Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Greetings from the Archives

It's that festive time of year again and rounding off this semester it really has been an exceptional time of late here in Archives and Special Collections. Over the past semester, we have settled into our new home and premises here at the Hardiman Building; wonderful new collections have arrived into our strong-rooms, more have been catalogued and made accessible; it has been our pleasure to have you with us for Open Days, tours, Culture Night, exhibitions and launches, guest talks and more. We have been delighted to welcome so many new users to our Reading Room and indeed to welcome back all our regular users and friends! 
We hope all research and projects have gone well and not too many sleepless nights were had ahead of ahead of exams.

Our semester is winding to a close this week and already a new start is on the horizon so to all friends of the Archives and Special Collections, to users new and not so new, to all University staff and students and to those who visit us from afar, we wish you a very festive, enjoyable and safe Christmas and look forward to seeing you all here at the Hardiman Building in 2014.

As a final piece from our collections for this year here is an image from the Lyric Theatre Belfast production of 'The Nativity'. The production was a staging of the version written by Lady Augusta Gregory, organised and directed by Mary O'Malley prior to the formation of the Lyric Players Theatre.

T4/1 - the Nativity written by Lady Gregory, staged in 1950

Le gach dea-ghuí don Nollaig agus don bhliain nua.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Opening the Digitised History of Ireland's National Theatre

A new era of theatre scholarship is now accessible at the James Hardiman Library. 'A Digital Journey Through Irish Theatre', which was launched in October 2012 by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, records the digitised archive of the Abbey Theatre, the national theatre of Ireland.

Containing over 1.8 million items in total, it is the largest theatre archive digitisation project ever undertaken in the world. The archive pre-dates the foundation of the Abbey Theatre itself, including material relating to productions by W.B. Yeats in 1894.

The rolling 3-year project has now successfully completed phase 1 and the first tranche of material is now released to users of the archive. Material included in this first release includes historic programmes of productions, set designs and related assorted production records including scripts and correspondence.
The digitisation project will allow for pioneering advances in the study of theatre, drama and society. As well as providing a documented record of a play, the Abbey Theatre Digital Archive will include a vast range of multi-media records, including nearly 1,500 hours of recordings of productions from over 430 productions.

The archive material will be exclusively available on designated computer terminals in the new Archives and Special Collections reading room of the Hardiman Building, located on the ground floor of the new extension, at the heart of campus at NUI Galway.

The archive compliments a leading research strength in theatre, performing arts and humanities scholarship within the University, with allied catalogued archival collections at the Hardiman Library including the papers of Druid Theatre Company, Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe, The Lyric Players Theatre/O'Malley family, Belfast, The Galway Arts Festival archive and papers of individuals such as playwright Thomas Kilroy and actors Siobhan McKenna and Arthur Shields.

Dr Jim Browne, President, NUI Galway, Fiach MacConghail, Artistic Director, Abbey Theatre, President Michael D. Higgins, his wife Sabina.
The project will ensure that over 130 years of Irish theatre, history, culture and society will remain preserved and accessible for future generations.

The Abbey Theatre Digital Archive is accessible to all students and staff of the University and to external scholars and students. Stay tuned for updates for additions of new material to the archive throughout the course of the project. For more on access and conditions of the use of the Abbey Theatre Digital Archive please contact the Archives and Special Collections team by email:

RTE News coverage of the launch of the Abbey Theatre Digitisation Project, October 2012, can also be viewed by clicking here.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Druid and the Colleen Bawn - from 1978 to present

Druid cast of the Colleen Bawn, 1978
It's been thirty-five years since Druid Theatre staged Dion Boucicault's the Colleen Bawn. Looking back through the archive of such a body of work, it highlights much about the variances in the early Druid repertoire. Then, the young Druid Theatre company was hardly three years old and developments were well in motion that were making all involved with the Galway group stand out for recognition. People might not be aware of the range of work which Druid was producing at that time, and so much of it being recent non-Irish work also.

The 1978 season saw Druid produce the Colleen Bawn along with Tom Stoppard's After Margritte, Anton Checkov's the Proposal, The Glass Menagerie by Tennesse Williams and Woyzeck by George Buchner. Along with Boucicault's frantic and wild action, characters and language it is interesting to see Druid programming work by Boucicault, which would not have been too commonly familiar to many Irish audiences.

[Paul O'Neill] and Marie Mullen
This revival by Druid is a timely chance to dip into the archive and see some of the items and resources available for study of past productions of this play and one from Druid's early and formative years. The initial cast featured Marie Mullen, Sean McGinley, Pat Connaghton, Paul O'Neill and the play was designed and directed by Garry Hynes. Included in the archives are numerous production shots of the cast in costume and in production, original scripts used by Marie Mullen and Sean McGinley, with annotation and notes by both, lighting and cue sheets, programmes, posters and other such documents, each telling their own story of the history of this play.
Programme from the 1978 production

It is really exciting to see a new staging of the Colleen Bawn coming to the Galway stage. If you have any friends or family who may have seen this original production in in 1978 we would love to hear from you! Do leave a comment.

