George Victor Du Noyer (1817-1869)

by Fiona Ahern, local historian and writer

Guest Lecture,  Maynooth University Library – National Heritage Week 2017

 du noyer 1

GSI field sheet executed by G.V. Du Noyer showing a view of the Blasket Islands and the Slea Head area of the Dingle Peninsula, Co. Kerry 6″ sheet No. 52    45cm x 30cm (quarter of a 6-inch sheet) (Courtesy Geological Survey Ireland)

The bi-centenary of the birth of George Victor Du Noyer (1817-1869) is a welcome opportunity to draw attention to an artist who was frequently overlooked during his lifetime and relatively unknown since.  His many beautiful watercolours certainly deserve more attention while his vivid sketches from the mid-nineteenth century provide a marvellous insight into Irish rural life in that period.

George Victor Du Noyer came from a Huguenot family who had settled in Dublin towards the end of the eighteenth century.  He received private drawing lessons from a family friend, the renowned George Petrie (1790-1866), painter, archaeologist, antiquary, scholar and sometime President of the Royal Irish Academy. George Victor Du Noyer was neither a formally trained artist nor a trained geologist but managed to earn his living from his drawing skills and his great interest in geology.  He was first employed by the Ordnance Survey as a draughtsman and spent six years (1836-42) illustrating fossils, plants, rocks and anything of interest upturned by the Ordnance Survey team in the course of its work in Co. Derry.

Du Noyer next took up teaching, becoming a drawing-master in the recently established St Columba’s College which at that time was located in Stackallan House on the banks of the Boyne near Navan.  It was the beginning of his huge interest in Co Meath, he was especially intrigued with Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth and the inscribed stones of Loughcrew.  He also received a few commissions to paint some private houses and popular views in the area of Navan.  An early water-colour from this period, View of Dunmoe Castle, hangs in the National Gallery today, its glorious composition and colouring rivalling the paintings of Paul Henry.

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View of Dunmoe Castle 1844 (Courtesy National Gallery of Ireland)

Du Noyer later returned to the Loughcrew area of Co. Meath and carried out a series of watercolours, sketches and rubbings of the Loughcrew Passage Tomb complex in conjunction with Eugene Conwell, one of the first to explore the site.  He subsequently presented a ‘Portfolio of Drawings of Antiquities at Sliabh na Cailighe (Loughcrew)’ to the Royal Irish Academy (1844-46).

In 1847 he combined his interest in fossils with his artistic skills to secure a job in the recently established Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI).  He began work on the new railway line which was being laid down between Dundalk and Castleblayney, meticulously recording anything of geological interest.  In 1849 he was made permanent in the GSI with the title of ‘Assistant Geologist.’  From then on he worked in the field, mapping and recording bedrock and rock formations all over Ireland.  He took a special pride in the field-sheets which he compiled as part of his daily work, enlivening the maps with little sketches and also more complete landscapes, as can be seen in the water-colour, View of the Blasket Islands from Slea Head, exquisitely painted and squeezed into a marine section of the map which did not require geological notes.

As he travelled the length and breadth of Ireland he always carried a tiny sketchbook in which he jotted down observations and made sketches of anything of interest.  He was a keen observer of daily life, taking time to record people’s occupations, their clothing, their houses, their customs and habits. Some 5000 of Du Noyer’s sketches and paintings survive, among them being Scene in the morning at Tomie’s cottage (1855, Courtesy Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland).  This is a quick sketch of the humble everyday task of milking, probably drawn by Du Noyer in a few minutes while he waited for his breakfast to be served.  The scene shows the woman of the house milking the cows inside her cottage. She is fairly well-dressed, with a scarf around her neck, seated on a low wicker seat to protect her clothes.  The well-stocked dresser displays the family’s collection of delft-ware, an indication that this family is moderately well-off.  The room is neat and tidy, the cows placid and used to being milked indoors.  There appears little distinction between the family’s living quarters and the cow byre, however a door on the right indicates that there is a second room, most likely the family’s sleeping quarters.

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Scene in the Morning at Tomie’s Cottage (July 1855) (Courtesy Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland)

Du Noyer was an enthusiastic member of the Kilkenny Archaeological Society (later re-named the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland) and was passionate about the need to preserve Ireland’s antiquities. He was able to combine his love of antiquities with his work, visiting anything of interest in the areas to which he was assigned as a geologist.  He went out of his way to sketch and record for posterity ancient churches, windows, crosses, gravestones and inscribed stones that he came across in his travels.  He presented hundreds of these drawings to the Royal Irish Academy during the course of his career.  He was also a member of the Geological Society and gave many lectures to its members, using illustrations gathered in the course of his work.

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Cherty Limestone, Brown Island, Killarney, Co. Kerry (Courtesy Geological Society of Ireland)

The above illustration could have been a pedestrian sketch of cherty limestone for a lecture to geologists but has been transformed by Du Noyer into a thing of beauty with the inspired addition of the little boating party setting off from the shore, the view of the mainland in the distance and the confident use of colour in the rocks and greenery.

However, Du Noyer received little recognition as a painter during his lifetime as works in water-colour were under-rated and under-valued compared to works in oils.  In all, he exhibited over fifty watercolour paintings in the Royal Hibernian Academy exhibitions.  It is really only in the last decade or so that any references to Du Noyer’s works have been included in books on Irish paintings. In 2015, TV presenter Martha Kearney retraced George Victor Du Noyer’s journeys around Ireland in a mini-series for BBC entitled In the Footsteps of Du Noyer. 

