Every week we shine a light on a different object from our collections that you may not have seen before. This week we have a christening gown which according to family was worn by Pádraic Ó’Conaire (1882-1928) at his baptism. Born Patrick Joseph Conroy at New Docks, Galway on 28 February 1882, to Thomas and Kate Conroy (nee McDonogh), Ó Conaire was baptised the following day (Wednesday, 1 March) at the Old-Pro Cathedral on the corner of Middle Street and Lower Abbeygate Street, Galway.
Made from white cotton with broderie anglaise detail, the gown is full length with short capped sleeves. It was handed down through the family of Ó’Conaire’s aunt and for many years people, including artists etc. called to the family to view the gown because it was worn by Ó’Conaire.
Renowned as an Irish writer and journalist whose work was primarily in the Irish language, Ó’Conaire wrote 26 books, 473 stories, 237 essays and 6 plays in his lifetime. His acclaimed novel Deoraíocht has been described by Angela Bourke as ‘the earliest example of modernist fiction in Irish. He died in August 1928 at Richmond Hospital, Dublin, and is buried at the New Cemetery, Bohermore, Galway.