For more records about The Colleen Bawn or other productions from Druid's archive, please click here for the full archive catalogue. 

For more on the current production of the Colleen Bawn, see for details.

Sean McGinley's script, with handwritten annotation

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Father Alec Reid laid to rest

Press cutting from the Sunday Times
21 April 2002
The Brendan Duddy Papers
The funeral of Father Alec Reid took place yesterday, giving us pause to reflect on the key role he played in the Northern Ireland peace process, and on the importance of dialogue in times of conflict.  In among the Brendan Duddy papers, we came across a newspaper clipping profiling Father Reid, and his work in brokering peace in the Basque region.  Here in Ireland, he is remembered most as being a key figure in bringing The Troubles to an end, and as an icon for peace in one of the most enduring images from The Troubles, where he is photographed praying over the bodies of two British soldiers.  Father Reid was a powerful ambassador in convincing people that dialogue was the only true way to resolve conflict.  Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Irish Centre for the Histories of Labour & Class - Inaugural Conference at NUI Galway


Irish Centre for the Histories of Labour & Class

Moore Institute, NUI Galway 

Inaugural conference

Venue: James Hardiman Building (new extension), NUI Galway
21-22 November 2013

For full conference programme please click here 



A landmark symposium on Patrick Pearse's theatric work hopes to encourage new productions of the neglected plays of the Irish revolutionary.

Experts on Patrick Pearse will travel from across Europe at the end of the month to attend ‘Pearse and the Theatre’, a  bilingual symposium on the plays of the Irish rebel and writer, which takes place in St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra on the 29th and 30th of November. The organizers of the two-day symposium on the Irish rebel’s dramatic work hope that this special event will encourage a new generation of Irish theatre makers to stage Pearse’s plays, which caused both controversy and excitement when first produced.
 As well as featuring lively discussion on all aspects of Pearse’s work in the theatre, the programme for ‘Pearse and the Theatre’ also includes a workshop for actors and directors guided by Colm Hefferon and a musical performance led by harpist Síle Denvir that will help to bring the 1916 leader's plays to life.

 As the 100-year commemoration of the Easter Rising  approaches, this special event will shed new light on an important area of Pearse’s work that has been largely neglected. In the years before he became an icon of rebellion, Patrick Pearse was obsessed with the theatre.   As the author and producer of hugely popular plays in both Irish and English he was the imaginative force behind pageants that were staged on remarkable scale. Contemporary performances of Pearse’s works attracted large and enthusiastic audiences to various locations around Dublin - including St. Enda's School, the Abbey Theatre, the Mansion House Jones Road (now Croke Park) - while many leading figures from the worlds of culture and politics were involved in the preparation, promotion, and staging of his of art and literature helped stage the ambitious scripts.  
The plays themselves were often allegories for Pearse's political vision and he drew on the theatrical expertise of his brother Willie and their circle of friends to devise innovative productions that included spectacular open-air performances. 

One of the lesser known plays under discussion, The Singer, which dealt with the morality of rebellion, was in rehearsal in the weeks before the Rising but the production was abandoned as history took centre stage.
Speaking ahead of the symposium, Róisín Ní Ghairbhí, one of the co-organisers of 'Pearse and the Theatre', said: “We are looking forward to an exciting programme which will feature scholars, writers, directors and actors. Speakers from as far away as England, France and the Czech Republic will be travelling to participate and we are also inviting people directly involved in the theatre in the hope that these plays, some of which have been half forgotten for years, will be restaged for a new audience. There is something here for anyone with an interest in Pearse, the theatre, or this crucial period in Irish history.”
The keynote speakers at ‘Pearse and the Theatre’ are Brian Crowley, The Pearse Museum/OPW, author of the recently published Patrick Pearse: A Life In Pictures; Dr Elaine Sisson, Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology and author of Pearse's Patriots, St Enda's and the Cult of Boyhood; and Dr James Moran, University of Nottingham, author of Four Irish Rebel Plays.
The workshop and musical performance were specifically included in the programme to ensure that the texts discussed in the lectures are brought to life for participants and audience. The organisers hope that the gathering of scholars and practitioners will provide a fresh take on Pearse’s work in theatre. Actor director Colm Hefferon, who is facilitating the workshop, wants to ‘get away from ideology’. ‘I am interested in exploring the human aspect of the plays’ he says.
‘Pearse and the Theatre’ will explore a sometimes-overlooked dimension to Pearse’s life. The organizers of this unique symposium, Róisín Ní Ghairbhí and Eugene McNulty, earlier this year published Patrick Pearse; Collected Plays/Drámaí an Phiarsaigh, a new bilingual edition of Pearse's plays with Irish Academic Press. The symposium is being supported by Foras na Gaeilge.- For further information about ‘Pearse and the Theatre’ or to contact keynote speakers please contact  0833733151  or 0876461661 /

Click here to see the full programme for the event.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Curious Eye - An Exhibition About Noticing


