Identity Statement for RTÉ Radio Talk Scripts in English

  • Reference code: IE UCDA P259
  • Title: RTÉ Radio Talk Scripts in English
  • Dates: 1935–83
  • Level of description:
  • Extent: 45 boxes
  • Context
  • Content and Structure
  • Conditions of Access and Use
  • Allied Material

Institutional History

Irish broadcasting began on 1 January 1926, with a first transmission from the newly-founded public broadcaster, the ‘Irish Free State Broadcasting Service’, popularly called 2RN. Arising from a report by the Special Committee on Wireless Broadcasting in March 1924, a decision was taken to establish a State service managed by the Department of Posts and Telegraphs, and a Wireless Telegraphy Act was passed in November 1926. With the installation of a high-power transmitter in Athlone, the Dublin and Cork stations became known as ‘Radio Athlone’ from 1932 onwards. This was restyled to ‘Radio Éireann’ in 1937. After the addition of Teilifís Éireann in 1961, the combined services were renamed ‘Radió Teilifís Éireann’ in 1966 (Broadcasting Authority Amendment Act), and finally ‘Raidió Teilifís Éireann’ in 2009 (Broadcasting Act).

The Talks Office was established in 1939, with Roibeard Ó Faracháin as its first head. He was responsible for talks both in English and Irish. The output in the Irish language for Radio Éireann in general peaked during the 1950s, at circa 8%. This office was renamed ‘Talks and Features’ in 1945, and ‘General Features Office’ in 1947. In that year, Ó Faracháin became Controller of Programmes, and Francis MacManus replaced him as General Features Officer until 1965.

Complemented by the Scriptwriters’ Office—from 1953 under the headship of Philip Rooney—and aided by personnel of the Outside Broadcasting Office who operated the recording van from 1947, the General Features Office produced talks and features. Features were an amorphous genre including short plays, interviews, documentaries, and often included sound material recorded around the country. Some further material in this collection seems to derive from the Children’s Department, and from the Music Department.

The General Features Office invited and commissioned a large proportion of their talks from writers external to RTÉ and scripts from over 270 various authors are extant. Around half of the material stems from full-time scriptwriters employed by Radio Éireann/RTÉ, and a large proportion of these comes from Proinsias Ó Conluain, an RTÉ scriptwriter 1947–83, who gave some of his private research notes to RTÉ.

Archival History

The radio talks and features gathered by RTÉ Archives were split according to language some time in the 1990s. Researchers are advised to consult the Irish language talk scripts in conjunction with this collection. 

The three collections of RTÉ Radio Scripts, Irish-language Talk Scripts (P259), English-language Talk Scripts (P260), and the Radio Drama and Variety Scripts (P261) were transferred from RTÉ custody to UCD Archives in July 2011 to facilitate a programme of archival re-packing, cataloguing and surrogating.

Scope and Content

Literary scripts: short stories and other prose works adapted for radio broadcasting.

Educational scripts: talks on topics such as Irish history and folklore, some ostensibly for children or 'young people'

Reminiscences and memoirs edited for broadcasting: by writers and public figures such as Maud Gonne McBride, Elizabeth Corr, Pádraic Fallon, Brian Friel, Cahir Healy, and Edward Pakenham 6th Earl of Longford. 

Radio series and magazines: scripts for the series ‘Irish Political Thinkers’, ‘Islands of Munster’, ‘Literary Reminiscences’, ‘Pros and Cons’, ‘Wednesday Magazine’, ‘Wednesday Night’, and ‘Woman’s Magazine’.

Correspondence concerning radio talks and features: with contributors such as Hubert Butler, Daniel Corkery, Brian Friel, Mary Lavin, Shevawn Lynam, Conor Cruise O’Brien, Lennox Robinson, Francis Stuart, and the RTÉ scriptwriters Philip Rooney, Norris Davidson, P.P. Maguire, and Proinsias Ó Conluain.

Collected research material for programmes: memoranda, notes, and correspondence, towards radio features or series of radio programmes, compiled by their editors.

Authors (include writers and essayists; folklorists; and employees of Radio Éireann/RTÉ, both occasional writers and full-time scriptwriters):

Gregory Allen, 

Ruth Baker, Leland Bardwell, Sylvia Beech, Piaras Béaslaí, Samuel Beckett, Thomas Beecham, Alan A. Bestic, David A. Binchy, E.R. Bonner, Gerard Bourke, Brian Boydell, Pat Brady, Séamus Brady, Risteárd Breathnach, Martin Brennan sj, Robert Brennan, Lucy Brent, Arthur C. Brooks, Christy Brown, George Burrows, Hubert Butler, Matthew Byrne, 

Ernest P. O’Hart Camlin, Thomas Carnduff, James Carney, Erskine Childers, Joseph Christie sj, Austin Clarke, Brian Cleeve, Howard Clegg, Sigerson Clifford, Diarmid Coffey, Thomas Collins, John Stewart Collis, Padraic Colum, Patrick Reardon Conner ('Rearden Conner'), Ina Connolly-Heron, William Conway, Patrick J. Corish, Daniel Corkery (Dónal Ó Corcora), Elizabeth Corr (Eilís Ní Chorra), John A. Costello, John Coulter, [?] Cronin, Eric Cross, C.P. Curran, Alice Curtayne, Cyril Cusack, Sidney Gifford Czira (‘John Brennan’), 

Peadar de Burca, John de Courcy, Norris Davidson, Teresa Deevy, Séamus de Faoite, Máire de Paor, Éamon de Valera, Eilís Dillon, Geraldine Dillon, Michael Dillon, Myles Dillon, Dermot Dooley, William Dooley, James Douglas, 

