The Diocesan and Collegiate Library of St. Malachy’s (The O’Laverty Library) is situated on the first floor of the old part of the College and overlooks the ‘quad’. Originally a classroom, it was converted into a library after a few years, probably by 1872. The room has been used as a meeting room for the Gaelic League members in the 1920s, a staff room until 1962 and more recently a conference room for Senior Management, Board of Governors meetings etc.
The cabinets which adorn the walls contain a treasure trove of Irish History, Archaeology, Folklore, Theology, Classics, Science, Philosophy and English Literature together with a set of priceless Gaelic manuscripts. Here are to be found the libraries of important figures in 19th century Belfast including Bishop Cornelius Denvir (1791-1866), friend and supporter of Daniel
O’Connell, and of James O’Laverty, historian and Gaelic scholar. This impressive and unique resource is one of historical Belfast’s best kept secrets.
For the College Community (students, parents, staff, B.O.G., Trustees, Old Boys’ Association) the O’Laverty Library can be considered a vital link with the 19th century College and it is most important that this heritage be preserved. However this library has a much more universal appeal and it is for the wider community as we hope to demonstrate that there will be a significant and lasting benefit in opening up this unique facility.