Special Collections at Yeats Library

Special Collections are unique resources offering research and discovery through rare books, archives and other primary sources. There are currently over a thousand items in the Special Collections at Yeats Library, ranging from antiquarian books to journals, works of art, sound recordings and printed ephemera.

Many of the items have been generously donated from private individual and family collections. Yeats Library strives to preserve and promote these collections of primary sources for research and educational purposes.

Anne Yeats Art Collection

Anne Yeats, artist and theatre designer and daughter of W.B Yeats donated several hundred books from her personal art collection the library for use by IT Sligo art and design students

Jack Flynn Collection

Anglo-Irish Literature

Antiquarian books

This includes facsimiles of medieval manuscripts of

  • The Book of Ballymote (Leabhar Bhaile an Mhóta, c.1391)
  • The Book of Leinster (Leabhar na Nua Chongbhála, c. 1160)
  • The Book of the Dun Cow (Leabhar na hUidre, c.1100)
  • Gaelige and international languages

Political Satire 

  • Punch magazine 1841-1891

Miscellaneous Collections

This features Children’s Literature, Customs and Folklore, Cork Historical Journal issues, original Penguin fiction classics

Items from Special Collections area available to view within the library by request only.

Yeats Library has successfully curated many exhibitions and events as part of its outreach initiative and as a way of promoting Special Collections content.

Some of the themes covered include the following:

  • Rabindranath Tagore and Yeats – connections with India
    An exhibition of poetry and prose from the Special Collections by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. This was to coincide with the unveiling of a bust of Tagore in Sligo, a gift from the Indian people to celebrate his friendship with W B Yeats.
  • Sketches of Sligo: the antiquarian perspectives of W.F. Wakeman (1822-1900) & W.G. Wood-Martin (1847-1917)
    Exhibition of images from Wakeman drawings with Sligo County Library in association with Archaeology conference: Cromlechs, Crannógs & Cures: commemorating the works of the Sligo antiquarian W. G. Wood-Martin (1847-1917)
  • Scenes of Sligo 150 Years Ago
    A photographic exhibition to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Yeats featuring Sligo town as it was then.
  • Sligo Through the Decades
    A research project initiated by Yeats Library and in association with Sligo County Council transition year students from Sligo secondary schools. Six groups of students, guided by Library staff, researched a decade from 1916-2016 and presented their research on campus. Ten pull up banners were designed to display their findings. This is now a travelling exhibition