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Frank McGuinness Papers

Frank McGuinness -
photo by Ameila Stein

UCD Special Collections holds the papers of Frank McGuinness.

Find out more about the Frank McGuinness archives From Creativity to Legacy exhibition here.

Identity Statement

Reference code IE/ UCD/SC/MCG

Frank McGuinness Papers.


Level of Description

42 boxes.


Frank McGuinness (1953-).

Biographical History

  • Frank McGuinness was born in Buncrana, Co. Donegal.
  • He studied English and medieval studies at UCD and taught at the University of Ulster, UCD and NUI Maynooth.
  • His first play, The Factory Girls, was produced in 1982 at the Peacock Theatre.
  • This was followed by many critically acclaimed dramas including:
    • Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme (1985)
    • Innocence (1986)
    • Carthaginians (1988)
    • Mary and Lizzie (1989)
    • The Bread Man (1990)
    • Someone Who'll Watch Over Me (1992)
    • The Bird Sanctuary (1994)
    • Mutabilitie (1997)
    • Dolly West's Kitchen (1999)
    • Gates of Gold (2002)
    • Speaking Like Magpies (2005)
    • There Came a Gypsy Riding (2007).
  • McGuinness has adapted the works of Ibsen, García Lorca, Chekhov, Brecht, Ostrovsky, Euripides, and Sophocles.
  • His play Observe the sons of Ulster marching towards the Somme won the Evening Standard Award for most promising playwright.
  • His version of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House won a Tony Award in 1997.
  • He has also produced an impressive body of work for TV and film including the screenplay for the film Dancing at Lughnasa, adapted from Brian Friel’s stage play.
  • His first collection of poetry, Booterstown, was published in 1994, followed by The Sea With No Ships (1999), The Stone Jug (2003) and Dulse (2007).
  • McGuinness is currently Professor of English and Writer-in-Residence at UCD School of English, Drama and Film.

Source of Acquisition
On deposit from author.

Scope and Content

Drafts and fragments of stage plays including:

  • Carthaginians
  • The Man with the Flower in his Mouth
  • Hedda Gabler
  • Flesh and Blood
  • The Bird Sanctuary
  • The Stonger
  • Dracula
  • More Sinned Against than Sinning
  • Ladybag
  • The Caucasian Chalk Circle
  • Friends
  • Electra
  • The Bread Man
  • Miss Julie
  • Borderlands
  • Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme
  • Donegal
  • Feed the Money and Keep Them Coming
  • Mary and Lizzie
  • Judge and Gentleman
  • Rosmersholm
  • Child of Prague
  • God (first play)
  • The Factory Girls
  • Baglady
  • The Pilgrims of Mecca (libretto)
  • The Storm
  • Life of its Own
  • Peer Gynt
  • The Hen House
  • Ivory
  • Brides of Ladybag
  • Gyrfalcon
  • And Lead Thou Me On
  • Hecuba
  • The All of It
  • The Sunday Father
  • The Lady from the Sea
  • Cyrano
  • Gates of Gold
  • Romantics
  • The Right Article
  • Phaedra
  • Visions of Anna
  • Oedipus
  • There Came a Gypsy Riding
  • The Dead
  • Summer With Garbo
  • Yerma
  • The Judas Sessions
  • Italy 
  • The Barbaric Comedies
  • Dolly West’s Kitchen
  • The Beautiful Lie
  • Mutabilitie
  • Innocence
  • Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me

Drafts and fragments of screenplays including:

  • Dancing at Lughnasa
  • Bartholomew’s Girlfriend
  • Ar and Tra
  • Titanic Town 
  • The All of It
  • Rebellion
  • Scout
  • The Factory Girls
  • Lullaby
  • A Short Story in Switzerland
  • 1916
  • The Hen House

Drafts and fragments of poetry including:

  • Booterstown
  • Poems 2005–2006
  • The Sea With No Ships
  • Poems 2007
  • The Stone Jug
  • My Lady With Feet Bounden
  • Dulse
  • The Corn Crake
  • Early Poems
  • Dolphin Poems
  • Poems
  • Five Fingered Strand
  • Poems 2003
  • Zeke
  • Poems 2004
  • Rosa O’Doherty
Access and Use

Photocopying or digital photographing of this material is not permitted.


Finding Aid
Partial descriptive list; requires revision.

More Information

Find books in the collection:

Frank McGuinness reading his poem "Morehampton Road". For more poetry readings please see the Irish Poetry Reading Archive on our (opens in a new window)Special Collections YouTube channel.

In the (opens in a new window)UCD Faces of Research series, Frank McGuinness discusses the process of research and the hard work that goes into playwrighting.

UCD Special Collections

James Joyce Library, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 7149 | E: special.collections@ucd.ie