Exhibition at NUI Galway Gallery

In association with NUI Galway Arts & Theatre Office
Organised by Robin Jones

23 November to 20 December 2013 | Open 12pm to 4pm Tuesday to Saturday

Contributors include Silvia Bächli, Will Self, Joe Fyfe, Merritt Bucholz, Olwen Fouèré,
Karin Ruggaber, John Rocha, Jürgen Simpson, among a wide range of people.
This exhibition explores the idea of the note, the notebook and the idea of noticing.
Noticing and recording are very human activities. Whether noticing comes in the form of a
sketchbook or written notebook, on a scrap of paper or via a laptop or maybe iPhone, whether
these notes are for some type of personal research, or come from a general curiosity to
register “noticing”, or perhaps even drawings made to explain something to another person,
they are all about developing a contact with the world.

While writing is woven into the fabric of a huge part of human life and has an acknowledged
position as such, drawing too can be thought of in a similar way - though far less
acknowledged - in everyday life. It is integrated into an enormous range of human activity.
Both drawing and writing - and the use of digital media - can be thought of as registers of
complex moments of experience. This exhibition possibly allows a glimpse into the variable,
semi-visible processes of human thought.

Irit Rogoff said that “ curiosity implies a certain unsettling, a notion outside the realm of the
known - of things not quite yet understood or articulated...the hidden or the unthought,” which
is followed then by the optimism of finding out something you had not known or been able to
conceive of before.

Virtually all the work in the show tends towards the quiet and modest, the ruminations of the
mind at some stage before an object is made or a conclusion has been drawn, the necessary
exploration, searching and grasping towards an often undefined and indefinable end point, or
perhaps exploration and examination with no end point in mind at all.

The show brings together a variety of works, written, drawn and digital forms of note-taking –
sketchbooks, notebooks, diagrams, the archetypal note on the back of an envelope, digital
code, mobile phone photos, sketch models, sound recording, short films and marginalia from
writers’ manuscripts. It will include some powerful and interesting work from the NUI Galway
archives, such as mediator Brendan Duddy’s notebook, Kevin Doyle’s handwritten ‘Document
on Civil Disobedience” sketches from Jack B Yeats and items from the John Huston archive.

Further information
Exhibition -
Robin Jones -
Contact -

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Vote for the Hardiman Building in Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards 2013

Here at the Hardiman Library we are delighted to learn that our new extension comprising the home for Archives and Special Collections at NUI Galway, has been nominated in the Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards for 2013, in the category "Engineering Project of the Year."

Having opened this past August, the new extension to the Hardiman Building includes facilities that meet international best-practice in the storage, access and exhibition of archives, including climate-controlled strongrooms, a 36-seat reading-room, digital archives access area, dedicated archives and special collections training and teaching rooms as well as the allowing for the fit-out of a major new exhibition space. The upper levels of the building will accommodate dedicated study areas for researchers and graduates within the Humanities, providing a connectivity for research and creating a hub for scholarship at the Hardiman Building.

The Hardiman building is also the only Archives building project to have been nominated. All votes and support are greatly appreciated in ensuring the presence and profile of Archives is kept high on a national level as well as focusing continued investment in Archives as being essential.

To vote for the Hardiman Building (formally known as the Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences Research Building), please click the following link:

Temporary Disruption to Service

Special Collections Reading Room

Advance Warning
In order to accommodate the fitting of new furniture in the Reading Room it will be necessary to close the room from 14.00 on Wednesday 27 November. A  limited service will be offered in the room to the right of the Reading Room on both Thursday 28 and Friday 29 November. It is expected that full service will resume in the Reading Room on Monday 2 December

Seirbhís Srianta

Béidh orainn an seomra léitheoireachta seo a dhunadh Dé Chéadaoin, 27 Samhain ag 14.00 chun troscán nua a fheisiú. Béidh seirbhís srianta le fail sa  seomra  béal dorais ar 28 agus 29 Samhain. Tá súil againn go mbéidh seirbhís iomlán ar siúl arís Dé Luan, 2 Nollaig

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Little Tour Around Ireland . . . in 1859

A Little Tour in Ireland
 A wonderful volume from our Special Collections here at the Hardiman Library, is A Little tour in Ireland by 'An Oxonian'. The author in question was an Oxford student but was later identified as being Samuel Reynolds Hole, Dean Of Rochester. This edition goes some way to removing the mystery of the author as at some point in history, someone added the manuscript name of the author, 'S.R. Hole', as you can see in the title page image. The illustrations which add a hugely visual element to the scenes depicted and the people encountered on the journey are by John Leech, a renowned artist and caricaturist, well known in London society of the early to mid 1800s.

'The Letters of Samuel Reynolds Hole, Dean of Rochester, edited with a memoir' by George A.B. Dewar, published in 1907 in London is a great source for biographical information on Hole and also Leech and provides additional context for the journey in Ireland and the book that was to follow. In a chronology of the life of Samuel Hole, printed in these collected letters, (1907, London) it is noted that his first book was A Little tour in Ireland, published in 1858. This is at odds slightly with this edition at the Hardiman Library (and most other editions) which is dated as being a 1959 first edition. 