To its credit, Cork’s Crawford Gallery is the first to host a major solo retrospective of Du Noyer’s work.  The exhibition Stones, Slabs and Seascapes: George Du Noyer’s Images of Ireland will run from mid-November 2017 to mid-February 2018.  Featuring over one hundred and fifty watercolours and drawings, this exhibition will be curated by Peter Murray, former Director of the Crawford Art Gallery, in collaboration with Petra Coffey and the Geographical Survey of Ireland and will feature loans of Du Noyer’s drawings and paintings from the collections of the Royal Irish Academy, the National Museum of Ireland, the Royal Society of Antiquaries in Ireland, the Geological Survey of Ireland, and the National Archives.

 

 

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Thomas Ashe (1885-1917)

thomas Ashe
Thomas Ashe

Post by Olive Morrin, Special Collections & Archives

The hundred anniversary of Thomas Ashe’s death occurs on the 25th September 2017.  He was an Irish volunteer who participated in the Easter Rising and actually lead the only successful action taken outside of Dublin.  He commanded the 5th battalion of the Irish Volunteers who won a significant victory in Ashbourne, Co. Meath (which is not connected with his name). Special Collections holds a copy of The death of Thomas Ashe: full report of the inquest.

Thomas Ashe was born in the townland of Kinard near Dingle, Co. Kerry where his father Gregory was a farmer. He entered De La Salle Training College, Co. Waterford in 1905 and in 1908 he became principal of Corduff National School in Lusk, Co. Dublin.  Thomas Ashe made a considerable impact in his new post and community surrounding Lusk.  He used his many talents for the betterment of his school and community and was a respected teacher, excellent footballer, hurler and musician with a fine singing voice.  He was also an actor, writer and produced many plays in the public library at Lusk.  As he came from a Gaeltacht area it was natural he should promote the Irish language and he founded branches of the Gaelic League in Skerries and other neighbouring villages and organised many céilí dances.  He founded the award winning Lusk Black Raven Pipe Band and in 1913 he joined the Irish Volunteers.

Recognised as a natural leader he was given command of the Irish Volunteers’ 5th Battalion in 1916.  He was a skilled organiser and when the Rising broke out he moved his detachment along in stages to Ashbourne.  Against the odds and significantly outnumbered his battalion managed to defeat the RIC troops and captured four police barracks and a large amount of guns and ammunition.  This success was mainly due to his adoption of guerrilla tactics which included striking at enemy targets and withdrawing while capturing arms and was in sharp contrast to the style of fighting in Dublin.  This approach probably influenced the Volunteers’ successful strategy in later engagements during the War of Independence

When Ashe received news of the surrender he complied with the order and was arrested, court martialled and sentenced to death. His sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment. While in prison he composed his well know poem “Let me carry your cross for Ireland, Lord”. He was released in June 1917 as part of the general amnesty.  Upon his release he was elected President of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) in place of the executed Pádraig Pearse.  He travelled throughout the country making speeches which resulted in him being rearrested in July for incitement and sedition.  While in Mountjoy Jail along with other fellow prisoners including Austin Stack he demanded Prisoner of War status.  When this was refused he and six other went on hunger strike.  As punishment the authorities took away their beds, bedding and boots. It was later decided to force feed the prisoners and along with other prisoners Ashe was put in a straitjacket and force-fed.  The procedure was administered incorrectly by a trainee doctor and in an already weakened state Ashe collapsed on the third day.  It was later discovered that the feeding tube had entered and pierced his lung and he died two days later in the Mater Hospital of heart and lung failure.  At the inquest following his death the jury condemned the staff at the prison for the “inhuman and dangerous operation performed on the prisoner, and other acts of unfeeling and barbaric conduct”.  There can be no doubt that Ashe must have suffered greatly during these procedures which caused his death at the age of 33.

Thomas Ashe’s funeral on the 30th September further galvanised public support for the IRB and was attended by 30,000 people.  Michael Collins now propelled into the republican leadership gave a short sharp oration in English and Irish.  After the volley of shots he stepped forward and said “Nothing additional remains to be said.  That volley which we have just heard is the only speech which is proper to make above the grave of a dead Fenian”.  As with Pearse’s oration at the funeral of O’Donovan Rossa these words were a forewarning of the coming War of Independence.

Thomas Ashe’s unfortunate death further robbed Ireland of a brave, talented and charismatic leader.

Both Sean O’Casey and local poet and nationalist Teresa Brayton wrote poems about Thomas Ashe after his death, below is the more subdued last verse of Teresa Brayton’s poem:

We buried young Thomas Ashe among the best of our brave,

He was a soldier of Erin, he lies in a soldier’s grave;

His name and his deeds we keep in the scroll of our sacred things

And the cause that he died for yet will sweep o’er the dust of forgotton kings.

 References:

Wikipedia –  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Ashe

Thomas Ashe by Sean O’Casey – PA 1206/16 (Russell Library)

The death of Thomas Ashe: full report of the inquest: published by J.M. Butler, 1917.           SP 1537

Hail to the flag: through the turbulent years: poems by Teresa Brayton. Compiled by Bernadette Gilligan. Published by the Teresa Brayton Heritage Group, 2016.

Photo of Thomas Ashe from Google Images: http://bit.ly/2mPyViu

 

‘Observations on Nature’ Heritage Week in the Russell Library

Post by Saoirse Reynolds, Special Collections & Archives


Heritage-Week-Observing-Maynooth
The Secretary of States’ House at Palmerston
 Published by J. Fisher 1792

 

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Ordnance Survey Map of Kildare

On August 21, 23 & 24 the Russell Library took part in Heritage Week with an exhibition exploring nature through the historical print collections of the Russell Library. Books on gardening, botany, agriculture, husbandry and medicinal plants were on display some of which referred to the local area.

A 6inch Ordnance Survey map of Kildare was on display as well as items from our Special Collections in the John Paul II Library.

