Guide to our Collection

Cavan Studies

We collect all published material relating to Cavan by local authors and all published material on Cavan in all formats and on all subjects including agriculture, archaeology, architecture, the arts, biographies, local sport & religion to name but a few!

Want to explore Cavan's Local History? Your best starting point is our Catalogue! Check out Cavan Subject Headings - you will be amazed at the range of subjects covered.
Search our Catalogue

Digitised Material

Library staff have been busy selecting for digitisation local publications and materials of unique value and making them accessible online. Our aim is to create a “Virtual” local studies experience. This project is under development; however, see History Online for our current digitised content.



We hold all local newspapers. On microfilm we have the timeless issues of the Anglo Celt from its very first issue in 1846. Click on  Newspaper Holdings word (99.6kb) or Newspaper Holding pdf (33.0kb) to view our collection. See also History Online to discover and access national and local newspaper archives.



Over the years, an extensive microfilm collection has been built up in Johnston Central Library. Sources include the Anglo-Celt, Census 1821, 1841, 1901 & 1911, O’Donovan Name books 1833/34 and Books of Survey and Distribution. Click on Microfilm Holdings word or Microfilm Holding pdf  to view our collection.



The library hold a comprehensive Journal Collection including the Breifne Antiquarian Society Journal & the Heart of Breifne. Search our Catalogue.
See also History Online to discover and access international journals.



Our map collection includes:
• 1654-1659 Down Survey Parish (Microfilm)
• 1835/1836 Ordnance Survey 6” (Hardcopy)
• Griffith Valuation (Hardcopy)
• Farnham Estate Maps (Hardcopy)
• Ballinamore/Ballconnell Drainage and navigation Maps (Hardcopy)
• Cavan Leitrim Railway Maps (Hardcopy)
See also History Online to explore web versions of Ordnance Survey and Griffith Valuation maps








Dr Francis J. MacKiernan (1926-2005) was appointed Bishop of Kilmore in 1972 and served until 1998. In an act of generosity, he gave his complete collection of books on permanent loan to Cavan County Library Service so that they would be available for use by local historians. Dr MacKiernan was a founding member of Cumann Seanchais Bhreifne in January 1956 and contributed greatly to documenting the history of the diocese through his own books and articles. In addition, his constant encouragement of others to research and write local history, greatly adds to our understanding of the history of the county.  

The library of Bishop Francis J. MacKiernan consists of more than 2,000 volumes. His generous donation has added considerably to a local studies collection which is acknowledged as one of the most impressive and wide ranging in the country. 

Dr MacKiernan had a deep interest in Cavan County Library service and took immense pride in seeing the new Johnston Central Library come to fruition. Bishop MacKiernan browsed book and auction catalogues for history books that would enhance the library shelves and was a central figure in the establishment of the Local Studies Collection. He bought and donated many items during lean times when public funding was limited.  

Access and Finding Aid 

An index to the collection is available online

A hard copy of the index is also available at the front desk in Johnston Central Library. 

You can view a introduction to the collection presented by Monsignor Liam Kelly 

To access items from the Bishop MacKiernan Collection, it is necessary to make an appointment.

All enquiries must be directed to archives@cavancoco.ie

A log of all researchers and items requested will be recorded.