Thursday 25 June 2020

Irish research facilities begin to reopen from 29 June

Many repositories, archives and other research facilities have spent the last week or so dusting their shelves and rearranging the furniture in preparation for opening their doors to researchers for the first time since the lockdown started. In this phase of the relaxation, caution seems to be the by-word, and most, but not all, facilities seem to be opting for an appointment-only system.

Here's a brief round-up that will give a flavour:

National Library of Ireland
From Monday 29 June, the NLI will open on an appointments basis from 10am–4pm, Monday to Friday. Appointments will be available for the following services of main interest to history and genealogy researchers:
• Reading Services for registered Readers in the Main Reading Room
• Reading Services for registered Readers in the Manuscripts Reading Room
Readers will be required to order the material they wish to access when making their booking.
The NLI cafe will also be open, 9:30am–4pm.
Detailed booking and visiting information here.

National Archives of Ireland
The NAI will also re-open to the public on Monday and will operate a limited, appointment-only system. As yet, there's no confirmation on how this system can be accessed, nor on how many researchers can be accommodated at one time in the Reading Room, but I'll bring details when they're made public later this week.*

Tipperary Studies
The local and family history department of the county's library services will also be appointment-only and will operate to slightly restricted hours of 10am–1pm and 2pm–5pm, Monday to Friday. You can book by email: or phone: 0761 066123.

Dublin City Libraries will open six libraries (Cabra, Coolock, and Raheny, Pearse Street, Pembroke (Ballsbridge) and Rathmines) for browsing books and borrowing from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Saturday. No bookings, but you may need to queue if the number of visitors goes beyond a safe threshold. There will not, initially, be any seating for reading or studying, which I guess rules out the Dublin City Library & Archive in Pearse Street opening just yet.

RCB Library & Archive: Still closed and no reopening details available yet.

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland
No word yet as to when and how PRONI will reopen in Belfast. Again, I'll advise when details are announced.

*UPDATE Saturday 27 June: The NAI has not yet announced details of its appointment system. The website says the repository is operating a limited public service via e-mail only: I don't think this is intended for the new appointment system. Let's hope there is news about this as soon as they reopen on Monday.

*UPDATE Monday 29 June: The NAI's booking system is now ready and waiting along with information about what to expect when visiting.