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About us

Preserving the history and collections of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland


We are a research and educational centre specialising in the history of medicine and medical humanities in Ireland.

We are the proud guardians of over 350 years of historical archives dating from the foundation of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland in 1654. Our collections include manuscripts, books, prints, photographs and other unique items relating to the history of medicine and medical education in Ireland. 

We work to:

  • carefully catalogue and preserve a vast collection of manuscripts, books, images, items and artwork relating to the history of RCPI and medicine in Ireland
  • promote awareness of Ireland's rich medical history
  • grow our collections thanks to generous donations of library and archive material, medical instruments, images and ephemera
  • make the College's unique collections accessible to the public.

If you’re interested in carrying out research into the history of medicine, or if you would like to trace your medical ancestors, contact us today.

Visit Us

We house a unique collection of manuscripts, books, prints, photographs and other rare items relating to the history of medicine and medical education in Ireland. We also hold a variety of sources, dating back to the seventeenth century, that can help with tracing Irish medical ancestors.

All our collections are open to everyone. You are welcome to view items from our collections in our reading room, open from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm Monday to Friday. As our space is limited, we ask you to make an appointment by emailing HeritageCentre@rcpi.ie.

You’re welcome to bring your own laptop to use in the reading room and we have free wifi. You can also use a digital camera to make research copies of most of the collections.

If you’re visiting our reading room for the first time, we’ll ask you to complete a reader registration form. Everyone who uses our reading room must abide by our conditions of access.


Our Collections

We hold a unique collection of material relating to the history of medicine in Ireland, with over 20,000 books, 10,000 manuscripts and hundreds of medical instruments and historical curiosities.

Our Services

Family history research

Is their a doctor in your family tree? If you’re interested in family history researcher, you’re welcome to visit our reading room to access our genealogy collections. If you can’t make it in person, we also offer a paid genealogy research service.

Find out more.

Guided tours of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland

We can bring you on a guided tour of the College's historic home at 6 Kildare Street.

To book a tour simply contact us at heritagecentre@rcpi.ie or on 01 6698817.

Photocopying and digital imaging

We offer a paid photocopying and digital imaging service, and you can also bring your own digital camera. 

If you want to reproduce an image of material in our collections in a publication, or other commercial activity, please contact us for information on procedures and pricing.

Duns Library

Book Shop

Our book shop offers a range of titles relating to the history of the College and the history of medicine in Ireland.

Visit the book shop

Harriet Wheelock

Keeper of Collections

Tel: +353 1 669 8817

Harriet is Keeper of Collection and manages the RCPI Heritage Centre. Contact Harriet with any questions about the Heritage Centre, its collection and to make an appointment to visit.