One of the most visually interesting and beautiful books which was on display was William Hanbury’s, A complete body of planting and gardening published in London in 1770-71. Hanbury was a Church of England clergyman and horticulturist, was born at Bedworth, Warwickshire in 1725.  He matriculated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford in 1745 and graduated in 1748. The degree of MA was subsequently conferred on him by St Andrews University on 11 November 1769 in recognition of his achievements in planting.

cortusa hanbury
Image of Spotted Cistus, Purple Cortusa and Double Blossomed Cherry
 In ‘A complete body of planting and gardening’ by William Hanbury

 

A Rare Book from the Russell Library which was on display was Scenery of Ireland: illustrated in a series of prints, of select views, castles, and abbeys, in this kingdom by Jonathan Fisher. The book was printed in Dublin in 1792 and has beautiful illustrations of castles and abbeys of Ireland. Fisher was an Irish painter and was born in Dublin in 1740. He is first recorded in 1763 when he was awarded a premium by the Dublin Society for a landscape. He is best known for his fine engravings and aquatints of Irish scenery. He travelled all over Ireland and published views of Killarney in 1770 and 1789. He lived at Great Ship Street, Dublin, from about 1778 until 1805, when he moved to Bishop Street, Dublin, where he died in 1809.

scenery fisher
‘Scenery of Ireland’ by Jonathan Fisher

 

Another beautiful book we had on display from our Special Collections was Ireland’s wild orchids /orchid portraits by Susan Sex with accompanying text by Brendan Sayers. It was printed by Nicholson & Bass in Belfast in 2004 and is a limited edition of 700 signed and numbered copies.

Two volumes of Charles Henry Dessalines d’Orbigny’s Dictionnaire universel d’histoire naturelle were on display also. D’Orbigny was a French botanist and geologist

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Images of colourful butterflies and a rose
in d’Orbigny’s ‘Dictionnaire universel d’histoire naturelle’

specializing in the Tertiary of France. He was the younger brother of French naturalist and South American explorer, Alcide d’Orbigny. At the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, d’Orbigny identified many of the flowering plant species returned to France from his brother’s natural history collecting journeys through South America.

For more information on any of these items please contact us:

Special Collections John Paul II Library

Phone: 01-4747423, e-mail: library.specialcollections@mu.ie

Russell Library

Phone: 01-7083890, e-mail:  library.russell@mu.ie

The Last Writings of Ken Saro-Wiwa Exhibition

Arnold Bernhard Library, Quinnipiac University

October 4, 2016 – May 5, 2017

by Robert A. Young, Public Services Librarian

kswquinnipiac4

Cathal McCauley University Librarian Maynooth University, John L. Lahey, President Quinnipiac University and Robert Joven, University Librarian, Quinnipiac University.

I: Collaboration and Installation

Ken Saro-Wiwa exhibition

During the fall 2016 and spring 2017 academic semesters, the Arnold Bernhard Library  in partnership with Maynooth University Library, Ireland, hosted a traveling exhibition highlighting the last writings of renowned Nigerian writer, social activist, and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Ken Saro-Wiwa. This cooperative project between the two libraries was the result of the five year exchange between Maynooth University and Quinnipiac University  that is promoting cross-institutional collaboration between students, faculty, and staff. The exhibition featured facsimiles of selected letters, poems, and additional artifacts from the Ken Saro-Wiwa archive which has a permanent home  in the Special Collections and Archives Reading Room at Maynooth University Library. The materials in the Saro-Wiwa archive date from 1993 – 1995, the period in which he awaited execution at Nigeria’s Port Harcourt Detention Centre and other locations. The archive was donated to Maynooth by Sister Majella McCarron (OLA)  who was the original recipient of the letters and a collection of poems written by Ken Saro-Wiwa.  McCarron is an Irish missionary nun who supported Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni people in the struggle to protect their homeland.

Silence Would be Treason Last Writings of Ken Saro-Wiwa

The site of the exhibition was the Arnold Bernhard Library Rotunda, located under the building’s central dome on the first floor. Facsimile documents were exhibited in three cases, each having a display area of 36 x 24 inches. Items displayed included letters, poems, and photographs. Four pull-up narrative banners were placed between the cases, and copies of a Mosop  (Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People)  flag and T-shirt were attached to the fronts of two of the cases. Books by and about Saro-Wiwa were displayed on a bookcase located on the opposite side of the rotunda from the main exhibition. One of the volumes on display, Silence Would Be Treason: Last Writings of Ken Saro-Wiwa (CODESRIA, 2013), was coedited by Maynooth Deputy Librarian, Helen Fallon.

Sandy O’Hare, Access Services Librarian at the Arnold Bernhard Library, created a Library Guide for the exhibition, which included links to Maynooth and Quinnipiac resources. A laptop for public access to the resources was setup with the book display.  More recently Maynooth University Library has produced a comprehensive guide to the collection.

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Book display and laptop to complement the exhibition

Robert Young, Public Services Librarian at the Arnold Bernhard Library, wrote a post about the exhibition for the Arnold Bernhard Library Special Collections blog . Young also wrote a press release that was distributed by the university’s Office of Public Affairs to local media, and he was featured in a 30 second Public Affairs video about the exhibition that was posted to the Quinnipiac University Facebook page.

Matthew Flaherty, Outreach and Instruction Librarian at the Arnold Bernhard Library, wrote an article about the exhibition that was the featured story in the December 2016 issue of the Arnold Bernhard Library Newsletter.

The installation of the exhibition coincided with the October 2016 visit to Quinnipiac University of four librarians from the John Paul II Library, Maynooth University:

Cathal McCauley, University Librarian

Hellen Fallon, Deputy University Librarian

Hugh Murphy, Senior Librarian, Collection Management Services

Lorna Dodd, Senior Librarian, Learning Research and Information Services

The exhibition was installed in ABL Rotunda on October 4, 2016, and was followed by an opening reception.

