Identity Statement for Liam S. Gógan

  • Reference code: IE UCDA LA27
  • Title: Papers of Liam S. Gogán (1891-1979)
  • Dates: 1870–1979
  • Level of description: Fonds
  • Extent: 44 boxes
  • Context
  • Content and Structure
  • Conditions of Access and Use

Biographical history

GÓGAN, Liam Seosamh 18911979, Irish-language poet, was born 24 October 1891 at 391 North Circular Road, Dublin, son of William J. Gogan, sweet merchant and IRB member, and Ellen Gogan née Hendrick. He was educated in O’Connell’s CBS, Richmond Street, and UCD, graduating 1913 with first-class honours in Celtic Studies. He concentrated on Old Irish and was only the second student in the college’s history to read it as a main subject. He received his MA in 1925 for work done on architectural terminology. His thesis was published in sections in MisneachThe Waterford News and An Glór under the title ‘Foclóir Ardshaoirse’.

He was elected to the provisional committee of the Irish Volunteers in 1913, and appointed assistant secretary for pay; he resigned this position 1915 after taking part in a failed attempt to secure arms in the USA. In 1914 he was employed as assistant keeper of antiquities in the National Museum. He was interned for three months in Frongoch, Wales, after the 1916 Rising and was suspended from his post on release because of his refusal to take the oath of allegiance. He then worked as a teacher in Tipperary for two years and as a sweet merchant in one of his father’s shops in Dublin. He also studied medicine for a year in UCD before finally returning to his job in the museum 1922. He became keeper of the art and industrial division in 1936, and stayed in this post until his retirement 1956. He was competent in French, German, Italian and Spanish and spent time travelling to various museums throughout Europe. A keen lexicographer, he gave vital assistance to Patrick Dinneen in revising his Irish-English dictionary during 1923-7.

In 1953 he was requested by the Irish Texts Society to prepare a supplement to the dictionary. He duly collected 50,000 entries but the work was never published due to financial constraints. He was strongly against allowing foreign loan words into the Irish language, believing instead that Old Irish should be used as a source.

He was best known for his poems ‘Na Coisithe’ and ‘Liobharn Stáit’, which became classics through their inclusion on school courses. His poetry first appeared in the shortlived Irish Nation, which he co-founded in 1916. His published works included Nua-dhánta 1919,Dánta agus Duanóga 1929 which won the Aonach Tailtean gold medal, Dánta an Lae Indiu 1936, Dánta Eile 1946, Dánta agus Duanta1952, and Duanaire a Sé 1966. He was also author of several publications on antiquarian and literary topics, including The Ardagh Chalice 1932 and an unpublished study of European poets. His interest in Irish language drama was reflected in his involvement in the committee of An Comhar Drámaíochta on its foundation in 1923. He wrote a play for the organisation, ‘An Saoghal Eile’, which was staged on 16 February 1925. He also translated a drama by Maurice Maeterlinck under the title ‘Dallán’. Gógan died in Dublin on 4 December 1979 and was buried in Mount Jerome cemetery.

He married first 1919 Máire Nic Fhirbhisigh d.1940 of Cork; they had six children. In 1955 he married Nóra Marie Ní Aodha, daughter of Dr Michael O’Hea of St Vincent’s Hospital.

Inniu, 25 Jun. 1971; Ir. Times, 5, 12 Dec. 1979;
Fidelma Ní Ghallchobhair, ‘File Idirthréimhseach’,
Comhar, Mar. 1987, 20-23; Beathaisnéis, ii, 40-41

© Eoghan Ó Raghallaigh and Lesa Ní Mhunghaile from the forthcoming Dictionary of Irish Biography, eds James Maguire and James Quinn.

Archival History

This collection was deposited in UCD Archives by Nora O'Hea Gogán in four accessions; 1982, 1992, 1995 and 2004.

Scope and Content

Personal: correspondence and photographs relating to family members, particularly his first wife, Máire Gógan née Forbes, 190089. Correspondence and photographs of friends and acquaintances, 191079. Files of correspondence arising from his involvement in religious groups such as the Knights of St Columbanus, Terenure Parish Council, and the League of Prayer for the Canonization of Blessed Oliver Plunkett, 192565.

Politics: correspondence, drafts of articles, and transcripts of lectures concerning his involvement in the Irish revolution including his membership of the Irish Volunteers, his unsuccessful gun-running expedition to the US, his dismissal from the National Museum following the Easter Rebellion, his internment in Frongoch and his subsequent withdrawal from political activity, 191276.

