Primary sources provide a range of voices that help bring the past to life. Unique in nature, these materials can greatly enrich and add depth to any research assignment. The archives at the Glucksman Library contain sources relevant to a broad range of research topics and below you will find some of the subject strengths of the collections. If your particular area of interest is not listed, do come and talk to us as we may be able to point you towards relevant sources.
For a full list of our archives, click here.
Family and estate papers often feature architectural records, such as sketches, drawings, plans, and elevations, which document elements of the built environment including churches, schools, hospitals, railway stations, farm buildings, mills, and public and private houses.
Photographs and picture postcard collections also present valuable sources for tracing developments in architectural styles through time.
The records of business and agriculture can present fascinating sources for research within many disciplines. Financial records such as accounts and wage ledgers are essential sources for economic and business histories, while correspondence, meeting minutes, letter books, and other administrative records can support social, political, cultural and local studies.
Allott Papers (dairy farm records)
Lilburn Papers (accountancy firm records)
Records of the Limerick Protestant Young Men’s Association
O’Mara Papers (Irish Bacon Factory records)
Special Collections houses a number of estate and family papers which originate largely from locations within Munster, particularly Counties Limerick and Tipperary. The collections often bridge several generations and reveal a wealth of documentary sources providing strong entry points for research into land ownership and family history, such as title deeds, rentals, sales, leases, wills and other testamentary documents.
Allott Papers (Allot, Odell, Morony, Lloyd)
Armstrong Papers (Armstrong, Maude, Kemmis)
Barry Papers (Barry, Lyons, Roche Kelly, Russell, Shine, Sullivan, Synan)
De Laval/ Wills Papers
Dunraven Papers (Wyndham Quin)
Gabbett Papers (various)
Glin Papers (Fitzgerald)
Looney Papers (St Leger, O’Callaghan)
The archives present many sources for the study of political developments and social movements in twentieth century Ireland.
Barry Papers (1893 Home Rule Bill)
Frances Condell Papers (Mayor of Limerick)
Simon Dalby Papers (1970s anti-nuclear campaign)
Tiede Herrema Papers (1974 IRA hostage crisis)
Jim Kemmy Papers (Labour politician)
O’Mara Papers (Irish Republican politician and Mayor of Limerick)
Shannon Development (photographic record of the Shannon region)
Spring Rice Papers (General Elections 1820, 1830 and 1832)
For those interested in the study of rebellion in Ireland, the papers of the Daly family of Limerick provide a fascinating account from a staunch Republican perspective. The West Clare Brigade Papers provide biographical accounts of Irish Volunteers and civilians linked to the Brigade who died during the War of Independence and Civil War, while the East Limerick Brigade Papers contain a vast array of material relating to the activities of that Brigade during the War of Independence.
Daly Papers (1916-1921)
East Limerick Brigade Papers (1921-1922)
Michael Healy Papers (1921-1924)
McGowan Papers (1922-1923)
Mulcahy Papers (1950s) not yet listed
O’Mara Papers (1916-1959)
Moss Twomey Papers (1923-1925)
West Clare Brigade Papers (1918-1921)
Our private literary papers present immense scope for research into the personalities and creative processes of several notable Irish novelists, poets, and playwrights. The collections provide unique pathways to understanding the writers and their literary output, as well as presenting rich sources for the wider study of twentieth-century Ireland.
Michael Curtin Papers (novelist)
Gerard Gallivan Papers (playwright)
Seán Lysaght Papers (poet)
Edward P. McGrath Papers (relates to James Joyce’s Dubliners)
Tom Nestor (short stories and radio plays)
Kate O’Brien Papers (novelist)
O’Mara Papers (contains material relating to Kate O’Brien and poet Austin Clarke)
J. M. O’Neill Papers (playwright and novelist)
Maurice Walsh Papers (novelist)
Also note our Yeats book collection which you can learn more about on the Rare Books page
A valuable source for the study of the First World War, the Armstrong Papers contain the letters and diaries of Captain William Maurice (‘Pat’) Armstrong (1889-1917), providing first-hand accounts of events as they unfolded in the various theatres of war. The O'Carrol Papers document the lengthy military career of William Parker Carrol (1776-1842), including his many engagements in the Peninsular War (1807-1814), while the Robert Stradling Papers focus on documentation from Irish Brigadiers of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), as well as related administrative documentation and media coverage in Ireland and abroad.
For Irish military history, see under Irish Rebellion
Primary sources are generally accessed through a finding aid, essentially a detailed listing or catalogue of the materials in a particular collection. Finding aids provide information on the contents, organisation and research value of a collection, but rarely list every single item. This means that you need to identify where particular items of interest to you might be located. You can then request that specific file or folder as identified in the finding aid.