Thomas MacDonagh Collection

Repository: UCC Library Archives Service

Identity Statement

TitleThomas MacDonagh Collection
Archive ReferenceIE BL/P/TMD
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates1903-1915
Extent Medium27 items


Creator(s): Gaelic League activist Padraig MacSuibhne of Fermoy, Co. Cork

  • Administrative History ↴

    Thomas MacDonagh (1878–1916), teacher, writer, and republican revolutionary, was born 1 February 1878 in Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary. As one of the leaders of the failed 1916 Easter Rising he was convicted, sentenced to death, and shot by firing squad in Kilmainham gaol on 3 May 1916, with Pádraig Pearse and Thomas Clarke, the first three of the insurrection leaders to face execution.
  • Archival History ↴

    This material was deposited in the Boole Library in February 2002 by Dr. Denis Wilson, a cousin of Fr. Thomas Wilson to whom MacSuibhne had given the collection.
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴


Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Gaelic League activist Padraig MacSuibhne of Fermoy, Co. Cork ↴

    BL/P/TMD consists mainly of tss copies of letters written by the Irish patriot Thomas MacDonagh (1878-1916) to his fellow teacher and Gaelic League activist Padraig MacSuibhne of Fermoy, Co. Cork. Included also is a mss copy titled the “Last and Inspiring Address of Thomas MacDonagh”, allegedly as delivered by him in response to the sentence of death imposed by military court martial. However this does not appear to form part of the official court martial record preserved in The National Archives at Kew no. WO/71/346. Preserved here also is a tss ‘The Life and Times of Dr. Creagh, Bishop of Cork and Cloyne (1580 –1603)’, authorship unknown.

    This collection is divided into two sections. The first contains the letters from MacDonagh to MacSuibhne, the second contains MacDonagh’s final address to his court marital and the tss Life of Bishop Creagh.
    The letters deal mainly with MacDonagh’s activities within the Gaelic League and his career as an educationalist. There are few references to his politics, but his nationalist sympathises are detectable. No replies from MacSuibhne are extant.
    The early letters in particular give a vivid insight into the local organisation of the Gaelic League and some of the ongoing power plays both on a local and a national level. Throughout his career as a teacher he is reliant on the influence of MacSuibhne and other sympathetic colleagues to help secure positions both for himself and other activists. MacDonagh’s letters reflect the system of patronage in operation at that time regarding government appointments.
    In a number of letters (BL/P/TMD/12 ff) he mentions his work at St. Enda’s the school found by Padraig Pearse, declaring at one point “ we are now at last succeeding beyound our hopes in our objects, in turning out Irish speaking nationalists” (BL/P/TMD/23). He frequently refers to his own literary works, his poem, plays and books. He valued MacSuibhne’s opinion and often asks for his thoughts on literary matters. In one of the last letter preserved in this series he describes his happiness at the birth of his son Donnchadh and the career he feels is ahead of him within the Irish University sector (BL/P/TMD/24).

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴

    1 Letters from Thomas MacDonagh to Padraig MacSuibhne
    2 Ancillary Material

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions Available by appointment with the Archives Service to holders of UCC Readers tickets.
Conditions Governing ReproductionBy application to the archivist.
Creation Dates1903-1915
Extent Medium27 items
Material Language ScriptIrish/English
Finding Aids Descriptive list Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

There are no Allied Materials

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteCarol Quinn
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000.
Date of Descriptions37288