Linen Hall Library
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Linen Hall Library information
Lonely Planet review
Established in 1788 to 'improve the mind and excite a spirit of general inquiry', the Linen Hall Library was moved from its original home in the White Linen Hall (the site is now occupied by City Hall) to the present building a century later. Thomas Russell, the first librarian, was a founding member of the United Irishmen and a close friend of Wolfe Tone – a reminder that this movement for independence from Britain had its origins in Belfast. Russell was hanged in 1803 after Robert Emmet's abortive rebellion.
The library houses some 260,000 books, more than half of which are part of its important Irish- and local-studies collection. The political collection consists of pretty much everything that has been written about Northern Irish politics since 1966. The library also has a small coffee shop (10am-4pm Mon-Fri, 10am-3.30pm Sat). The visitors' entrance is on Fountain St, around the corner from the main door.