Explore Your Archive: Document of the Day

Moving Hearts: A Sample from Hutchinson’s Record Collection

By Darren Sturdy, Library Assistant, MU Library

The archive of distinguished multilingual poet Pearse Hutchinson (1927-2012), was deposited in Maynooth University in 2014. This large and eclectic archive contains many fascinating unique documents, but also an extensive library and music collection on both vinyl and audio cassette. Among the collection is an album on vinyl, familiar to most of a certain age, the self-titled debut from Moving Hearts.

Pearse Hutchinson

Christy Moore and Dónal Lunny formed Moving Hearts in 1981 out of the Baggot Inn in Dublin and released their debut album the same year on the WEA (Warner-Elektra-Atlantic) label. It is a mixture of traditional music and the contemporary sound of a rhythm section.

The band on this album consists of Christy Moore, Dónal Lunny, Declan Sinnott, Eoghan O’Neill, Brian Calnan, Davy Spillane and Keith Donald.

The year is 1981 and there is a lot going on in Ireland and around the world. The songs on this album are a commentary of how the musicians on this record felt about things at the time.

The album opens with ‘Hiroshima Nagasaki Russian Roulette’ written by Jim Page which is about the nuclear threat at the time and the Cold War between the West and the Soviet Union. Heavy opener indeed. The track also seems to play with the musicians themselves by introducing the line up with instrumental breaks between the verses.

The second track is ‘Irish Ways and Irish Laws’ is written by John Gibbs. While the opening song belts along, this following track is brought right down to a slower pace. The way Ireland was, what happened to her over time and wondering about the future.

Third track ‘McBrides’ is an instrumental written by Lunny/Sinnott. On this piece Spillane really shines on uileann pipes with backing from the rest of the band. This kicks in nicely after the more sombre tone of the previous song.

The penultimate track on side one in the old vinyl days is ‘Before the Deluge’ written by Jackson Browne. Bringing it back down again, this is a tale of idealism overtaken the realities of industry. Keith Donald has a great sax solo for the outro.

Side one closes with ‘Landlord’ written by Jim Page. An upbeat groove to a song about the evils of the landlord class and the treatment of tenants. Short and sweet at under three minutes.

Side Two kicks off with ‘Category’, an instrumental written by Lunny/Sinnott. Plays like a jam between the band and the second half of the album kicks into gear. No hanging about here.

Side Two, Track 2 and for me the best song on the album, ‘Faithful Departed’ by Philip Chevron. Chevron had no problem doing this as he did it twice with The Pogues (sorry Shane…). This has a nice guitar intro by Declan Sinnott. There seems to be so much talent on show for this album and finding a place to accommodate everyone.

Penultimate track on the album is the third and final instrumental ‘Lake of Shadows’ by Lunny/Sinnott/O’Neill. A downbeat tempo showcasing the band again. It really is lovely this one like a waltz.

The album closer and longest song on the record is ‘No Time for Love’ by Jack Warshaw. Injustices in the world.  

The album was produced by Dónal Lunny and with all the talent on show the star for me is bassist Eoghan O’Neill. His podcast is worth a listen. 

A mother’s pride in her young son

Awards from the Pearse Hutchinson Archive

[Explore Your Archive 2021 (8 of 9): #Achievement]

By Ciara Joyce, Archivist

Detail from Hutchinson’s winning entry.

The Irish poet Pearse Hutchinson (1927-2012) is well known for his many achievements in the literary world, as well as his contributions to radio and print media over the years.

But it was not poetry that the young Pearse set his sights on at the tender age of seven. Like his father before him, Hutchinson dreamt of being an artist and showed considerable skill for the profession from an early age.

The Hutchinson family lived in the same house on Rathgar Road, Dublin from the 1930s until Pearse’s death in 2012. As a result, many items from his childhood survived to form part of the Pearse Hutchinson Archive, which is now housed at MU Library. Among the many treasures in this collection is a selection of Hutchinson’s childhood drawings including his winning entry in the RDS National Art Competition for the Encouragement of Art of 1934.