Hilton Edwards, John Eglinton, Laurence Elyan, Gwynfor Evans, 

Kevin Faller, Gabriel Fallon, Padraic Fallon, Brian Farrell, Conor Farrington, W.R. Fearon, Desmond Fennell, Brian Fenton, Desmond Fitzgerald, Christopher Fitzsimon, Thomas Flanagan, Austin Flannery OP, Dick Forbes and Séamus Forde, Maurice Fridberg, Brian Friel, 

Ernest Gébler, Terence White Gervais, Monk Gibbon, Margaret Gibbons, [Denis] Gildea, Donal Giltinan, William Glynne-Jones, Oliver St. John Gogarty, Gerald Y. Goldberg, David Greene, Vincent Grogan, Joseph Groocock, Denis Gwynn, 

David Hammond, James Hanley, Lady Deena Hanson, Captain Henry Harrison, Richard Hayes, Gerard A. Hayes-McCoy, Cahir Healy, Gerald Healy, Thomas Henn, M.N. Hennessy, Michael Herity, F.R. Higgins, Désirée Hirst, Bulmer Hobson, Michael Hogan, Thomas Hogan, David Holman, Leo Holohan, Joseph M. Hone, Pearse Hutchinson, 

Brian Inglis, Denis Ireland, John de Courcy Ireland, Valentin Iremonger, 

Kenneth H. Jackson, Rosamund Jacob, John James Jeffs, Denis Johnston, John Jordan, Michael Judge, 

Patrick Kavanagh, Kevin Keary, 

Eileen Landy, Maura Laverty, Mary Lavin, Thomas Lavin, Edmund Leamy, Mary I. Leslie (‘Temple Lane’), P. Lewis Lonergan, A.A. Luce, Cornelius Lucey, John Lucy, Shevawn Lynam, Patricia Lynch, Stanislaus Lynch, F.S.L. Lyons, 

Tomás Mac Anna, Flann Mac an tSaoir, Dorothy Macardle, Maud Gonne McBride, John McCann, Katherine McCormack, F.J. McCormick, Tom P. McDevitte, Donagh MacDonagh, Donagh [M.] MacDonagh, Patrick MacDonagh, Robert B. McDowell, Lochlinn MacGlynn, Fergal McGrath sj, Thomas McGreevy, Ray McGregor-Hostie, Micheál Mac Liammóir, Bryan McMahon, Seumas MacManus, Hugo McNeill, Liam Mac Reachtain, Seán Mac Réamonn, P.P. Maguire, David Marcus, Alec Martin, Augustine Martin, Frederick May, Rutherford Mayne, Denis Meehan, Bill Meek, Michael Mills, Helena Moloney, Robert Monteith, Christopher Moriarty, Henry Lawrence Morrow, Val Mulkerns, Michael Mulvihill, Dora Murphy, Michael B. Murphy , Michael J. Murphy, Seamus Murphy, 

The Nationalist Party of Scotland/Scottish National Congress, Mairéad Ní Ghráda, 

Liam Ó Briain, Conor Cruise O’Brien, Kate O’Brien , Seán T. Ó Ceallaigh, Proinsias Ó Conluain, Frank O'Connor, Kevin O'Connor, Peadar O’Donnell, John O’Donovan, Seán Ó Faoláin, Roibeard Ó Faracháin, Redmond O’Hanlon, P.S. O’Hegarty, Séamus G. O’Kelly, Liam Ó Laoghaire, Sean O’Luing, Seamus Ó Mainnín, John J. O’Meara, Kevin O’Nolan, Alfred O’Rahilly, Cathal O’Shannon, Seán Ó Súilleabháin, 

Edward Arthur Henry Pakenham (6th Earl of Longford), Séamus Pender, Charles Petrie, Andrew Phelan, Michael Phelan, Sean Piondar, Plaid Cymru, Edward J.M.D. Plunkett, Baron of Dunsany (‘Lord Dunsany’), James Plunkett, John Hackett Pollock (‘An Pilibín’), A.J. Potter, Ann Power, Patrick J. Power, Richard Power, Victor Power, Maurice Purcell, 

E.G. Quin, Arthur Quinlan, 

Joseph Raftery, Kenneth Reddin, Thomas Reed, Peter Reynolds, Olivia Robertson, Lennox Robinson, Margaret Robinson, Philip Rooney, Cornelius Ryan, Desmond Ryan, Stephen Rynne, 

Arnold Schrier, Cyril Scott, John Desmond Sheridan, Niall Sheridan , Robert Maire Smyllie, Peter Somerville-Large, Robert Speaight, Walter Starkie, John Stephenson, P.J. Stephenson, Patric Stevenson, Leonard Alfred George Strong, Francis Stuart, Joseph Szövérffy, 

Stith Thompson, Dan Treston, 

Wynford Vaughan-Thomas, Winifred Verschoyle (‘Winifred Letts’), 

Michael Wade, Mervyn Wall, Maurice Walsh, R.J. Walsh, Brian Ward, Richard Weber, Arthur Edward James Went , Thomas Sherlock Wheeler, Jack White, Terence de Vere White, Roderick Wilkinson, T. Desmond Williams, Angus Wilson, Thomas George Wilson, 

Liang-Shin Yang.

Access: Available by appointment to holders of a UCD Archives reader's ticket. Produced for consultation in digital format
Language: English, occasional Irish
Finding aid: Descriptive catalogue

Papers of Ernest Blythe IE UCDA P24