The book points out how "Leech and Hole were great friends. At Leech's suggestion they travelled together in Ireland, and the result was "A Little Tour of Ireland", which Hole wrote and which was illustrated by what Ruskin called "the kind and vivid genius of John Leech.".

The travel route was mapped out by John Deane, one of the members of the Royal Commission at the time of the famine and this would include Dublin, Galway, Connemara, the scenary of the Shannon from from Athlone to Limerick, Kilarney, Glengarriff and Cork. Individual legs of the journey which feature the West of Ireland include, 'From Dublin to Galway', 'From Galway to Oughterarde', 'Connemara', Clifden', Leenane', Kylemore' and then further throughout Ireland.
Dean Samuel Hole

The level of detail in description in each stop along the journey is fascinating to read. Describing the Claddagh, Hole writes; "The Englishman who desires a new sensation should pay a visit to the Claddagh. When we arrived, the men were out to sea; but the women, in their bright red petticoats, descending half-way down the uncovered leg, their cloaks worn like the Spanish Mantilla, and of divers colours, their headkerchiefs and hoods, were grouped among the old grey ruins where the fish market is held, and formed a tableau not to be forgotten. though their garments are torn, and patched, and discoloured, there is a graceful dignity about them which might teach a lesson to Parisian milliners; and to my fancy the most becoming dress in all the world is that of a peasant girl of Connamara." (p38-39)

Hole commented on wanting to travel at his leisure on this jaunt around Ireland: "We had ample time thoroughly to enjoy that which we saw, not acting on the principle of that Cockney tourist . . . who boasted that he had 'knocked off thirteen churches that morning', but going leisurely like large butterflies from flower to flower. . . You cannot hurry in Ireland, there is something in the humid atmosphere and in the habits and demeanour of the people which ignores haste." (p11)

Commentary on the Great Famine in the Galway region makes for grim reading. Upon finishing a "Mighty dinner at Galway", accompanied with Drogheda ale, Hole and Leech are Hole are reminded by their witer of the hardship of Famine Ireland. "That's right good gintlemen, niver forget when ye've had yer males, to thank the Lord as sends them.May ye niver know what it is to crave food and may ye niver see what I have seen here in the town o' Galway. . . .I've gone out of a morning gintlemen, (his lip quiverd as he spake) 'and seen them lying dead in the square, with the green grass in their mouths." (p46) 

Of particular interest to readers here in the West will be the fantastic fold-out colour drawing of a crowded scene of the Claddagh here in Galway, by John Leech. It stretches to cover a triple-page entry included adjacent to the title page of the book, both pictured here. It is noteworthy to see the emphasis both Leech and Hole placed on thier time in the West and in the Claddagh of Galway that they would choose to include this image so prominently within the book. 

The Claddagh, Galway (click to enlaerge)

'A Fair at Leenane"

As an early travel guide around Ireland, highlighting places, landmarks, communities, people and the landscape around Ireland, hardly ten years after the Famine, it makes the book all the more incredible a read. To read this book brings to mind a pharse used by Hole to describe his trip through 'Connamara': 

It has been, indeed, a privilege and refreshment to wander amid these glorious scenes."

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Horror at the Lyric - Dracula on the Belfast Stage

The clocks going back, the evenings getting darker earlier and winter approaching are sure signs that Halloween is near. With television and cinema listings brimming with the latest horror movie or classic black and white (and perhaps not so scary) films of the past. It seems theatre audiences were no different in liking a good scare.

Programme cover of the Lyric production of "The
Death of Dracula"
 The archive of the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, shows a production of the Death of Dracula, a version of Bram Stoker's classic gothic novel , Dracula, by Canadian/English playwright (with the suitably spooky surname) Warren Graves. Staged at the Lyric as part of their spring Season in May 1980, the production was a European premiere of the play.

The programme note for the play, written by John Boyd, names Graves as being a founding member of Playwrights Canada and had a special interest in Irish drama, notably, Yeats, O'Casey and Brendan Behan. The play was directed at the Lyric by Tony Dinner and featured John Cunningham as Count Dracula, J.J. Murphy as Professor Van Helsing and Stella McCusker as Lucy Murray.

Graves was born in London, England 5 February 1933 and died in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada in February 2008. Graves moved with his wife and two children to Calgary, Alberta in 1964, and then to Edmonton where he worked as an assistant clerk at the Alberta Legislature. He became a prominent theatre artist and administrator with Walterdale Playhouse before quitting his government job to become a self-employed writer in 1974. 

