Irish Jesuit Archives

Identity area



Authorized form of name

Irish Jesuit Archives

Parallel form(s) of name

  • Archives of the Society of Jesus, Ireland

Other form(s) of name


  • National

Contact area


Damien Burke



Street address

37 Lower Leeson Street


Dublin 2


Country name


Postal code


+00353 (0)1 7758569




Description area


Deposited at Leeson Street since 1958, the Irish Jesuit Archives (IJA) lived a fairly private life for many years. Accessions were intermittent: documents were kept in unsatisfactory conditions, with some listing and re-boxing by several dedicated Jesuits. The archives of 2018 has its origins in the decision in 1995 to renovate the building. By 1997 the strong room was doubled in size; climate control and fire precautions and metal shelves were installed. Fr Fergus O’Donoghue SJ, Province Archivist, then addressed the major challenge of 408 boxes of unlisted material. The ongoing commitment by the Jesuits to the IJA is illustrated by the employment of professional archivists which has transformed the Irish Jesuit Archives into one the foremost religious archives in Ireland.

Geographical and cultural context

The Irish Jesuit Archives (IJA) contains the records of the Jesuits in Ireland from 1575 onwards. The archives primary role is to preserve the memory of Irish Jesuits. It acts as a bridge between past, present and future. There are now some 900 boxes in the IJA. They contain material ‘dating from 1575 to the present, and transcripts going back to 1527, offering a panorama of Jesuit life, work and works in Ireland, Australia, Hong Kong and Zambia across many generations, in times of persecution and exile, and in times of prosperity and growth.’ They exist in a wide variety of formats: paper records (parchment); photographs; microfilm; film; tape recordings; digitally born records. Ephemera such as beads, chalices, clothing, crucifixes, medals, relics, statues and artworks add to the mix. There are also over 800 individual Jesuit files, ‘… the papers of the holy, the controversial, the academic and the blessedly ordinary amongst our departed brothers in Christ.’

Mandates/Sources of authority

Fr Fergus O’Donoghue SJ, 'Irish Jesuit Archives', Archivum Hibernicum, XLI, 1986, pp64-66.
Fr Stephen Redmond SJ, 'A Guide to the Irish Jesuit Province Archives' Archivium Hibernicum, L, 1996, pp127-131.
Fr Fergus O’Donoghue SJ, ‘Development of the Irish Jesuit Archives 2001’, Unpublished Notes.
Fr General Peter Hans Kolvenbach, 'Society’s Practical Proposals on Archives', (2003/26).
‘Scriptis tradere et fideliter conseruare: The Archives as “Places of Memory” within the Society of Jesus’, 2003.
Dr. Elizabeth Mullins, ‘Fr. John MacErlean SJ and the development of the Irish Jesuit Archive’ in: Ailsa C. Holland and Kate Manning (eds) Archives and Archivists. Dublin: Four Courts, 2006) pp.166-176.
Fr General Adolfo Nicolas SJ, 'Organization of the Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu (ARSI)', (2010/04).
Markus Friedrich, 'Archives as networks: the geography of record-keeping in the Society of Jesus (1540–1773)', Archival Science (2010), 10:285–298.
Damien Burke, 'Archives in profile: Irish Jesuit Archives', Irish Society for Archives newsletter, March 2011.
Vera Orschel, “'Uniting the Dispersed Members': the ‘Annual Letters’ of the Irish Jesuits.” Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, vol. 103, no. 412, 2014, pp. 402–413.
Vera Moynes (Editor), 'The Jesuit Irish Mission: A Calendar of Correspondence, 1566–1752', XXXVIII+654 p. (Subsidia Series, Volume 16).

Administrative structure

Records management and collecting policies



Major collections:
Colleges: Lisbon, Poitiers, Rome, Salamanca, Santiago de Compostela, Seville
Chaplains: VEC Colleges, Emigrants in Britain, WW1, WW2
Education: Belvedere College, Clongowes Wood College, Coláiste Iognáid Galway, Crescent College Limerick, Gonzaga College, Mungret College, St. Declan’s, St. Stanislaus College Tullabeg, Catholic University, University College Dublin
Individual Jesuits: Over 800 individual files on Irish Jesuits (1814-1983)
Administration: Letters (1806-), Provincials’ Correspondence (1831-), Visitations (1817-), Provincial Congregations (1832-), Retreats and Missions (1834-), Accounts (1760-), Catalogues (1817-)
Residences: Dromore, Emo Court, Gardiner Street, John Austin House, Killiney Castle, Leeson Street, Loyola House, Manresa House, Milltown Park, Rathfarnham Castle, Tullabeg, University Hall
MacErlean Transcripts cover the years from 1527 to 1774 and include documents relating to ministries in Ireland and abroad.
Missions: Australia, Hong Kong, Isle of Man, Zambia
Non-Jesuit: St. Oliver Plunkett (1625-1681), Francis Sylvester O’ Mahony (1804-1866), Judge John O’ Hagan (1822-1890), Edward Boyd Barrett (1883-1966), Eugene O’ Curry (1796-1862), Rev. Dr. Charles William Russell (1812-1880), John Henry Newman (1801-1890), Peter Talbot, Archbishop of Dublin (1618-1680), General Sir Thomas Kelly-Kenny (1840-1914)
Sodalities: Sodality of Our Lady and Christian Life Communities (1863-1983)
Special Collections: Daniel O’ Connell Letters (1833-1840), Archbishop Butler MS Book [1737], Bishop Laurence Nihil Manuscript 17[59]-17[95], Manuscripts in Irish – described by an tAthair Pádraig Ó Fiannachta in Clár Lámhscríbhínní Gaelige Leabharlanna na Cléire… (1980)

Finding aids, guides and publications

Printed finding aids available.

Access area

Opening times

Monday-Friday: 10am-1pm; 2pm-4.30pm. By advance appointment only

Access conditions and requirements

The Irish Jesuit Archives is a private archive. All requests for access to the archives will be considered, but admission is ultimately at the discretion of the Archivist.


Services area

Research services

The Irish Jesuit Archives are unable to undertake detailed research on behalf of enquirers other than in exceptional circumstances. Limited research enquiries can be carried out free of charge. Digital photography is at the discretion of the Archivist.

Reproduction services

Photocopying is not available.

Public areas

Control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion




Maintenance notes

Access points

Access Points

  • Clipboard

Primary contact

37 Lower Leeson Street
Dublin 2