The archive of Ireland’s oldest Irish language organisation has been catalogued and launched by NUI Galway.
Conradh na Gaeilge’s archive extends back over a century and documents a history of campaigning and promotion of the use of the Irish language in everyday life.
The archive offers incredible insight into the history of Conradh and includes over 600 boxes of material and more than 600,000 different pages of material.
President of NUI Galway Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh welcomed the archive’s announcement as a great new resource for the University community.
“Our University is committed to the Irish language through our Stratéis don Ghaeilge. We are here for the public good and to sustain the communities which we serve.
“Now that the archive has been catalogued, it will be widely available for use as a significant resource for teaching and research,” he concluded.
The archive will be open for researchers through the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room in the NUI Galway Library.
Conradh’s extensive history from its founding in 1893 up until the archive was deposited at the University in 2018 is documented.
A highlight of the newly opened archive features messages from Republican prisoners smuggled out of the Maze Prison in 1980 alongside correspondence between Conradh na Gaeilge and Her Majesty’s Prison Service discussing a ban at the time on visitation through Irish.
The archive also includes cheques to and endorsed by Patrick Pearse and Terence MacSwiney as well as letters from renowned writers Brendan Behan and Seán O’Casey concerning the printing of their works in Irish.
“This collection is a very valuable resource for researchers because it illustrates Conradh na Gaeilge’s pioneering work in various areas, for instance the campaigns for radio and television services, all-Irish schools, a democratic Gaeltacht authority, the status of Irish in the EU and language rights on both sides of the border,” said Associate Professor of Irish at NUI Galway Dr John Walsh.
Dr Walsh played a significant role in the University becoming custodians of the archive.
The collection was catalogued by archivist Niamh Ní Charra and offers a unique look at 125 years of the history of the Irish language through Conradh’s extensive work during the period.
Conradh na Gaeilge’s President Dr Niall Comer said it was the right decision to entrust NUI Galway with the collection.
“The professionalism and dedication of the staff show that we made the correct decision to locate our valuable archive in NUI Galway and I would also like to thank the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media for their continued funding and support for this project.”
Conradh Na Gaeilge’s collection joins a total of almost 400 unique archives managed by the University’s library.