In a previous interview with the Canadian Adaptations of Shakespeare Project in 2004 when asked about the task of adaption for a playwright entailed, Graves answered:

"Tell a thumping good story that appeals to the common man, make sure it has a beginning, middle and an end, and get the bums on the seats. Respect language as gold and not copper coin to be tossed on the counter.
In my other adaptations, my job has been to make theatrically possible a story that exists in a different medium. I suppose my position about adapting a theatrical work that already exists as a theatrical work would be ––"Why bother?" Why not take the theme and storyline and use them to write an original work? I recall the story of a distinguished Hollywood writer producing an excellent script about a cattle drive for John Wayne and gurgling with delight because nobody recognized that it was an 'adaptation' of Mutiny on the Bounty."
Page of script from Graves' "The Death of Dracula"

The play is an interesting adaptation of an often told and re-told story and offers an archival record of this story of the dark Count once more. The full script of Graves' the Death of Dracula is available as part of the Lyric Theatre Archive, T4/257.

Cast and creative listing for "The Death of Dracula"

For more from the Lyric archive, see catalogue in full here.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

G.A.A. - From Founding Father to International Tournament: Hurling in the West

All-Ireland Final season in both codes is in full swing at the moment and while our neighbours in the West, Mayo and Clare await to face off against Dublin and Cork in their respective finals, another celebration of G.A.A. will be taking place right here in Galway. 

Aer Lingus is inviting teams from all over the world to compete in the first ever International Hurling Festival. The best hurlers from the USA, South America, Canada, the UK, Continental Europe, the Middle East and Australia will descend on Galway for a three-day festival of ceol, craic and culture, as well as the first hurling competition of its kind. The tournament will feature sixteen International teams competing in four groups of four, with the eventual winners crowned in Galway’s legendary Pearse Stadium. In support of The Gathering, Aer Lingus want to bring hurling fans from all over the world home to celebrate our national game in what promises to be one of the most unique and exciting sporting events of 2013. Teams will be hosted in Loughrea, Gort, Ballinasloe and Galway West. Qualifying games will take place on Thursday 19th and Friday 20th September with the final taking place in Pearse Stadium on Saturday the 21st of September. 

Here at the Hardiman Library, we proudly hold a wonderful collection of material relating to Michael Cusack. The Michael Cusack collection is the unique personal collection of the founder of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), generally acknowledged to be the greatest amateur sporting organisation in the world. The GAA, which remains a dominant force in Ireland's cultural and sporting life, was founded in 1884 as a highly influential element of the Irish cultural renaissance of the late nineteenth century and of Ireland's struggle to re-establish its own political, linguistic and cultural identity. Among the most important historical items in the collection are the complete minutes of the Dublin Hurling Club, from 1883. Cusack was Vice-President of the club, a predecessor to the national organisation founded the following year. In addition, there is a diary kept by Cusack on a visit to his native Clare in 1902 and a range of personal, biographical and photographic material on Cusack's family. 

Also of interest is a photograph (below) of the young Michael Cusack, pictured as part of the Trinity College rugby team at the Phoenix rugby club, with Cusack seated second from left. Aside from its value for researchers into the cultural forces at work in that seminal period, and in particular the events leading up to the foundation of the GAA, the collection is unique in constituting the only known surviving material in Cusack's own hand and also in affording an unparalleled insight into the resilient personality of Cusack, the private family man, and his vibrant and gentle wit. 

You can view a digital showcase of the Michael Cusack archive in an online exhibition here

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Culture Night 2013 at the Hardiman Library

We are delighted to announce our special event as part of Culture Night Galway 2013. The Archives and Special Collections Service of the Hardiman Library, NUI Galway have been showcasing some of our collections and treasures on Culture Night on past years and this year we are delighted to be hosting Staging Ireland:  Irish Culture at Home and Abroad - from An Tóstal to the Gathering

An Tóstal, first staged in 1953, was a showcase for Irishness, Irish culture and identity. Its events were steeped in spiritual, mythological and national symbolism. It was initiated as a means of attracting visitors and the Irish diaspora to Ireland during the Easter period, as well as giving a platform to Irish culture in a new fledgling Republic.

Author, Felicity Hayes-McCoy is the special guest speaker for this Culture Night event, and has been writing specifically on The Gathering and on Irish culture at home and abroad. Felicity is the daughter of Professor Gerard Anthony Hayes-McCoy, former Chair of History at NUI Galway and an advisor and script-writer for the Tóstals of the 1950's. As part of this Culture Night event, there will be a special showcase of digitised archival material from the Hayes-McCoy archive, which is held at the James Hardiman Library.

John Cox, University Librarian at NUI Galway comments: “We are delighted once again to take the opportunity offered by Culture Night to engage the public with our archives and in particular to host such a distinguished speaker as Felicity Hayes-McCoy. This event will be a unique opportunity to explore the tradition of Irish culture, its imagery, symbolism and connection to the world, as well as the past connection of NUI Galway to this staging of Ireland, through the Hayes-McCoy archive.”

Felicity Hayes-McCoy said: “As a writer with a lifelong interest in mythology and folklore, I am drawn to the imagery, symbolism and ritual invoked in these festivals. And because I come from a background of theatre and broadcast, I am fascinated by the differences and similarities between An Tóstal and The Gathering – not just in terms of the messages they chose to send out, but by the collaborative, and sometimes contentious, process of conceiving and conveying them.”