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Hugh Murphy, Maynooth University Library and Robert Young, Arnold Bernhard Library, Quinnipiac University setting up the Ken Saro-Wiwa exhibition

II: The Exhibition and the Quinnipiac University Community

The Last Writing of Ken Saro-Wiwa exhibition was originally scheduled to be on display from October 2016 through February 2017. However, it was eventually decided to display the exhibition for the entire 2017 spring semester.  This allowed more people to view it during the periods of the spring semester when the library had the most visitors. Quinnipiac University schedules many tours for high school students and their families during winter/spring breaks, and students who will be freshmen in the fall spend the first weekend of April on campus during Admitted Students Days. It was noted by library staff that visitors stopped to peruse the exhibit, especially during times that saw the most visitors on campus.

In addition to allowing the exhibition to be seen by the maximum number of visitors by extending the exhibition period, the library took advantage of the additional time by integrating the exhibition into library instruction sessions for two undergraduate courses. The exhibition was also presented to a group of docents-in-training from Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University, who visited the library to learn about the various Irish collections. Robert Young facilitated the class sessions and docent presentation.

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Items on display as part of the Ken Saro-Wiwa exhibition at Quinnipiac University

In February, Young provided students in Professor Christine Kinealy’s Introduction to Irish Studies course with a library session that included touring the library to view primary and secondary materials. Young showed the students items in The Great Hunger Collection, and also pointed out and described the significance of the Saro-Wiwa exhibition.

In March, Robert was asked by the chair of the history department, Professor Jill Fehleison, to provide students in her Historiography and Historical Methods course with a session on primary materials in the library’s several special collection. He showed students items from the Irish collections, university archives, the Albert Schweitzer Collection, as well as the Saro-Wiwa exhibition.

Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University inaugurated a volunteer docent program in early 2017, and by March a core group of ten people had been selected to provide guided tours at the museum. The volunteers attended training sessions, including an April session at the library. The library session provided the docents with information about the library’s various Irish collections, and Young discussed the collaborative relationship between Quinnipiac and Maynooth when the docents were shown the Saro-Wiwa exhibition.

A final note of interest relates to a visitor who viewed the exhibition on Saturday, October 21, 2016. Public Services Librarian Ronda Kolbin was staffing the reference desk that day and she was approached by an undergraduate Quinnipiac student who told her that he appreciated that the library was hosting the exhibition. He mentioned that the exhibition was of particular interest to him because he was related to Ken Saro-Wiwa.

III: Conclusion

 The Arnold Bernhard Library’s hosting of the Last Writings of Ken Saro-Wiwa Exhibition, courtesy of Maynooth University Lbrary, proved to fulfill several of the collaborative objectives that were emphasized in the five year exchange agreement between the two institutions. The library staffs of both Quinnipiac and Maynooth coordinated successfully to mount a travelling exhibition that highlighted not only the last years of Ken Saro-Wiwa, but also the significance of his relationship to Sister Majella McCarron and the unique and important collection of letters, poems, and artifacts that she donated to the Maynooth University Library.

Students and faculty benefitted from the exhibition by it being included in library course sessions that highlighted materials that had significance as examples of Irish history, Nigerian history, and the history of social justice movements. The superb facsimiles of the original documents provided illustrative examples of how archives of primary materials are important to the preservation of the historical record.

The exhibition also met the Arnold Bernhard Library’s commitment to Quinnipiac University’s multicultural strategic plan, IMaGinE (Inclusiveness, Multiculturalism and Globalism in Education).   The emphasis of this plan is to expose the Quinnipiac student body to a greater sense of diversity that will contribute to them graduating as open-minded, global citizens.

This was also the first time that a traveling exhibition from another library had been displayed at Quinnipiac University. The success of this endeavor has contributed, in part, to initiating plans for hosting other traveling displays. For example, in the fall of 2017, the Arnold Bernhard Library will be partnering with Quinnipiac’s Netter Health Sciences Library in hosting an exhibition on loan from the National Library of Medicine in Washington, DC.

And, finally, the library staff at the Arnold Bernhard Library would like to sincerely thank the staff of the Maynooth University Library for allowing the Last Writing of Saro-Wiwa exhibition to be displayed at Quinnipiac. It is hoped that this is just the beginning of fruitful collaborative partnerships between the libraries of Maynooth University and Quinnipiac University.

Apparitions at Fatima: May-October 1917

Post by Olive Morrin, Special Collections & Archives

fatima
From Samhailteacha Fatima

The 13th May  2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the first apparition at Fatima.  On that day Lucia dos Santos aged ten and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto aged 9 and 7 were tending Lucia’s family herd of sheep on the hills outside Fatima when the first of six apparitions of Our Lady appeared to the children.  The apparitions occurred on the 13th of each month except in August when the children were not allowed to go to Cova da Iria where the apparitions occurred.  She appeared instead on the 19th August when they returned. 

 

Lucia recalls what happened that first day. “a beautiful lady clothed in white, more brilliant than the sun, surrounded by a light more intense and clearer than a tumbler of crystal-clear water through which the sun is shining”. The lady spoke to the children and said she would not harm them and that on the thirteenth day of each month she would return for six months in succession.

Word began to spread about the apparitions and by the fifth apparition about 30,000 people accompanied the children to the site.  On the sixth and last apparition on the 13th October a crowd of about 70,000 people accompanied the children in torrential rain.  Lucia had asked for a miracle and during the apparition Lucia asked people to look at the sun.  According to eye witnesses the sun began to turn in different directions and project bands of light in different colours.  It then went back to its original position but then seemed as if it was falling from the sky and the people were terrified. 

