Founded in 1541 under a lease from Henry VIII, King’s Inns is Ireland’s oldest legal institution and oldest School of Law. However, it does not appear that King’s Inns possessed a library until in 1788, a nucleus law collection was formed though the purchase of the professional library of Mr Justice Christopher Robinson. The present Library Building on Henrietta Street was completed in 1832 and now houses over 110,000 volumes, about a third of which are law books.
The full collection of the Irish manuscripts spans from the 15th century to the 19th century but it has not been possible to establish when exactly these manuscripts came into the possession of the Society. The current numbering of the manuscripts relates to a catalogue prepared by an assistant librarian, Martin Haverty, in 1867.
Further information can be found in Pádraig de Brún’s Catalogue of Irish Manuscripts in King’s Inns Library Dublin, published in Dublin in 1972 by the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.
As the primary focus of the King’s Inns is the provision of legal education to current students, access to our heritage collection is restricted. Participation in the Irish Scripts on Screen project ensures that part of our collection becomes accessible to interested researchers.