Roibárd Langford Papers

Repository: Cork City and County Archives

Identity Statement

TitleRoibárd Langford Papers
Archive ReferenceIE CCCA/U156
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates(1898) 1914-1973
Extent Medium45 items


Creator(s): Langford, Riobárd (1896-1978) soldier, republican

  • Administrative History ↴

    Langford was born in 1896 in Cork City and lived at Ashburton, near Mayfield, Cork and later at South Terrace, Cork. His family was originally from Cobh. His father was Charles Lankford, who worked as a printer in the Cork Examiner newspaper. Member of Conradh na Gaeilge (Gaelic League). Served apprenticeship in Cork Examiner, in about 1910. His printing business started in 1913 with the purchase of St. Joseph's Press, Stable Lane, off South Terrace, Cork, later known as the Lee Press or Cló na Laoi. Married 1st wife nee Fennell who died giving birth to their 3rd child. Had 20 children with his 2nd wife, Catherine O'Callaghan, of Blarney Street. Riobárd’s grandfather was possibly a Protestant minister. Brother in law to Siobhán Langford, IRA, North Cork, who was married to his brother Seamus. Lieutenant, C Company, 1st Battalion, Cork No. 1 Brigade during 1916, including armed duty at Sheares Street and guarding of Commandant Tomás MacCurtain and Vice-Commandant Terence MacSwiney. May have lost his job at the Cork Examiner due to his Volunteer activities. Possibly interned at some stage during the period 1916-1917. Member of F Company Dublin Brigade c.1917-1918, then returning to Cork where he helped to train C Company and oversee the capture of 47 rifles from the officers training corps building at Cork Grammar School. From 1919, Captain of A Company, 1st Battalion Cork No.1 Brigade, IRA. Later, he secured and operated the IRA’s printing press. Involved in numerous military operations until his arrest in May 1921 when he was interned in Spike Island and later Bere Island. On ‘special service’ from July 1921 with the IRA’s mobile printing press. Took the anti-treaty side in the Civil War, continuing in charge of the republican printing operations in Cork, later including the mobile field printing press which operated until the final defeat of the irregular/anti-treaty forces. His business printing press was dismantled by the government when he continued to print anti-treaty material following the end of the Civil War. Possibly a co-founder of the Fianna Fáil party in Cork city. May have been offered a job as superintendent in the Garda Siochana, which he refused. Died in 1978 aged 82.
  • Archival History ↴

    Collection reference U.156, the Papers of Riobárd Langford, (Riobárd O’Longpuirt) were acquired from Langford by the Archives in the mid 1970s. An additional item, (Ref. U156/45) which is now added to the collection, was separately donated to the Archives also at about this time.
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴


Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Langford, Riobárd (1896-1978) soldier, republican ↴

    Personal archive of Riobárd Lankford.

    Section A comprises material directly relating to Langford’s Irish Volunteer/IRA activities in the 1914-1923 period.

    Section A.1 of the arrangement contains 2 items relating to the foundation of the Irish Volunteers, including an account of the inaugural meeting of the Volunteers in Cork in Dec. 1913, which indicates Langford’s early involvement in the organisation (U156/2).

    Section A.2 contains a summary account of Langford’s active service, divided into 9 periods, during 1916-1923 (U156/3). Significantly, this account includes new information and covers a longer period than that found in Langford’s witness statement to the Military History Bureau in 1947.

    The collection contains a copy of Langford’s Military History Bureau witness statement to which he has added some short handwritten notes and comments which do not appear in the Bureau version (Section A.6) (U156/18).

    Section A.3 contains a small number of items relating to 1916 in Cork and the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of 1916 in 1966, demonstrating Langford’s ongoing interest, and sometimes fractious relationship with, the various 1916 or Volunteer commemorative associations and committees (U156/6). The issue of whether Cork volunteers were eligible for 1916 medals was a matter in which Seamus Fitzgerald became involved, writing a letter to Taoiseach Sean Lemass (U156/7).

    A small number of items relating to the killing of Col. Smyth, divisional commander, RIC, in April 1920 by the IRA, are found in A.4 of the arrangement, including Langford’s correspondence concerning the matter with the Irish Press. (U156/10)

    Section A.5 mainly consists of items relating to some of Langford’s comrades in the irregular or anti-Treaty IRA such as a copy of the inquest into the shooting of Captain Timothy Kenefick (U156/13) and copies of the last letters of Richard Barrett (Dick Barrett) before his execution by the State (U156/14, 16).

    Section B of the arrangement contains 7 items relating to the issue of Military Service Pensions for IRA volunteers including a letter concerning Langford’s application under the Military Service Pensions Act 1934. (U156/20)

    Various writings, mainly in Langford’s hand, are found in Section C of the arrangement such as notes on the 1914-1923 period (U156/28) and such as, a TS. of an essay or lecture, mainly in Irish, about the history of Ireland (U156/35); and such as, the text of a speech made in 1969 by Langford at Ahiohill, near Bandon in West Cork, in memory of Dick Barrett, Rory O’Connor, Liam Mellowes and Joseph McKelvey, who were executed in retaliation for the murder of Sean Hales TD.

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    Section D contains some newsclippings relating mainly nationalist issues, plus an 8 page printed pamphlet ‘Teachers of the Men of 1916’ (U156/39).

    Relating to Langford’s later business as a printer, Lee Press, is a single item only, concerning the wholesale price of paper (U156/44).

    Section F of the arrangement contains an additional item, a letter from Langford to the Secretary of the Old IRA Memorial Committee in 1948 concerning the suggestion of slanderous comments by Langford in another letter he wrote to the Secretary in which he raised objections to the way the Committee operated (U156/45).

    The collection, while relatively modest in size, is of interest to the study of Irish nationalism and republicanism and more particularly the Irish Volunteers and Irish Republican Army for the 1914 – 1923 period, especially for the Cork area. The collection documents Langfords activities as an officer in the Irish Volunteers and the IRA from 1914/1916, during the War of Independence, and also in the irregular/anti-treaty forces during the Civil War. Some prominent nationalist and republican figures are mentioned in the collection. Also of interest to the study of the agencies concerned with the commemoration of 1916, and its 50th anniversary in particular, and also concerning the provision of military pensions for former IRA men from 1934.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴

    A: Irish Volunteers and Irish Republican Army 1914–1923 (1947)
    (1) Establishment of the Irish Volunteers in Cork, 1914 (2 items)
    (2) Accounts of Active Service, 1916–1923 (1 item, 19pp)
    (3) 1916 in Cork and 50th Commemoration of, 1916-1966 (5 items)
    (4) Killing of Colonel Smyth R.I.C., 1920, 1957 (4 items)
    (5) War of Independence, 1921 and Civil War, 1922–1923 (5 items)
    (6) Military History Bureau, 1947 (2 items)
    B: Military Service Pensions, 1935-1973 (8 items)
    C: Speeches and Writings, 1898-1969 (10 items)
    D: Newsclippings and Publications, 1899-c1966 (6 items)
    E: Printing Business, 1968 (1 item)
    F: Additional Material, 1948 (1 item)

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions Open by appointment to those holding a current readers ticket.
Creation Dates(1898) 1914-1973
Extent Medium45 items
Material Language ScriptEnglish and Irish
Finding Aids Descriptive list Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

Related MaterialU169 Siobhan Lankford collection.Military Archives, Dublin: Military History Bureau, Witness Statement No.16, by Riobárd Langford

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteBrian McGee
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000.
Date of Descriptions2010