Portugal had entered World War I on the Allies side in 1917 and Lucia brother had been called up.  The 1918 flu pandemic or “Spanish flu” ravaged Europe after the war.  Lucia’s father died and five members of the Marto family.  Francisco in 1918 and Jacinta in 1920 from the effects of a combination of flu and tuberculosis.  

Much controversy and speculation has surrounded the Three Secrets of Fatima.  Lucia claimed on July 13th 1917 the Virgin Mary entrusted the children with three secrets.  According to Catholic interpretation the secrets cover Hell, World War 1, World War II and the Pope John Paul II assassination attempt.  Two of the secrets were revealed by Lucia in 1941 at the request of her bishop.  In 1943 she was instructed by her bishop to reveal the third secret which she was reluctant to do until she received an order to put it in writing.  She did so with the proviso that it not be revealed until 1960.  The text of the third secret was eventually publically revealed in 2000 by John Paul II. Cardinal Ratzinger who later became Pope Benedict XVI wrote a commentary at the time “A careful reading of the text of the so-called third ‘secret’ of Fatima……will probably prove disappointing or surprising after all the speculation it has stirred.  No great mystery is revealed; nor is the future unveiled”.

Lucia became a nun and died at the Carmelite convent of Santa Teresa in Coimbra, Portugal on 13th February 2005 aged 97.

The Library holds a number of books relating to the apparitions of Fatima and Special Collections holds four pamphlets and one book relating to what happened at Fatima.  Three of the pamphlets are published by the Catholic Truth Society and the fourth by the Holy Ghost Fathers. The Library has also recently received as part of the Pearse Hutchinson Collection a copy of the Fatima story in Irish called Samhailteacha Fatima by Matias Ó Eidhin. 

References:

The apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima: the story of the apparitions by H.s. Caires. Published by the Catholic Truth Society 1946

Mary warns the world: Fatima by J. Mullins. Published by the Holy Ghost Fathers 1943

Our Lady of Fatima by Francis De Zulueta. Published by the Catholic Truth Society 1935

What happened at Fatima by J.J. Gannon. Published by the Catholic Truth Society 1969

Samhailteacha Fatima by Maitias Ó hEidhin. Published by Oifig Díolta Foillseacháin Rialtais, 1948

 

Le français, une langue de dictionnaires: An exhibition

Post by Barbara McCormack & Saoirse Reynolds, Special Collections and Archives

Le français, une langue de dictionnaires exhibition is taking place in the Russell Library from 1st – 30th of March 2017 the exhibition was curated by Dr Kathleen Shields & Dr Éamon Ó Ciosáin, Maynooth University French Studies and Barbara McCormack, Maynooth University Library. The exhibition supports were designed by Louise Walsworth-Bell, Maynooth University Library.

The exhibition is divided into three themes:

  • Translating and Encoding from French into another language
  • Translating and decoding into French
  • Encyclopedic Dictionaries

THEME 1: TRANSLATING & ENCODING FROM FRENCH INTO ANOTHER LANGUAGE

Francisco Sobrino (fl. 1703-1734)

Dicionario nuevo de las lenguas española y francesa [New dictionary of the Spanish and French languages]

Brussels, 1721.

woodcut a
Figure 1. Woodcut initial letter ‘A’ 

Sobrino’s dictionary was produced by the printer and bookseller Francisco Foppens of Brussels in 1721. The page displayed features an ornamental woodcut headpiece and a woodcut initial letter ‘A’. This copy was once owned by Dr. Bartholemew Crotty, who was Rector of the Irish College at Lisbon from 1799-1811 and President of St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth from 1813 until 1832. Crotty’s library was bequeathed to the College following his death in 1846.

 

Giovanni Veneroni (1642-1708)

Dictionaire italien et françois [Italian and French Dictionary]

Amsterdam, 1729.

veroni
Figure 2. Title page of Veroni’s Dictionaire

The title page of Giovanni Veneroni’s Italian and French Dictionary features the printer’s device of the Huguenot publisher Jaques Desbordes with the biblical quotation ‘Sol in aspectu annuntians in exitu’ [which translates as ‘the sun at its rising shines the fullest’ or ‘plain to our view is the sun’s passage as it shines’].  Veneroni’s dictionary was first published in 1681, this reprinted edition is dated 1729. The title page features the annotations of potential previous owners ‘Captain Giffard’ and ‘Harriette Phelan’.

 

 

 

Alexandre Boniface (1785-1841)

Dictionnaire français-anglais et anglais-français [French-English and English-French Dictionary]

Paris, 1828.

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Figure 3. Title page of Boniface’s Dictionnaire

This is a sophisticated bilingual dictionary based on the works of prominent French lexicographers such as Gattel, Boiste, Wailly and Laveaux; as well as prominent English lexicographers such as Boyer, Johnson, Walker and Lévisac. The Dictionary contains word definitions and meanings, different proverbial expressions, as well as the main terms of the sciences and the arts. The page on display features the French pronoun ‘celui’ which is translated as: ‘He, him; she, her, they, them; that, those [This pronoun not being a mere personal, cannot stand for a proper name…]’

 

 

 

 

THEME 2: TRANSLATING & DECODING INTO FRENCH

Ambrogio Calepino (1435-1511)

Ambrosii Calepini dictionarium [Ambrose Calepini’s dictionary]

le grand cropped
Figure 4. Printer’s device from Calepino’s Dictionarium

Leiden, 1634.

The Italian lexicographer Ambrogio Calepino first published his Latin dictionary in 1502. Later editions (including the one displayed) include translations of Latin words into various other languages such as Hebrew, French, German, Spanish, Italian, and English.