National Museum of Ireland: correspondence relating to his dismissal from the National Museum, his reinstatement, his secretaryship of the Victimised Civil Servants Association, disputes over promotions and grading within the Museum, disputes with the Royal Irish Academy, applications for posts outside the National Museum and his retirement, 191656. Correspondence and newspaper cuttings relating to his period of employment in the Irish Antiquities division of the National Museum, 192634. Correspondence, diaries and newspaper cuttings relating to his period of employment in the Art and Industrial Division of the National Museum, 193464. Correspondence relating to the establishment of regional museums, particularly a Dublin Municipal Museum, 192864. Drafts of articles, transcripts of lectures and broadcasts relating to his work in the National Museum, 193469.

Archaeology: articles, pamphlets, texts of lectures, and correspondence relating to national developments in Irish archaeology, 192033. Correspondence, articles and photographs relating to the Harvard Archaeological Expedition to Ireland, 193234. Drafts of articles and transcripts of lectures relating to the study of prehistoric Ireland, 192860. Correspondence, newspaper cuttings, sketches, maps, articles and photographs relating to archaeological finds in Leinster, Munster, Connacht and Ulster, 189876. Correspondence, pamphlets, articles, transcripts of lectures, and photographs relating to the study and discovery of common archaeological features and artefacts in Ireland, 18701957. Correspondence, photographs and articles relating to the study of specialist areas of Irish archaeology, such as peatland archaeology, ecclesiastical archaeology and human palaeontology, 18991950. Drafts of articles, newspaper cuttings, photographs, sketches and correspondence relating to aspects of international archaeology, 190578. Correspondence, articles, transcripts of lectures, notes, newspaper cuttings, sketches, drawings, maps, and photographs relating generally to his archaeological research and excavations, 18941971.

Poetry: correspondence relating to the publication of six volumes of poetry, 191879. Newspaper cuttings and other printed matter relating to publication of his poetry in serial publications, 191263. Newspaper cuttings, correspondence, articles and notes relating to the translation of his own poetry into English and other poets’ works from their native languages into Irish, 192077. Typescript and holograph drafts of poetry, 191865. Correspondence, newspaper cuttings, drafts of articles, and lecture transcripts relating to his poetry and Irish poetry generally, 192873.

Lexicography: correspondence, notes, and drafts relating to the compilation, submission, rejection, resubmission, and attempted publication of his MA thesis, Foclóir na hÁrdshaoirse agus a Cóimhchéard, 188852. Correspondence, drafts, notes, articles and lists relating to the compilation and publication of Foclóir Gaedhilge-Béarla comp. P.S. Dinneen, 1927, 190776. Correspondence relating to the disputed supplement to the Dineen dictionary prepared by Gógan for the Irish Texts Society, 193574. Correspondence relating to the life and death of P. S. Dinneen, 192958. Correspondence and articles relating to general lexicographical matters, 193676.

Irish language revival: correspondence, minutes, and articles relating to Conradh na Gaeilge, An Cumann Gaedhealach, An Comhar Drámaíochta and other Irish language organisations, 191670. Correspondence, articles, and newspaper cuttings relating to the revival and ‘re-gaelicisation’ of Ireland, English-Irish translations, Roman and Gaelic typography, and Irish placenames, 192079.

Celtic Studies: correspondence between Gógan and Julius Pokorny, 193549. Correspondence, reports, and newspaper cuttings relating to the International Celtic Congress, 193456. Pamphlets, articles, and correspondence relating to the study of Q-Celtic, 190576. Articles, transcripts of lectures, printed matter, notebooks and correspondence relating to the subject of Celtic mythology, 191878.

Christian studies: correspondence, minutes, reports, articles, and newspaper cuttings concerning the administration of the Academy of Christian Art, 192857. Correspondence, articles and photographs relating to the publication of Gógan’s The Ardagh Chalice, 1932. Drafts of articles, printed matter, photographs and correspondence relating to diverse aspects of Christian art, 192772. Draft articles, notes, correspondence, newspaper cuttings and other printed matter relating to the life of St Patrick, 191878.

Folklore: correspondence, minutes and articles relating to membership of An Cumann le Béaloideas Éireann and An Cumann Seanchais, 192740. Articles, newspaper cuttings, notes and correspondence relating to the study of Irish folklore, 193069.

The arts and literature: articles and correspondence relating to the state of Irish universities and academies, 192078. Correspondence, invitations, programmes and reports relating to membership of literary societies and associations such as The Dublin Writers’ Club, Catholic Writers’ Association, and Cumann na Scríbhneoirí, 192772. Correspondence with Douglas Hyde, Agnes Farrelly and others on academic matters, 191665. Correspondence, articles, and transcripts of lectures relating to modern Irish art, 192677. Artworks from The Art Journal, Dun Emer, Cuala Press, Harry Kernoff and Heinz [Berber], 188440. Correspondence and newspaper cuttings relating to the development of Irish film and theatre, 193053.

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