The event will take place in the new Arts, Humanities and Social Science Research Building, adjacent to the James Hardiman Library, with doors opening at 5.30pm. The event is free but booking is essential.

For further information, contact / or phone 091 493476.

Friday, August 2, 2013

New Facilities opening Tuesday, August 6th.

Tuesday 6th August will be an exciting day on campus when the Archives and Special Collections service of the Hardiman Library will open the doors to the public for the first time to the new research facilities. The Arts Humanities and Social Science Research Building (AHSSRB) will provide a spacious 36-seater reading room that will house a comfortable and engaging research environment as well as state of the art and BS5454 standard compliant environment and storage for our unique collections and library treasures.

All at the Hardiman Library would like to extend a sincere thank you to all our readers and researchers for their patience over the move period which was necessary to allow our collections and service to relocate to its new home on campus. We are delighted and look forward to welcoming all readers to our new home at the heart of campus at NUI Galway.

New Archives and Special Collections Reading Room

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Seomra Léitheoireachta na mBailiúchán Speisialta: fógra tábhachtach/Special Collections Reading Room: Important Notice

Update from Archives and Special Collections at James Hardiman Library

To facilitate the final stage of our service and collections move to our new facilities at the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Research Building (AHSSRB) adjacent to the Hardiman Library, we must close service and access to collections material this week beginning Monday until Tuesday 6 August. 

We are delighted to be offer renewal of service and continued access to collections in the new Reading Room at the Arts Humanities and Social Science Research Building, adjacent to the Hardiman Library. We thank all of you for your co-operation during this summer move period and we at the Hardiman Library are hugely looking forward to welcoming you all to the new state-of-the-art facilities at the AHSSRB, our new home for Archives and Special Collection on campus.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Seomra Léitheoireachta na mBailiúchán Speisialta: fógra tábhachtach/Special Collections Reading Room: Important Notice

A chara,
Go luath aistreofar Bailiúcháin Speisialta agus Cartlanna Leabharlann Shéamais Uí Argadáin chuig Foirgneamh nua Taighde na nDán, na nDaonnachtaí agus na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta (AHSSRB).
D’fhonn réiteach dó seo, beidh sé riachtanach Seomra na mBailiúchán Speisialta a dhúnadh ón 17:00 an 28 Meitheamh 2013 go dtí an 8 Iúil 2013. Aistreofar ábhar uile na mBailiúchán Speisialta chomh maith leis na bailiúcháin Chartlainne chuig áit ar leith san fhoirgneamh nua. Ar chuid de na háiseanna a bheidh ar fáil san fhoirgneamh nua beidh Seomra Léitheoireachta do suas le 36 duine, limistéar taispeántais, limistéir rochtana acmhainní digiteacha, ionad digitithe, agus áiseanna micreascannáin/comhairliúcháin chlosamhairc. Beidh limistéir stórais den scoth, a bheidh rialaithe de réir timpeallachta, ann do na bailiúcháin, chun teacht le caighdeán BS 5454.
Tuigimid go gcuirfidh sé isteach ar roinnt úsáideoirí an seomra seo a bheith dúnta, ach is gá é a dhéanamh d’fhonn an t-aistriú chuig an bhfoirgneamh nua a éascú. Gabhaimid leithscéal as aon mhíchaoithiúlacht a eascraíonn ón obair seo agus gabhaimid buíochas leat as do thuiscint.
Le haghaidh breis eolais, déan teagmháil le:
Niall McSweeney
An Ceannasaí um Fhócas ar Chustaiméirí agus Seirbhísí Taighde,
Leabharlann Shéamais Uí Argadáin, OÉ Gaillimh
Teil: + 353 91 493915

Dear friends,
The new Arts, Humanities Social Sciences Research Building (AHSSRB) will soon become the home for the James Hardiman Library Special Collections and Archives.
To prepare for this major move, it will be necessary to close the existing Special Collections Room at 17:00 on June 28th 2013 until 8th July 2013. All Special Collections material and Archive collections will be moved over to a purpose-built area in the AHSSRB. Some of the facilities available in the new building will include a Reading Room that can seat up to 36 people, an exciting exhibition area, digital resource access areas, a digitisation centre, and microfilm/audio-visual consultation facilities. There will be state-of-the-art, environmentally controlled, storage areas for the collections, meeting the BS 5454 standard.
We are aware that the closure may impact heavily on some users, but the closure is necessary in order to facilitate the move to the new building. We apologise for any disruption caused and thank you for your understanding.
For any further information, please contact:
Niall McSweeney
Head of Customer Focus and Research Services,
James Hardiman Library, Nui Galway
Tel: + 353 91 493915

Friday, June 7, 2013

Announcement of the temporary closure of the Archives Collections at the James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway

The Archives collections of the James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway will temporarily be unavailable from Monday the 10th of June until the latter half of July.  This is to facilitate the move of our collections and service to a brand new, purpose built building.  We would like to sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this may cause, and will communicate further updates as and when they arise. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Looking forward to and back at the Galway Arts Festival

The annual celebration of all things creative and cultural, the Galway Arts Festival, has unveiled its program for 2013, which along with the sun shining high (as of time of writing!) is really marking the beginning of Summer here in the West.

