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Museum Acquires Handwritten Ó Conaire Letters

“Mise Pádraic Ó Conaire”

An important collection of letters from the mid-1920s concerning the Irish-language writer Pádraic Ó Conaire has been kindly donated to Galway City Museum by the Galway Technical Institute (GTI) on the ninetieth anniversary of the writer’s death. The letters relate to Ó Conaire’s time as an Irish language teacher at GTI, then situated on Dominick Street, Galway.

Born in Galway City in 1882 but reared in Connemara and West Clare following the deaths of his parents, Ó Conaire moved to London where he penned the best of his works while still only in his twenties. Widely regarded as the leading light of the Gaelic Revival and the father of the short story in Irish, he returned to Ireland in 1915 to pursue a literary career through the Irish language.

In 1924, having spent more than a quarter of a century in London and Dublin, Ó Conaire returned to live in his native town of Galway. In January 1925, he began writing for the Connacht Sentinel, publishing more than thirty articles and almost eighty short stories over the next three years. That summer, he applied for work as an Irish teacher with the Galway Technical Institute, where he worked until his untimely death in 1928.

The collection includes Ó Conaire’s initial application for a teaching job at GTI, along with references, and some correspondence regarding his later absences from work. Galway City Museum hope to display a selection of letters for a short period only in the near future and in time they will be added to the museum website where they can be easily accessed by all who wish to explore the finer detail.

Galway City Museum would like to extend their sincere gratitude to Galway Technical Institute, represented by Geraldine Gibbons, Principal GTI, Alison Ward, Deputy Principal GTI and David Leahy, CE GRETB for this donation.  Their generosity and foresight means the highest possible conservation standards can be applied to the continued care of these letters, ensuring future generations can also appreciate the genius of a truly Galway icon.

Visitors can learn more about Pádraic Ó Conaire, both the man and the statue by scrolling to the ‘Exhibitions’ section of this website or by visiting Galway City Museum, open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am-5pm where the original statue is on permanent display on the ground floor.  Admission is FREE!



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