Identity Statement for Mary MacSwiney

  • Reference code: IE UCDA P48a
  • Title: Papers of Mary MacSwiney (1872–1942)
  • Dates: 1872–1964
  • Level of description: Fonds
  • Extent: 11 boxes
  • Context
  • Content and Structure
  • Conditions of Access and Use

Biographical History

Born in London on 27 March 1872, she returned to Ireland with her family when six years old and was educated locally in Cork. She worked briefly at private schools in England and France before studying for the University Teaching Diploma at Cambridge and working at Hillside Convent, Farnborough and the Benedictine Convent, Ventnor. On the death of her mother she assumed responsibility for the maintenance of the family and took a post at St Angela’s Ursuline High School of which she was a past pupil and where she remained until dismissed in 1916 for her republican symapthies.

She was a founder member of Cumann na mBan in Cork and was National Vice-President of the organisation for many years. After her dismissal from her teaching post in 1916, she and her sister Annie founded Scoil Íte, modelled on St Enda's School, and she remained involved with the school for the rest of her life. She represented the Cork constituency in Dail Éireann after the death of her brother Terence on hunger strike, and gave evidence in Washington before the American Commission on conditions in Ireland. Virulently anti-Treaty, she was interned and went on hunger strike twice. She remained true to her ideals, broke with de Valera and Fianna Fáil over entry to Dáil Éireann, and continued to promote the republican position.

Archival History

This collection, P48a, is part of a larger collection of papers deposited in UCD Archives by Mr and Mrs Ruarai Brugha in November 1979. Mrs Brugha was Terence MacSwiney's only child. The collection has been divided into three parts. P48a consists of the papers of Mary MacSwiney, P48b of the papers of her brother Terence MacSwiney, while P48c include the working papers and correspondence of Terence MacSwiney's biographers, Etienette Beuque and Moirin Chevasse.

Scope and Content

Cumann na mBan (1916–26): correspondence concerning the organisation and activities of the movement; reports, notices and pamphlets.

Sinn Féin (1917–43): correspondence concerning the organisation and activities of the party including meetings of the Standing Committee, annual conventions, elections and policy-making; reports, printed and published material.

Relations with the United States (1919–39): correspondence with the American Association for the Recognition of the Irish Republic and other Irish-American organisations and groups concerning support for the Republic. Material concerning Mary MacSwiney’s two tours of the U.S. in 1921 and 1925. Correspondence with a wide range of individuals concerning developments in Ireland including Harry Boland, Stephen O’Mara, Eamon de Valera and Sean T. O’Ceallaigh.

Dáil Éireann (1921–42): correspondence concerning meetings and policy on matters such as the appointment of Crown representatives in Ireland, Irish liability for war pensions, and the status of the Irish Free State. Circular material, reports and decrees.

The church and republicanism (1914–40): correspondence with members and representatives of the Roman Catholic hierarchy and with Papal Nuncios concerning the excommunication of members of the Irish Republican Army and the church’s refusal to administer the sacraments to them. Related statements, articles and pamphlets.

Minutes, proceedings and reports of The World Congress of the Irish Race, Paris (1922).

Letterbooks and files of copy letters to the editors of Irish and American newspapers on political issues; copies of articles and speeches (1920–40).

Personal material relating to her early life, education and teaching career (1872–1916) and to the foundation and management of St Ita’s School (1916–41). Correspondence and notes of a biographical nature (1942–64).

Photographs (1920–42).

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