The archive of the Galway Arts Festival, covering 33 boxes of archive material and over 200 posters, is deposited with the Archives and Special Collections Service of the James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway. It is a record of the beginings, growth and evolution of the festival, it's events, memories, people and stories.

Galwa Arts Festival Poster 1991
The Galway Arts Festival was first staged in 1978. It was the culmination of the efforts and ideas that grew out of the University College Galway Arts Society. Ollie Jennings became auditor of this society, taking over from Garry Hynes, who became one of the founders of Druid Theatre Company. Under the direction of Ollie Jennings, this group, which included Paraic Breathnach, Marie Mullen and others, went on to become the Galway Arts Society. This new group set out to become a voice for the Arts in Galway and strove to find a permanent home for a dedicated Arts Centre in Galway City. Further to this was the aim of setting up an annual Arts Festival for Galway City. The first Galway Arts Festival was staged from the 6th to the 12th April 1978. It was described by Dickie Byrne in the Galway Advertiser as 'Galway Arts Society's Week of Craic'.

The central venue was one of John Murray's converted antique rooms between Raftery's Store and the old Genoa (Nora Barnacle's) The line-up at this original Galway Arts Festival included readings by John McGahern, Paul Muldoon and John Hewitt, the opening of film by Bob Quinn entitled Poitin, instillations from visual artist James Coleman and puppet theatre from Jay Murphy and Brian Bourke. Following the success of this first Galway Arts Festival, it was expanded in 1979 and received an increased grant from the Arts Council. An additional Festival space was also opened up for use at the old Pro-Cathedral.

The Galway Arts Festival is today one of the most diverse and successful arts festivals anywhere in the world and is a highlight on the Irish Arts calendar. Over the coming months and in the lead up to the Festival we will bring you some highlights, memories and great images from great festivals past and recent.

The above image, being the GAF official poster image for 1991 is just one great image and we hope to bring you many more!

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Papers of the Language Freedom Movement

We are happy to announce the recent cataloguing of the papers of the Language Freedom Movement, which are now available to researchers here at the archives and special collections service of the James Hardiman Library!  The collection provides a thoroughly alternative view of the modern history of the Irish language, and offers another unique snapshot into an exciting decade of social change in Ireland.
This collection of papers spans the activities of the Language Freedom Movement from soon after its inception in 1966, until 1974 when its activities drew to a close.  A civil liberties advocacy group who campaigned for a change in state policy on the Irish language, the movement weighed in on a language debate that had been gaining momentum since 1961, from Fine Gael’s general election campaign in which they called for an end to the policy of compulsory Irish in state examinations, to the 1965 government White Paper on 'The Restoration of the Irish Language'. 
The LFM objected to the compulsory element of Irish language education, and they believed the large amount of time devoted to teaching it affected the future prospects of children by drawing attention away from other subjects.  
Poster advertising public meeting of the LFM, September 1966
The debate raged on amid the backdrop of the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Rising, quickly becoming one of the most emotive issues of the decade.  Impassioned exchanges took place at public meetings, at debates, and in the press, while more heated correspondence was exchanged behind closed doors.  Public meetings held by the LFM often descended into total chaos, with one notorious incident at the Mansion House in 1966 when a group of opponents turned up at the meeting, a stink bomb was let off, and a fight broke out.  Union Jacks were waved derisively at the stage.  The event took up many column inches in the days and weeks that followed.  

The momentum was sustained by vigorous opponents in the field.  Christopher Morris, the President of the LFM took on critics with zeal, which sometimes yielded to frustration over the frequent misinterpretation of the movement’s intentions, commonly held to have been out to destroy the Irish language.  Counted among its ranks were the playwright John B Keane, and the writer Séamus Ó’Grianna.  On the opposing side of the debate, Dónall Ó’Móráin of Gael-Linn and Proinsias Mac Aonghusa, both of whom feature prominently in this collection, resolutely defended the validity of language revival and its methods.  Other noteworthy participants in the debate include Proinsias Mac an Bheatha and Pádraig Ó’Mathúna, whose collections are also among those held by the James Hardiman Library Archives.  
The collection consists of files of press releases, speeches, correspondence, ephemera, and drafts for publications, and covers topics including the education system, political agendas, language disputes elsewhere in Wales and Belgium, RTÉ, as well as more philosophical issues such as civil liberties and nationalism. 
It is available for viewing, and for further information, including accessing the finding aid, please phone 091-493353, or email 

LFM campaign seeking language policy reform at the 1967-1968 by-elections.


Theatre Archive Doc of the Month - 'A Whistle in the Dark'

The theatre archive document of the month for May is to coincide with the return and nationwide tour of Druid Theatre's DruidMurphy series. This 2013 season run showcases some of Tom Murphy's greatest literary and dramatic works, Conversations on a Home Coming and A Whistle in the Dark. Druid's relationship with Tom Murphy, dating back to when he was Writer-in-Association with Druid in the 1980s has allowed for the creation of an examining of Irishness, the Irish family and Irish history and society so visceral that enthrals audiences at home and abroad still to this day.