 

THEME 3: ENCYCLOPAEDIC DICTIONARIES

Joseph Nicolas Guyot (1728-1816)

Le grand vocabulaire François [French vocabulary large edition]

Paris, [1767-74].

vocab
Figure 5. Title page of Guyot’s Le Grand Vocabulaire Francois

Guyot’s Vocabulary contains explanations of each word along with various grammatical meanings and synonyms; it also features the general principles of grammar and the rules of spelling, along with reasoned and philosophical details on the economy, trade, the navy, and politics etc. An entry on ‘Absinthe’ [Absinth] describes the physical characteristics of the plant ‘ses fleurs sont rassemblées dans un calice à cȏté l’une de l’autre, & donnent une semence très-menue’ [its flowers are grouped in a calyx next to each other, and give very small seeds]. It also outlines the medical properties associated with Absinth which is described as ‘une plante médicinale, dont la racine est ligneuse’ [a medicinal plant with a woody root].

 

Jacques-Christophe Valmont de Bomare (1731-1807)

Dictionnaire raisonné universel d’histoire naturelle [Universal natural history dictionary]

Paris, 1768.

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Figure 6. Frontispiece from Dictionaire raisonne universel d’histore naturelle 

This revised edition of French botanist Jacques-Christophe Valmont de Bomare’s bestselling dictionary on natural history was published in 1768. The page displayed features a lively description of the babouin [baboon]:

‘On appele ainsi de gros singes qui ont des queues plus ou moins longues, & qui sont différents des cynocéphales. Voyez ce mot & l’article SINGE.’

[So called big apes, which have tails of varying length, and which are different from the cynocéphales. See this word & the article MONKEY.]

Denis Diderot (1713-1784)

Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers [Encyclopaedia, or a Systematic Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts, and Crafts]

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Figure 7. Image from Diderot’s Encyclopedie

Livourne, 1772.

The page displayed is PI XI. XII ‘Anatomie’.

R 123

This blog provides a snapshot into what is on display in the Russell Library at the moment. The blog doesn’t cover everything so please come and visit during our opening hours to discover more fascinating French Dictionaries first hand in the beautiful surroundings of the Russell Library.

The Nun of Kenmare: Margaret Anna Cusack (1829-1899)

Post by Olive Morrin, Special Collections & Archives

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Margaret Anna Cusack (1829-1899)

Margaret Anna Cusack was born into a wealthy protestant family in 1829.  She became known as the “Nun of Kenmare” during her years as a Poor Clare sister in the enclosed convent at Kenmare.  She founded Kenmare Publications and used the money from her publications in the running of the convent, charitable works and other church related projects.

She lived with her family in Coolock during her childhood, but after the separation of her parents in her teenage years she went to live with a grand-aunt in England. After the death of her fiancé in her twenties she became an Anglican nun but frustrated at not been allowed help in the Crimean War she left and converted to Catholicism and joined the Poor Clare order in Newry.

In 1861 as Sr. Mary Francis Clare she was sent with seven other nuns to found a new convent in Kenmare, Co. Kerry. She was an energetic, determined and strong willed woman with a business acumen probably not suited to convent life especially in the enclosed order of the Poor Clares.  Because of her outspoken views on Irish nationalism she often came into conflict with local landlords in Kerry, the Catholic church hierarchy and her religious superiors. She became a prolific writer during the twenty years she spent in Kenmare and wrote in all 35 books on Irish history and biography including many pious and religious texts.

She was helped by two full-time secretaries as her research and writing necessitated much correspondence. She wrote letters highlighting Irish distress and injustice in the Irish, US and Canadian press. She wrote a biography of Daniel O’Connell with the title The Liberator: his life and times, political, social and religious.

In Special Collections we hold several of her publications including An illustrated history of Ireland from the earliest period, A history of the city and county of Cork and Life inside the Church of Rome. She also wrote woman’s work in modern society in 1874 which outlined the role of women in the home and advocated the necessity of limited education for women. She approved of class distinction “I confess I do not see any advantage to society, either in women taking degrees in colleges, or in preparing to enter professions which have hitherto been exclusively masculine…..Let education be made suitable to the wants of the educated, and to their position in life, and then we shall have good education and our young people grow up to be useful members of society, because they will grow up to enter their proper place in society”.

The re-emergence of famine in Kerry during 1871 generated fear of a repeat of the tragedy of the Great Famine.  She setup the Famine Relief Fund and distributed £15,000 towards relieving distress and poverty throughout Ireland. In her letters she attacked local landlords particularly Lord Lansdowne and his agent Townsend Trench which generated hostility towards her from the establishment both secular and religious.

Opposition to her continued especially with a new parish priest. Isolated and alone without friends she left the Kenmare Poor Clares in 1881.  Her transfer orders were for her to return to her mother house in Newry but on the way she stopped off at Knock where the apparition had appeared two years previously.  She stayed and Archbishop McEvilly of Tuam wanted her to found a Poor Clare convent whereas she wanted to setup a new convent of her own called the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace. She started fund-raising and with her reputation and name she soon had had enough money to draw up plans and start the building.  It was to be a substantial house close to the church and appropriate to the incipient shrine of Knock.   Work started on the building but in the event of her not receiving permission opposition grew against her particularly from the parish priest of Knock who left no stone unturned to remove her.  Dr. MacEvilly, Bishop of Tuam writing to Cardinal McCabe about her starts off his letter with “This nun of Knock will surely be my death”. He goes on to say “She has fought with everyone”.  She eventually leaves Knock with a half finished convent and refused to finish the convent for someone else to take over.  It became a ball-alley for local youths for many years until it was eventually demolished.  Canon Bourke writing to Mgr. Kirby says of her “I regarded her rather like someone having a special mission who was not bound by the ordinary rules that guide others. ….the great thing is were her motives good? I thought so, and think so still”.

