Architectural Heritage Resources
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.
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.
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