This private collection forms the heart of the Library.
Many of the volumes are from the library of leading Irish diplomat Count Gerald Edward O'Kelly de Gallach (1890-1968), which Princess Grace purchased in the 1970s. There are also books inscribed to the Prince and Princess by former President Eamon De Valera in 1961 during their state visit to Ireland.
In 1978, Princess Grace acquired the complete collection of Irish-American music scores collected between 1932 and 1954 by Michael E O’Donnell from Philadelphia, her native city.
Since the Library's inauguration, some twelve thousand books have been acquired — or donated by benefactors — including an excellent selection of contemporary authors (some signed) and works from the Irish Literary Revival period (late 19th and early 20th centuries), as well as older Irish books, imprints and collections acquired from distinguished scholars.
The Library holds volumes of Irish works from all periods. Some first editions include rare examples of the 19th-century antiquarian and Irish Literary Revival titles.
New books are added each year - contemporary poetry, fiction and drama, scholarly monographs and general works (including key reference works and leading illustrated publications) – to ensure that we cater to the modern reader as well as to the scholarly researcher.