She was persuaded to go to Nottingham and establish a convent there. In 1884 she went to Rome and secured a personal interview with Pope Leo XIII.  She obtained permission to leave the Poor Clares and found a new order called The Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace which was intended as a home for friendless girls where domestic service and good moral habits would be taught. She opened her first house in Nottingham and then went to America in order to raise money and promote her work.  While there she was invited to establish a community in Englewood in the Diocese of Newark.  It was the only convent she established in America although her vision was to establish many houses.

Entrenched and sustained opposition to her blocked every effort she made. She travelled to many places along the east coast and even as far west as Seattle but the results were always the same.  Despite promising invitations all efforts in the end came to nothing.  Shortly after her arrival in America she was attacked in the press by a Fr. Shanley.  He wrote “Will anyone at this late day, number among claimants for charity that religious Poo-Bah-political-economist-hagiographer-Young Girl’s adviser-pamphleteer, mistress of Novices, historian, beggar and nun, who for twenty years and more, both in Ireland and America, has been an irrepressible begging nuisance? Will anyone in his right mind give her more money to squander, after the monument of folly she has left at Knock?”

Apart from the perceived ignoring of regulations and vows part of the opposition to her may have been her extraordinary success in raising money. She did not hesitate to use any advantage she might have – be it contacts, using her appointed title “The Nun of Kenmare” writing to newspapers even far afield. This was also a time when the Catholic clergy were raising money to build churches and she had attacked the clergy in America for the ‘tax’ they levelled on poor servant girls.

By her later years in Kenmare she had become a controversial and polarised figure who continued to make powerful enemies. She had created a name for herself as a writer and was responsible for many good works.  But she could have achived much more had opposition to her not been so entrenched.  But possibly her outspoken criticisms of injustices and short circuiting established ecclesiastical routes in pursuit of her ambitions contributed to the opposition.

The earnings from her writings supported her convents and after she left the Catholic church she also gave lectures to air her grievances and supplement her income. Over the years her order spread to Ireland, Canada, Haiti and other parts of the US.  In 1888 after a dispute with her bishop and disillusioned  with the Catholic Church she returned to England and the Anglican faith. She died in 1889 age 70.

References:

The Nun of Kenmare by Irene ffrench Eager, published by Mercier Press, 1970

Margaret Anna Cusack: one woman’s campaign for women’s rights by Irene ffrench Eagar published by Arlen House, 1979

Margaret Anna Cusack by Catherine Ferguson, Gaelbooks, 2008

The Nun of Kenmare: the true facts by Philomena McCarthy, St. Clare’s Convent, 1989

Google Images

 

Utopia by Thomas More (1478-1535)

Post by Olive Morrin, Special Collections and Archives

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Thomas More

Thomas More’s seminal work Utopia was first published five hundred years ago in 1516 in Leuven, Belgium.  Utopia depicts a fictional island where all the inhabitants share a common culture and live a simple shared lifestyle.

Canon Thomas Finan, St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth donated his collection of books to the library in 2010 which included many books relating to Thomas More.  Included in his collection is Thomas More’s Utopia which is held in Special Collections.  It was reprinted in 1899 from the 2nd and revised edition of 1556.

Although written in Latin the word “utopia” comes from a Greek expression meaning “no place”. In present day parlance it has come to mean according to the Oxford Dictionary as “an imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect”.

In this book More sets out what he considers to be an ideal society.  Firstly there would be no private property and goods would be stored in warehouses where the inhabitants would request what they needed.  The Utopian state would be a welfare state with free hospitals, euthanasia is permitted, priests are allowed to marry, divorce is permitted, premarital sex is forbidden as is adultery.   Slavery is allowed – each household is allowed two slaves. Slaves either come from other countries or citizens may become slaves as a means of punishment.     There would be no locks on doors.  Agriculture would be the most important job with men and women doing the same work but also a person must learn a trade and all able-bodied people must work.  People should wear the same type of simple clothes.  Other elements of the Utopian state were communal dining halls with the job of feeding the inhabitants rotated among the households.  Most religions are tolerated, only atheism is despised but allowed, as atheists do not believe in an afterlife and they may be tempted to break the law.  Gambling, hunting, makeup and astrology are all discouraged in Utopia and Utopians do not like to engage in war.  Privacy is not a freedom in Utopia and private gatherings are not allowed as men should be in full view of each other so they do not behave badly.

Utopia poses for some, contradictions between the ideals expounded in Utopia and Thomas More’s own public life.  In Utopia issues such as divorce, euthanasia, married and female priests are accepted. These issues would have been alien to More as he was a devout Catholic and opposed Henry VIII plans to divorce Catherine of Aragon and the Reformation which in the end lead to his execution.  In 1935 he was canonized as a martyr for his defence of the Catholic Church.  In Utopia he advocated religious toleration but as Lord Chancellor of England it is alleged from many sources that he engaged in the persecution of protestants.

More’s vision of equality and communalism in Utopia could be considered a precursor to socialism and communism which emerged centuries later most notably through Marx and Engel’s Communist Manifesto. It does appear from More’s Utopia that individualism should succumb to the overall interests of the community.

It probably should be remembered that Utopia was a fantasy and a work of fiction and probably did not reflect More’s own viewpoints as he dealt with the realpolitiks of his day. The title of Fred Zimmerman’s film about Thomas More “A man for all seasons” maybe encapsulates the ambiguities of Utopia and the mindset of Thomas More in his private and public life.

