The mapping of Ireland dates back to sixteenth century. The maps graphically reflect Irish history and
illustrate changes in the governance and development of the land. This carto-bibliography is a compilation
of maps of Ireland by leading cartographers such as Mercator, Hondius, Blaeu, and Sanson in sixteenth and
seventeenth century maps and atlases, as well as English surveys carried out by Sir William Petty in the
seventeenth century, and by the Ordnance Survey Office in the nineteenth century. The earliest map of Ireland
in the Division is a 1528 map found in the atlas titled Libro Di Benedetto Bordone (see entry 1 in Part One).
The project began in the 1980s when a group of volunteers, all of Irish-American heritage, set out to
create an authoritative carto-bibliographic resource of Ireland. The devoted team prepared this extensive
list of more than 2,000 cartographic specimens in the collections of the Geography and Map Division. Led by
former Geography and Map Division Senior Reference Librarian Patrick Dempsey, Eileen M. McConnell, Kenneth
B. McConnell, and Barbara S. O’Brien dedicated thousands of hours to the project. They described their work
as “a labor of love by a group of people who enjoyed doing it and became fast friends.” In 2004, they presented
their findings to the Washington Map Society. Their remarks appeared in Issue 59, Spring 2004 of The Portolan
in an article titled, "Maps & Genealogy: The Irish Map Project at the Library of Congress."
The staff of the Geography and Map Division fully supported the project. Past Chiefs John Wolter and John
Hébert, as well as current Chief Ralph E. Ehrenberg welcomed the volunteers and provided access to materials.
Former staff members Richard Stevenson, Ronald Grim, Kathryn L. Engstrom, Gary Fitzpatrick, and Lisa Cope,
along with current Reference Specialist Edward Redmond, answered numerous reference questions and helped to
retrieve materials, particularly rare and valuable items.
Present-day digital publishing has made it possible to share this previously unpublished resource online.
Since more than a decade had passed since the work was completed, a number of updates and edits were required.
It was also decided to complement the catalog with an annotated gallery of select Irish maps from the Geography
and Map Division’s vault, which houses rare and valuable historic artifacts. It is hoped that these samples will
encourage interest and provide a glimpse of the materials to those unable to visit the Library.
Ryan J. Moore
Geography and Map Division
Library of Congress