Linen Hall 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 has a radical and 'enlightenment' foundation, and ever since has prized its independence and has 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 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, a unique collection reflecting our rich cultural heritage. The Linen Hall has an illustrious profile as a centre of cultural and creative life and offers a varied programme of events ranging from monthly exhibitions to readings and lectures.

We provide:

  • A full range of facilities at a city centre location
  • Unique Irish and Local Studies Collections
  • Extensive general lending collection, from bestsellers to classics
  • Free public reference use
  • Borrowing rights for members
  • Fast request service from helpful and expert staff
  • Access to daily newspapers, international magazines and journals
  • Extensive range of fine prints, publications and gifts for sale
  • Wide-ranging cultural programmes
  • Internet access
  • Coffee Shop
  • Saturday opening

Ulster Bank

Ulster Bank was founded in 1836 by a group of Belfast businessmen who wanted to create a bank for the benefit of the local business community. Today it is one of the largest banks on the island of Ireland with around 1.9million customers. Ulster Bank has a long history of community and arts involvement, which it extended in 2008 with the sponsorship of the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s.

Ulster Bank is delighted to support the digitisation of the Linen Hall Library’s theatre archive, a truly valuable resource that celebrates a rich and diverse cultural history.