic editions of OS maps and to overlay them on modern maps. Historic OS maps of Ireland are also available to purchase directly from the Ordnance Survey. 

Geohive Map Viewer

Dublin City Library and Archives

Dublin City Archives contains records of the civic government of Dublin from 1171 to the late 20th century. These records include City Council and committee minutes, account books, correspondence, reports, court records, charity petitions, title deeds, maps and plans and drawings all of which document the development of Dublin over eight centuries.

Dublin City Archives also acquires private collections that relate to the history of the city of Dublin or to individuals who worked within the Municipal City.

One the Archive's principal collections is the important body of maps and manuscripts of the Wide Streets Commission that operated from 1757 until 1849. Much of this collection is available to view online. Another invaluable resource is the Archive's collection of Dublin photographs, which are also available to view online.

The Reading Room is located on the first floor of the Archive premises on Pearse Street, where readers wishing to consult manuscripts or early printed books are advised to lodge requests in advance. A reader's ticket is required.

Location: 138 - 144 Pearse Street, Dublin 2. D02 HE37