18th century: The Early Years

On the 25th June 1731 the first meeting of the Dublin Society was held in The Philosophical Rooms of Trinity College, Dublin. The minutes of the first meeting record that the Dublin Society's Foundation aims were to be “improving husbandry, manufactures and other useful arts…” in Ireland.

From the very beginning, the Dublin Society dedicated itself to the practical application of new technology in agriculture and manufacturing. By the mid 18th century the Society was advancing its Foundation programme through the distribution of grants from the Irish Parliament and Samuel Madden's premium scheme.

On the 18th December 1731 the Dublin Society ordered that a secretary be appointed to care for the books of the Dublin Society and that the Society should collect, “all works, journals, and transactions which should be published by other Societies and by private persons, and might contain any useful improvement in nature or art...”

The Library of the Dublin Society reflected the Foundation aims of the Society both in terms of its collections and in the very practical ethos underpinning its development.

The 1731 statement remained central to the collection policy of the RDS Library until the foundation of the National Library of Ireland in 1877.