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Reference code: IE UCDA P48b, P48c
Title:Papers of Terence MacSwiney (1879–1920)
Dates: 1895–1962
Level of description: Fonds
Extent: 13 boxes
Biographical History  

Born in Cork and educated at North Monastery Christian Brothers’ School and the Royal University of Ireland, MacSwiney was a founder member of the Cork Celtic Literary Society in 1901 and, with Daniel Corkery, of the Cork Dramatic Society in 1908, for which he wrote several plays. A principal figure in the formation of the Irish Volunteers in Cork in 1913, he was employed as a full-time organiser from 1915 and elected to the First Dáil as member for Mid-Cork.

After the murder of Tomás MacCurtain in March 1920, MacSwiney was elected Lord Mayor of Cork. Arrested under the Defence of the Realm Act in August 1920 and sentenced to two years imprisonment, he embarked on a hunger strike in Brixton Jail and died on 24 October. A book of essays, Principles of Freedom, was published posthumously in New York in 1921.

Scope and Content 

Papers primarily of Terence MacSwiney but relating to a proposed book by Etienne Beuque and a published biography by Moirin Chavasse, Terence MacSwiney (1961).

Material relating to the Volunteers (1914–20) including correspondence, notes, circular and printed matter; to Sinn Féin (1909–20) including correspondence with P.S. O’Hegarty, handbills and pamphlets; to Dáil Éireann (1919–20) including correspondence, notes, accounts and printed matter; to his period as Lord Mayor of Cork (1920) including correspondence, speeches and notebooks; and to his hunger-strike and death in Brixton Prison (1920) including some letters from MacSwiney, press releases, obituaries and newspaper cuttings. Photographs, poems and tributes to MacSwiney after his death and notebooks and diaries written by members of his family (1920–1). Correspondence and accounts of the Terence MacSwiney Memorial Fund (1921–35).

Family correspondence (1895–1920) and letters from Terence to his wife, Muriel, while in prison (1916–18). Correspondence and notebooks concerning his work at the Cork Municipal School of Commerce (1910–15). Correspondence relating to the publication of his poetry and copies of plays and poems (1902–20).

Etienne Beuque: correspondence with Dorothy Macardle, Annie and Mary MacSwiney, Florrie O’Donoghue and C.J. Harrington (1920–39). Notes and copies of MacSwiney’s diary.

Moirin Chavasse: correspondence with Michael Browne, Bishop of Galway, Major Wallace Dickie, Florrie O’Donoghue, Daniel Corkery, Dorothy Macardle, C.J. Harrington, J.J. O’Kelly, and P.S. O’Hegarty (1950–9). Notes and statements by his contemporaries.

Copies of his papers used by the biographers including typescript extracts from his diary (1916) and copies of correspondence between him and P.S. O’Hegarty (1904–8).

Access:Available by appointment to holders of a UCDA  reader's ticket.
Finding aid:Descriptive catalogue
Related collections 

Terence MacSwiney Papers in the National Library of Ireland, MSS 35029–35035.

Publication note

COSTELLO, Francis J. Enduring the Most: The Life and Death of Terence MacSwiney. (Brandon: 1995)


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