Identity Statement for Terence MacSwiney

  • Reference code: IE UCDA P48b, P48c
  • Title: Papers of Terence MacSwiney (1879–1920)
  • Dates: 1895–1962
  • Level of description: Fonds
  • Extent: 13 boxes
  • Context
  • Content and Structure
  • Conditions of Access and Use
  • Allied Materials

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.

Archival History

This collection, P48b, 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's only child. The collection has been divided into three parts. P48a consists of the papers of Mary MacSwiney, P48b of the papers of Terence MacSwiney, while P48c include the working papers and correspondence of Terence MacSwiney's biographers, Etienette Beuque and Moirin Chevasse.

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 UCD Archives reader's ticket. Produced for consultation in original format. Original material will be retrieved at 11am and 2pm only. 
  • Language: English
  • Finding aid: Descriptive catalogue

Additional collections of Terence MacSwiney can be found 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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