Extract from The Irish Times 14 July 1934

According to the Irish Times newspaper cutting, kept by Pearse’s mother Caitlín, the competition was judged  by R.E.J. Bush, the headmaster at the School of Art, Bristol, who commented that the entries from the younger competitors ‘appealed as being more numerous and much more imbued with life than was the case with many of the more advanced students’ and that ‘the designs and work generally of all classes up to 10 were most satisfactory’. Hutchinson won first prize in two of the under eight categories, for drawing in any medium of natural objects and for simple decorative designs or patterns.

Along with the winning pictures and newspaper cutting, Caitlín also kept a press photograph of Pearse, aged seven, viewing his winning artwork, onto which she has adhered another much later newspaper cutting relating to her son. The text on the cutting reads ‘Two C.B.S. Synge St. pupils, Pearse Hutchinson (left) who obtained first place in Senior Honour English, Leaving Certificate, 1944, with 93p.c., a record and Patrick McCann, who obtained second place in English’.

Pearse Hutchinson (aged 7) views his winning entry in the RDS National Art Competition, 1934.
Newspaper extract regarding Pearse’s achievement in the Leaving Certificate, 1944

It was this talent for language that Pearse developed in later years, although he still liked to draw. He began by publishing poems in newspapers and the Capuchin Annual, before publishing his first volume of poetry ‘Tongue without Hands’ in 1963, which of course, he dedicated to his mother Caitlín.

For more information on the Pearse Hutchinson Archive please contact library.specialcollections@mu.ie

Details from Hutchinson’s wining entry

Document Of The Day – “Achnasheen” by Pearse Hutchinson

By Yvette Campbell, General Collections & Finance


As part of the Pearse Hutchinson Archive acquired by Maynooth University in 2013, this fascinating and vast collection contains the papers from Hutchinson’s long and extremely varied career, from his childhood writings to his last draft poems. One of these draft poems held in Maynooth is the typescript draft entitled “Achnasheen” published in 1975.

Pearse Hutchinson
As someone with a background in Medieval Irish & Celtic studies, I’ve always loved the history behind Irish placenames especially when they relate to Irish mythology and literature. Beginning with “You’d miss the Gaelic from the Placenames“, this heavily annotated manuscript copy by Hutchinson himself is a powerful poem highlighting the significance of the few Gaelic placenames which have not been distorted by English renaming. It is a fascinating document to see Hutchinson’s notes and corrections on a piece of Irish writing that people know and love so well.

Pearse Hutchinson’s poem “Achnasheen” describes the mistranslation of Gaelic toponyms, and the subsequent absence of the original Gaelic from signposts in Northern Ireland. My favourite quote from this poem that captures the mood of the subject so beautifully is:

The Gaelic names beating their wings madly
behind the mad cage of English”

This poem was published in Selected Poems 1982, The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, Vol. III, Ed. S. Deane (1991)., Collected Poems (2002) & An Anthology of Modern Irish Poetry Ed. Wes Davis (2010).

Since “Achnasheen“, there has been great work done with The Northern Ireland Place-name Project and a number of other Irish databases dedicated to the preservation of the history of Gaelic placenames in Ireland – therefore Hutchinson’s poem is a great document to feature in our Explore Your Archives Week.

If you want to learn more about Pearse Hutchinson and his poetry, the 2nd annual seminar will be held in Maynooth University on Wednesday 23rd November. The seminar will be chaired by the writer, poet and broadcaster Vincent Woods and will include a paper by Prof. Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Ireland Professor of Poetry, musical perfomance by Danny Diamond and Néillidh Mulligan and a launch of an exhibition of material from the Archive.

