The Library at UCC is the largest library outside Dublin and holds one of the finest collections of early printed books and research archives in Ireland. In January 2008 UCC opened a magnificent new research and reference wing adjoining the Boole Library. The recently opened wing has provided 5,500 square metres of additional space, increasing the size of the original Library by 50%. It was designed by Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott Architects (a Massachusetts based firm with a specialisation in Library design) in conjunction with Wilson Architecture (a Cork based firm). It was nominated for a 2008 Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI) Irish Architecture award and in October received a 2008 International Architecture Award from the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design.
The Postgraduate Research Library has been designed to accommodate all of the University’s rich special collections and its internationally important archival collections including, among others, the Papers of George Boole, the Grehan Estate Collection, the Bantry House Archive, the Papers of Daniel Corkery, the Ó Riordáin Collection and many first editions and antiquarian books.
The new Library is situated adjacent to the existing Boole Library. It enhances the University’s ability to attract top-calibre postgraduate students and research staff and is a key element in UCC’s broader strategic plan for growth.
Specifically, the new Library provides:
- more Library space to accommodate an expanded student population
- high level ICT infrastructure to maximise availability of electronic information and multi-media services
- a secure, environmentally controlled space for storage and consultation of valuable special collections and archives
- improved access to collections
- a better environment for study and Library based research and an improvement in the quality and fabric of the Library’s physical environment
University College Cork Library was established at the foundation of the University in 1845 and has acted since then as a repository for archival collections of national and international importance. In 1983 the Boole Library was opened, centralising the University’s Library services for students and staff. It is the largest Library outside Dublin and holds one of the finest collections of early printed books and research archives in Ireland .
The Postgraduate Research Library, officially opened in 2008, has been designed to accommodate all of the University’s special collections and its internationally important archival collections including, among others, the Papers of George Boole, the Grehan Estate Collection, the Bantry House Archive, the Papers of Daniel Corkery, the Ó Riordáin Collection and many first editions and antiquarian books.
The Dromana Papers of the Fitzgerald Family
(The Villiers Stuart Collection)
From the English invasion of 1169 until the coming of Independence in 1922, members of the powerful aristocratic Fitzgerald lineage were at the forefront of developments in Ireland. In the eastern province of Leinster the Fitzgeralds became Earls of Kildare and for much of the Later Middle Ages they were the most influential family in the entire country. In the south, in Munster, a second great branch of the lineage, the Earls of Desmond, also emerged holding sway over large tracts of territory in Counties Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Waterford, Tipperary and Kerry. Following the destruction of the earldom of Desmond in the late sixteenth century the leadership of the Munster Fitzgeralds passed to the Fitzgeralds of Dromana, County Waterford, whose descendants the Villiers Stuart family continued to hold a large estate in the county into modern times. Dromana passed to the Villiers in 1676 when the Fitzgerald heiress, Katherine, eloped with her future husband Edward. During the nineteenth century the family participated strongly in parliamentary affairs in Ireland and England, pressing for Catholic emancipation and political reform.
The Villiers Stuart Collection is without doubt one of the largest and most complete collections of family and estate papers anywhere in Ireland. Its contents cover the period from 1400 to 1950 and represent an enormous body of research material. Here, in the leases and tenancy agreements, are the only records of generations of Irish countrymen who would have otherwise gone unrecorded. Contained in the Villiers Stuart collection are the faint footprints of these forgotten people recorded as part of the day to day administration of the estate. A vast majority of the poorest tenants were illiterate and left no paper record of their own. They didn’t write letters, they didn’t engage in business and they would be forgotten if it wasn’t for the records of this great estate.
The Villiers Stuart Collection records the Villiers Stuart’s long and distinguished history of support and interaction with their tenancy and the people of the Blackwater valley. Their records show they were philanthropists; tireless in aiding famine relief, hiring as many as they could to ensure some income through the worst of the Famine years. They introduced the linen industry to make tenant farmers self supporting, and they were active in the area of education, endowing boys and girls schools in Villierstown. The records of all their work and their involvement with all who depended on them are contained in this wonderful collection.
UCC asks that you consider supporting it's recent acquisition of the Villiers Stuart Collection and allow the University to archive and exhibit this significant collection for future generations.
Please consider making a donation to the University College Cork Library Fund to support the conservation of the Villiers Stuart Collection and other notable acquisitions.
Ó Riada Archive
Corkman Seán Ó Riada (1931-1971), a graduate and former lecturer at UCC, stood astride the normally distinct worlds of classical and traditional music. He was the most significant Irish composer in the 20th century and his development of the prototype traditional music ensemble, Ceoltoiri Chualainn, paved the way for the subsequent internationalisation of Irish Traditional Music. His most famous works include the film scores for Mise Eire, Saoirse and The Playboy of the Western World. He also composed the hauntingly beautiful music for the Ó Riada Mass.
UCC recently acquired the Seán Ó Riada Archive, which is one of the most important extant collections of historical and cultural material, providing a unique insight in to the man, his extraordinary and complex character, and his music.
The Ó Riada collection contains the original scores of all the major Ó Riada works, a national treasure in their own right. A large, family photographic archive and correspondence between the composer and the Abbey Theatre, RTE and the Irish Times, as well as correspondence between himself and his wife Ruth are included.. His books, instruments, walking sticks, graduation robes, tin whistles, piano, furniture and fishing rods make up the comprehensive collection of Seán Ó Riada belongings.
This archive offers considerable opportunity for the development of teaching, research and public interest in Seán Ó Riada and in the wider context, promotion of Irish music, language and culture. The collection, which will be archived in UCC’s new Postgraduate Research Library, will enable the University to promote and stimulate research into all aspects of the life and work of Seán Ó Riada.
Please consider making a donation to the University College Cork Library Fund to support the conservation of the Ó Riada Archive and other notable acquisitions.