Anyone who does Irish research ought to examine Hayes Manuscripts. These books are the result of a massive indexing project. Richard J. Hayes was the National Library Director who started the project in 1941.
Hayes wanted the library to catalogue all the data relating to Ireland or the Irish for all periods around the world. The final project was called “Manuscript Sources for the History of Irish Civilisation”. It was completed in 1965 and there was a supplement in 1975. According to the National Library of Ireland’s website this resulted in “23 substantial volumes, containing over 17,000 pages of records.”
To use these indexes you had to go to a national, university or very large library. In the Toronto area I know there is a copy at Robart’s Library in the University of Toronto.
The earliest record in these indexes is 1785 and the records cover about 200 years. The digitization project started in late 2007 and it is now available online for free.
What exactly can you find in Sources? According to the National Library of Ireland’s website it is the following:
“All of the National Library’s manuscripts catalogued up to the 1980s; Irish manuscripts held in other libraries and archives in Ireland and worldwide, listed between the 1940s and the 1970s; articles, reviews and other content that appeared in over 150 Irish periodicals up to 1969.” There is also a link to download a list of the journals that are included in the collection.
If you find an article you would like a copy of you can order it through the library’s Copying Services. You can contact the Reprographics Department to find out the cost of the copying.
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