Document of the Day -The Pearse Hutchinson Archive

Ciara Joyce, Archivistexplore-campaign_identity

In 2013, Maynooth University Library was fortunate to acquire the archive of renowned Irish poet and broadcaster Pearse Hutchinson (1927-2012). This fascinating and vast collection contains the papers from Hutchinson’s long and extremely varied career, from his childhood writings to his last draft poems.
Fortuitously the collection also contains Hutchinson’s family archive, including photographs and memoirs and the papers of his parents, Henry Warren Hutchinson and Caitlín McElhinney. While every family’s archive contains treasures with insight into the family history, what makes Hutchinson’s family history of particular interest is that his parents were involved in the republican movement throughout their lives, were members of Sinn Féin and counted the likes of Eamon DeValera and Constance Markievicz as friends.

Parents wedding
Henry Warren Hutchinson and Caitlín McElhinney on their wedding day. 1916

Letter by Henry Hutchinson to his wife Caitlín. Written while on board the H.W.S. Wolfhound bound for Dublin and posted by an unknown person. March 1923

Some of my favourite items from these family papers are letters between Henry and Caitlín, during his internment in Mountjoy prison in 1923, where he was held without charge after being deported from his home in Glasgow for refusing to give up his republican activities.

In March 1923, Hutchinson’s home was raided for the 15th time and he was arrested and dispatched overnight on a Royal Navy destroyer to Dublin. Despite calling to the local police station, Caitlín was not told that her husband and the other Scottish detainees were sent to Ireland. In his memoire Henry records writing a letter to his wife and leaving it to be found in the hope that someone would post it. On the page, with no envelope, he wrote ‘The finder might kindly put in envelope + post to address on other side – God will bless you’. The letter arrived, thanks to some unknown person and is now preserved in the Hutchinson Archive.

Caitlín and Henry’s letters during his detention were heavily censored by prison authorities, with sections cut out of the letters. In her letter of the 16th of March 1923, Caitlín writes; ‘The kidnapping created a most extraordinary sensation here. Huge headlines in all the papers’. He remained incarcerated for three months.

Letter from Caitlín McElhinney to her husband Henry Warren Hutchinson in Mountjoy prison, censored by prison authorities. 16 March 1923

The Pearse Hutchinson Archive at Maynooth

By Ciara Joyce, Archivist, Special Collections & Archives

On May the 14th, Maynooth University Library will host the inaugural Pearse Hutchinson conference: Opening the Archive: A Door into Light. This event marks the end of the first year of work on the extensive Hutchinson archive, which the Library was fortunate to acquire in 2013.

This wide-ranging and fascinating collection contains material from Hutchinson’s long career, as poet, writer, critic, columnist and radio broadcaster. It also includes some truly unique and intriguing material belonging to Hutchinson’s parents, Henry Warren Hutchinson and Caitlín McElhinney, including letters from Countess Markievicz, Margaret Pearse and Eamon De Valera.

Hutchinson’s archive is gradually being catalogued and will be made available on a phased basis beginning with his English language poetry archive.

Pearse Hutchinson (1927-2012)
Pearse Hutchinson (1927-2012)

It contains early drafts of Hutchinson’s well-loved poems as well as a plethora of unpublished material from the 1940s on.

All aspects of Hutchinson’s diverse career are reflected in the collection, which includes everything from his childhood drawings, scripts from his eclectic radio show Óro Domhnaigh, letters from distinguished Irish and international writers, an assortment of ephemera from the arts and cultural events in Ireland and Hutchinson draft works showing the creative process of his writing.

This conference will be the first opportunity to view the collection, as a selection of material will be on display on the day. It will also present an occasion for scholars and enthusiasts of Hutchinson’s work to gather and share their interest in the man and his writing.

The Pearse Hutchinson Archive
The Pearse Hutchinson Archive

For more information on the Pearse Hutchinson Conference please see: https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/library/events/pearse-hutchinson-archive-maynooth-university-library

Childhood drawing by Hutchinson
Childhood drawing by Hutchinson