Dun's Library

Dun's Library contains over 20,000 items relating to medicine and medical education in Ireland from the 17th century to 1950.

Library Catalogue

Our online catalogue contains details of over 20,000 catalogued books, pamphlets and journals.

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Sir Patrick Dun

Dun's Library was founded in 1713 when Sir Patrick Dun (1642-1713), an eminent physician and former President of the College, bequeathed his personal library to the College.

"Like wise I would give my books for the lawful use of the sd Professors and College of Physicians, provided the sd. Professor or Professors … give bond and security to keep and preserve the sd Library and all and every book and books in it."


Clause in the will of Sir Patrick Dun, 1713

For 250 years the library collection evolved and developed as a research and teaching collection for members of the College. While the main focus of the library is medicine, there are also works on other branches of science, law, classics, antiquaries and other subjects that interested the College Fellows. In addition, the library collected any works written by our Fellows, these cover a wide range of topics from a biography of Thomas à Kempis to travel writing and poetry.

In the 1960s the difficult decision was taken to no longer maintain a current medical library, the focus instead shifting to preserving the historical collection.


What's in Dun's Library?

Core Collection: The golden age of Irish medicine, c.1750-1900 

This collection reflects the important developments which were taking place in medicine during this period, and Irish medics’ place in the international culture of medical and scientific innovation and discovery. The collection also reflects the wider scientific, cultural, literary and artistic interest of medics.

Irish Medicine 1900-1950

A comprehensive collection of medical works published in Ireland or written by Irish medics during this period. The collection shows the development of Irish medicine in the first half of the twentieth century.

Special Collections

Since the initial bequest by Sir Patrick Dun the library has been greatly augmented by the donation of collections by College Fellows. These have added strength to the collections in the following areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Psychiatry
  • Ophthalmology
  • Public Health and Communicable Diseases

History of Medicince

We maintain a reference collection of publications relating to the history of medicine in Ireland, or with substantial Irish interest. This includes biographies and autobiographies of Irish medical practitioners, as well as histories of Irish hospitals, medical organisations and institutions. We are constantly adding to this collection as new works are published.


Offers of donations to the library are always appreciated, however please be aware that restrictions on space and other resources mean that only some items can be accepted.

Find out how to make a donation