Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland
curated-collections-iconCurated Collection

Map Room

Curated by Dr David Brown with the L. Brown Collection and Participating Institutions.

About this Collection

This collection contains over 6,000 of the most important historical maps of Ireland, varying in scale and size from the outline of a single building to maps of the entire island. The Map Room includes printed and manuscript maps, topographical maps as well as nautical charts.

The collection is divided into three distinct epochs:

  • Before Sir William Petty’s Down Survey of the 1650s
  • Between the Down Survey and the first Ordnance Survey of the 1840s
  • After the Ordnance Survey, until 1922.

The reason for these divisions is that cartographical interpretations of Ireland varied widely prior to the Down Survey, but this work became the basis for how Ireland was depicted thereafter.

Apart from Petty’s county maps, however, the Down Survey was never published, so for almost two centuries (1650-1840), Ireland was mapped by increasingly skillful and knowledgeable cartographers. Their work is evident in the series of county maps made for the Grand Juries in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

After the 1840s, the Ordnance Survey was the basis for maps at most scales, and many important series, all present in the Map Room, were derived from this.

We hope that the Map Room encourages you to go exploring.

Collection Name: Map Room