Identity Statement for Ernest Blythe

  • Reference code: IE UCDA P24
  • Title: Papers of Ernest Blythe (1889-1975)
  • Dates: 1914–75
  • Level of description: Fonds
  • Extent: 50 boxes
  • Context
  • Content and Structure
  • Conditions of Access and Use

Biographical History

Born at Magheragall, County Antrim and educated locally, Ernest Blythe worked as a journalist before his enthusiasm for the Irish language took him to the Kerry Gaeltacht where he worked as a farm labourer. A member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and full-time organiser for the Irish Volunteers, he was arrested and imprisoned regularly under the Defence of the Realm Act. A member of the executive of Sinn Féin, he represented Monaghan in the First and Second Dáil and was Minister for Trade and Commerce (April 1919–September 1922, Minister for Local Government in the Provisional Government (August–September 1922), Minister for Finance, Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (1922–32) and Vice-President of the Executive Council (1927–32) of the Irish Free State. He lost his seat in 1933, largely as a result of the unpopularity of his austere financial measures. A Senator until 1936 when he retired from politics, he was Managing Director of the National Theatre Company, 1939–67.

Archival History

This collection was deposited in UCD Archives by Blythe's son, Earnain de Blaghd, in March 1975. 

Scope and Content

Irish Volunteers: agendas for meetings and letters from Bulmer Hobson (1914–15); election leaflets (1918) and letters received by Blythe in Belfast Jail (1918–19).

Minister for Trade and Commerce in the First and Second Dáil; Minister for Local Government and Acting Minister for Home Affairs in the Provisional Government; Minister for Finance, Minister for Posts and Telegraphs and Vice-President of the Executive Council in the Cumann na nGaedheal Governments: reports and proceedings of the First Dáil (1921); reports, proceedings and memoranda of the Second Dáil (1921–2); minutes, correspondence and reports of the Provisional Government (1922); correspondence, reports and memoranda submitted by government departments for meetings of the Executive Council (1922–31).

Correspondence, reports and memoranda of the North Eastern Boundary Bureau (1923–6), League of Nations (1923–8), Constitution (Amendment) Committee (1926), Army Enquiry Committee (1924), Intoxicating Liquor Commission (1925), Comisiún na Gaeltachta (1926), Economic Committee (1928–9). Memoranda for delegates to the Imperial Conference (1926) and Imperial Sub-Conference (1929).

Clondalkin Paper Mills: reports, correspondence and financial statements (1937–43).

Commission for the Restoration of the Irish Language: foundation documents, minutes, reports and memoranda (1958–60).

Local Appointments Commission: material relating to the appointment of district medical officers (1961).

Cumann Na nGaedheal and Fine Gael Parties: material concerning the general organisation and policy of the parties (1923–66). Notes and memoranda on the Army Comrades Association (1933), League of Youth (1933–5), and some general Blueshirt material on economic and social policy (1932–5). Documents concerning the foundation and policies of Atiri na hAiseirghe (1942–3) and the Irish Electoral System Reform Society (1968).

National Theatre Society Ltd (Abbey Theatre): policy memoranda and articles of association (1935–50); reports and correspondence in relation to annual general meetings and extraordinary general meetings of shareholders (1966–71); directors’ reports (1948–51) and auditors’ reports (1937–54); other reports including weekly returns (1961–69) and reports on plays staged outside Ireland; monthly accounts (1951–66); readers’ opinions of plays (1946–74); other material concerning the functions of the Board including applications to Government for increased financial aid (1940–69), buildings and maintenance (1938–49), the new Abbey Theatre buildings (1952–67), players’ and playwrights’ contracts and disputes (1964–70). Printed programmes. Inventory of furnishings and equipment in the Queen’s Theatre (1951).

An Cómhar Drámaióchta: reports of meetings and details of play competitions (1936–62).

Radio Éireann Authority: agendas for meetings, reports and memoranda (1960–5).

Material concerning the Gate Theatre (1931–5); Dublin Film Productions Ltd. (1957); An Cumann Náisiúnta (1930–40); Cumann Gaedhealach na hÉireann (1936) and Cómhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge (1947–56).

Personal correspondence received as a member of the Dáil and Senate (1919–36); research notes and drafts of published writings; newscuttings, scrapbooks and photographs.

  • Access: Available by appointment to holders of a UCD Archives reader's ticket. Produced for consultation in microform.
  • Language: English and Irish.
  • Finding aid: Descriptive catalogue
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