Conradh na Gaeilge archive catalogued and launched by NUI Galway

 Extensive archive containing over 600,000 items is available to researchers 

The archive of Conradh na Gaeilge, Ireland’s oldest Irish language organisation, has been catalogued and launched by NUI Galway. The documents cover more than a century of Conradh’s existence, campaigning and achievements and provide an unparalleled insight into linguistic, cultural, social and political aspects of Irish history.

In 2018, following discussions instigated and led by Dr John Walsh, the University’s Library became the custodian of the archives.  It consisted of more than 600 boxes of material and over 600,000 pages, making it one of the largest collections ever deposited with NUI Galway.

Now catalogued by archivist Niamh Ní Charra, the Conradh na Gaeilge Archive at NUI Galway gives researchers, students and the public unique access to primary sources about the development of Irish language policy.

Every decade is represented in the archive, from the founding of Conradh na Gaeilge in 1893 to the deposition of the collection with NUI Galway in 2018.  Conradh na Gaeilge was actively involved in promoting, observing and documenting the use of Irish across all aspects of everyday life. Highlights in the archive include: 

  • A handwritten personal dictionary from the late 18th century which was gifted to solicitor, book collector, and Irish language enthusiast Ernest Reginald McClintock Dix in 1909 and subsequently given to Conradh na Gaeilge library
  • Posters from GAA club championships in the late 1950s 
  • Samples of multilingual packaging including an Aer Lingus peanuts wrapper
  • A press release calling for the end to the death penalty in Ireland, 1976
The archive includes material relating to music, sport, drama, religion, politics and events such as the annual Seachtain na Gaeilge campaign and Oireachtas competitions which celebrate their 120th and 125th anniversaries respectively this year.

The archive is open for consultation by researchers in the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room of the NUI Galway Library

The launch of the archive can be viewed below:

NUI Galway has an extensive collection of almost 400 archives, managed by its Library. Collection strengths include theatre, film and the performing arts, literature, history and politics, with a particular focus on material in the Irish language.  Collections of note include the archives of Conradh na Gaeilge and Mary Robinson, the literary papers of John McGahern and Thomas Kilroy, the archives of a range of theatre companies, including the Abbey, Gate and Druid, the Tim Robinson Collection detailing the geography and topography of Connemara, as well as the archives of several Connacht landed estates and a number of papers relating to the Northern Ireland Troubles. There is a strong focus on publishing archives online as part of an ongoing digitisation programme.

Researchers can browse the contents of the collection in advance of accessing it in the Library via