This document is a cast photograph from the 1987 production of A Whistle in the Dark, which was produced at the Jesuit Hall in Salthill and directed by Garry Hynes. This play's history is well worth noting as it received its premiere at the Theatre Royal Stratford East in London in 1961 having previously been rejected by the Abbey Theatre. In the photograph are: (l to r standing) Peter Gowan, Maeliosa Stafford, Johnny Murphy, Mick Lally, Corinne Ransom. (Front row, L to R) Sean McGinley, Godfrey Quigley, David Herlihy.

The Druid Theatre archive at the James Hardiman Library contains further records on the history of this classic murphy play. Interestingly, cast member Maeliosa Stafford (2nd from left, standing) is currently playing the role of 'Dada' in the current Druid Theatre production of A Whistle in the Dark. Further records relating to this play in the Druid archive include:

T2/152 Scope and Content: A Whistle in the Dark - Written by Tom Murphy and directed by Garry Hynes. Performed at Jesuit Hall, Salthill, Galway. File contains printed playbill featuring biographical essay on Tom Murphy, details of cast and production crew members, article entitled "Drama and Metaphor" by Christopher Murray. 3 copies. Printed black and white flyer and invitation to the opening night performance of the play. 12 items. Assorted photocopy of press cuttings of reviews and coverage of the play taken from various Irish newspapers and press. 60pp Date: 13-25 Jul 1987 Extent: 142 pp

 T2/153 Scope and Content: A Whistle in the Dark - Black and white photographs featuring cast members in costume and on set during rehearsal of A Whistle in the Dark. Contact sheets feature 11-12 images each. 2 items Also includes black and white images of Druid theatre members posing as a group outside Druid Theatre. Those pictured include Sean McGinley, Maeliosa Stafford, Mick Lally, Godfrey Quigley and others. Quigley is seated in these three pictures. Items measure 203mm X 254mm. Date: Jul 1987 Extent: 5 items

T2/154 Scope and Content: A Whistle in the Dark - Photocopy of typed script of A Whistle in the Dark, written by Tom Murphy.  Date: Jul 1987 Extent: 1 item

The Druid Archive catalogue can be viewed in full here.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

John McGahern Summer School coming soon

Leitrim Co. Council, in partnership with National University of Ireland Galway, have announced that the seventh International Seminar will take place in Co. Leitrim during 23rd – 25th May 2013 to commemorate the work and literary achievements of John McGahern, one of Ireland’s best known and respected modern writers.
McGahern in the U.S.A. c. 1966 from the Patrick Gregory-McGahern Collection

Contributors to the International Seminar will include eminent writers, critics and academics as well as local writers. The keynote address ‘Handrails to the Past: McGahern and the Memory of the Irish Revolution’, will be delivered by Professor Roy Foster. As well as appealing to all lovers of McGahern’s own work, the International Seminar will be of interest to literary researchers and to book clubs, to readers of contemporary fiction and modern writing, and to all national and international students of Irish literature and culture.

The James Hardiman Library is proud to hold the McGahern Archive amongst its holdings. Fully catalogued and available for consultation by readers, (see catalogue list here) the McGahern archive is an incredible insight into
1963 Letter to James Rigney
the literary mind and the writing processes of McGahern as is represented by vast amounts of research notes and drafts of his greatest published and also unpublished fiction works in novel, short fiction, essays and drama. The personal and professional relationships that shaped the work and life of McGahern is explored through the series of correspondence and letters in the archive.
The library also holds a number of related collections including correspondence between John McGahern and his fried Niall Walsh (a medical doctor from Balinasloe) and a collection of correspondence between John McGahern and his American editor Patrick Gregory (This later collection is currently being catalogued).  We also occasionally receive individual items from members of the public.  For example we recently received this letter from the daughter of James Rigney one John McGahern’s lecturers in St. Patrick’s teacher training College in Drumcondra. 

Fergus Fahey, Institutional Repository & Digitisation Librarian at the James Hardiman Library, who catalogued the McGahern archive, will give a talk at the Summer School entitled The John McGahern Archive at NUI Galway. His talk will give a general overview of what’s involved in cataloging a literary archival collection and describe the experience of cataloging the John McGahern collection in particular.  The drafts and other material relating to John McGahern’s 1979 novel The Pornographer will be looked at in detail.  As well as drafts of the published novel the archive includes drafts of some unpublished short fiction which was incorporated into the novel and also several drafts of a film script for an adaptation of the novel which was never produced.  The Pornographer was particularly well received in France and at one point it seems there was a plan for a French director to direct the film adaption.

John McGahern appearing on French Television

The annual summer school is a must for McGahern scholars and the full programme and further details is available here.

To see more of the archive holdings of the James Hardiman Library, view our digital online guide.