References:

Wikipedia

Thomas More: a short biography by James McConica

Sir Thomas More: biography, facts and information: https://englishhistory.net/tudor/citizens/sir-thomas-more/

Document of the Day: Military postcards

By Saoirse Reynolds, Maynooth University Library

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A collection of 32 military postcards were acquired by Maynooth University Library in 2015. The postcards date from 1905-1915, and were printed by the English publishers Gale and Polden Ltd. and Raphael Tuck and Sons. This interesting collection of postcards feature images of the Curragh Camp, Co. Kildare, the Athlone Barracks, the Palace Military Barracks, Holywood, Co. Down, a 1906 Royal Irish Military Tournament, the 5th Royal Irish Lancers, the Connaught Rangers, the Dragoon Guards and a variety of World War One images.

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‘God be with you till we meet again’

They are a momento of the Great War and were a method of communication at the time which was inexpensive and very popular. The pictures give a window into the lives of those who lived during this time and it is very evident that they were produced for propagandist purposes.

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5th Royal Irish Lancers firing over two trained horses

For this blog post I have chosen my favourite ones out of the bunch. The first is the postcard with a picture of two of the 5th Royal Irish Lancers firing over two trained horses. It is a really visually interesting picture and is in black and white. There is also writing on the back but it is too faded to read.

 

The next I chose is of the Barracks in Athlone. It gives you a good view of how barracks and town would have looked at the time and as I am from close to Athlone I find this especially interesting. It also has writing on the back which is an acknowledgement of a letter received and “best wishes to you and hoping you enjoyed yourself”.

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The Barracks Athlone

 

Another very visually beautiful postcard is the one with a 5th Royal Irish Lancer who is “jumping an obstacle” on a horse. He looks very dignified and the colours are beautiful. On the back of this is a note from a mother her son/daughter. It is saying that she doesn’t need as much meat from the butchers as she doesn’t expect company this weekend and tells them to get “4lbs topside of beef” and signs off “best love xxxx from Mummy”.

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5th Royal Irish Lancer jumping an obstacle

The last postcard I have chosen represents a lot of the postcards which really pulled on the heartstrings of the people. This one shows women and children and the priest sitting around the fire with a poem urging them to “keep the home fires burning” until “the boys come home”.

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‘Till the boys come home’

Document of the Day -Peadar Ó Laoghaire: Discovering Script and Spelling Development of the Irish Language

by Miriam van der Molen, Project Archivist

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Gaelic Script

As somebody who learned Irish in school in the nineties and noughties, I never came across the old Gaelic script used for writing

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SP PA 816

Irish, except on the odd sign on a pub or a telephone box. I began working on a collection of mainly manuscript material, created by Peadar Ó Laoghaire from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century. An interesting thing about this collection is the fact that Ó Laoghaire writes everything in Irish in the Gaelic script. The script looks very decorative and is almost like a form of calligraphy.

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Irish translation of Psalm 57 PP3/2/1/22

There is surprisingly little information about the history of the Gaelic script online. While both the Gaelic and Roman scripts were used for Irish after the use of the Ogham alphabet ceased, it appears to have been mainly the Gaelic one used until the general era of 1950s–1960s, when the government decided to use the Roman script exclusively in school textbooks. As a result, few people today use the Gaelic script.

Peadar Ó Laoghaire always wrote Irish in the Gaelic script. The collection at Maynooth University Library also material by Ó Laoghaire that was printed in newspapers. Here, again, is the Gaelic typeface used, as distinct from the Roman one. Both the typeface and the handwritten script have a more rounded look than the Roman script used for Irish, and many other languages, today.

 Letiriú Shímplí

I already knew about the change in the spelling conventions of Irish before embarking on cataloguing the Peadar Ó Laoghaire collection. This happened in the 1940s, and to some extent before that, in order to shorten the length of Irish words which had many silent letters. What I did not know about was the experiment to simplify the spelling of the Irish language early in the twentieth century in another way, basing it on the phonetics of the language. This was known as ‘Letiriú shímplí’, and was instigated by Shán Ó Cuív with Osborn Bergin and Father Richard O’Daly. There was even a Cuman um Letiriú Shímplí (Society for the Simplification of [Irish] Spelling) set up. While Ó Laoghaire initially opposed a simplification of spelling, he appears to have changed his mind quite soon. While the Letiriú Shímplí was used by some newspapers, such as ‘Glór na Ly’ and ‘Sinn Féin’ and in some books and pamphlets, it did not survive for very long.

When I initially saw the simplified spelling Ó Laoghaire had used for some of his publications, I was very confused! It is a spelling which does not quite look like Irish when first glanced at, not least because of the many ‘v’s employed for which Irish normally uses ‘bh’ or ‘mh’, a sound which occurs a lot in the language. The spelling is based on modern phonetics of Irish, in Ó Laoghaire’s case specifically the West Cork dialect. The spelling makes most sense when saying the word in your head, or out loud, as otherwise it can initially be a little cryptic!

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PP3/1/3/1

Peadar Ó Laoghaire produced ‘Letiriú Shímplí’ versions of his Irish translation of ‘Don Quixote’ and of his novel ‘Séadna’. The proofs of the ‘Letiriú Shímplí’ version of ‘Don Quixote’, called ‘Don Chíchóté’, are present in the Peadar Ó Laoghaire archive.

 

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Letter concerning Séadna PP3/1/1/2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

Gaelic Script

Gaelic Typefaces (Fonts): http://www.scriobh.ie/page.aspx?id=6&l=2 Accessed October 2016.

Irish (Gaeilge): http://www.omniglot.com/writing/irish.htm Accessed October 2016.

Letiriú Shímplí

Vaughan, W.E. A New History of Ireland: Ireland Under the Union, 1870-1921, Volume VI.
(Oxford: 2010) pp. 428-430.

Niall Murray, ‘Phonetic Irish language newspaper shone briefly’, ‘Irish Examiner’, 1 February 2016: http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/phonetic-irish-language-newspaper-shone-briefly-379198.html Accessed September 2016.