Descriptive Catalogues of Archival Material
These descriptive catalogues provide detailed listings of the contents of manuscript collections held in the Irish Capuchin Archives.
The Capuchins and the Irish Revolution
The collection consists of the correspondence and papers of Capuchin friars detailing their involvement with participants in the nationalist struggle for independence including material relating to the 1916 Rising, the War of Independence and the Civil War. The majority of the material dates from 1916-1925 and includes many records highlighting the role played by various Irish Capuchins in ministering to republican leaders and their relations. Of particular interest is a large collection of ‘prison letters’ including the correspondence of some of the leading figures of the Irish Revolution. The collection also includes a large assemblage of republican publicity material, newspapers and miscellaneous items of ephemera and artefacts mostly relating to the military and political campaign organised by Irish nationalists for independence.
PDF: 1. Descriptive List (Web) – The Capuchins and the Irish Revolution
Sources for the history of the early Irish Capuchins
A collection of historical transcripts and other sources relating to the Irish Capuchins. The collection includes transcribed material and surrogate copies of records covering the years from the foundation of the Capuchin mission in Ireland in 1615 to the re-establishment of the Irish Province of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin in 1885. The seventeenth and eighteenth-century records of Irish Capuchin foundations in France offer an important insight into the singular existence of an exiled Irish community in Early Modern Europe. Other records provide important statistical information in respect of the Order’s pastoral work and missionary activity in nineteenth-century Ireland. The collection also includes unpublished historical writings and biographical material relating to notable Irish Capuchins. The collection reveals the enormous wealth of Irish Capuchin source materials which can be found in continental archives and libraries.
PDF: 2. Descriptive List (Web) – Sources for Early Irish Capuchins
Research Papers for Fr. Fiacre Tobin OSFC (c.1620-1656) and Fr. John Baptist Dowdall OSFC (c.1626-1710)
A collection of documentary evidence and research papers compiled for the beatification cause of Fr. Fiacre Tobin OSFC and Fr. John Baptist Dowdall OSFC. These two Irish Capuchin friars were among a very large group of Irish martyrs held to have suffered for the Catholic faith during periods of religious persecution between 1537 and 1714. The collection includes much information (and documentary evidence) on the Irish Capuchins in the seventeenth century. The collection includes transcribed source material, research notes, correspondence, publications and ephemera compiled for the beatification cause of these two Capuchin Servants of God.
PDF 3: Research Papers for Fr. Fiacre Tobin and Fr John Baptist Dowdall
Church of St. Francis, Capuchin Friary, Kilkenny
The collection consists of records relating to the Capuchin community in Kilkenny City and in particular to the foundation known as the Church of St. Francis situated on Friary Street (formerly Walkin Street). The Capuchin presence in Kilkenny can be traced back to 1643. The collection includes legal records relating to the acquisition, transfer and disposal of church property (such as deeds of title, mortgages and bills of sale), financial records, and material relating to individual members of Capuchin communities in Kilkenny. The collection includes a large number of administrative and community files, financial statements and books of account relating to building construction and structural alterations, correspondence, plans, publicity material, photographs, library books and miscellaneous items of commemorative ephemera connected with Capuchin ministries and apostolates in Kilkenny. The collection also includes unpublished historical writings and biographical material relating to notable members of the Capuchin Order who ministered in Kilkenny. The collection also includes records relating to the lay religious sodality known as the Third Order of St. Francis (now the Secular Franciscan Order) attached to the Capuchin Church in the city.
PDF: 4. Descriptive List (Web) – Papers of the Church of St. Francis, Capuchin Friary, Kilkenny
Fr. Theobald Mathew: Research and Commemorative Papers
A collection of research material relating to Fr. Theobald Mathew OSFC (1790-1856) and the temperance crusade. The collection includes material relating to various commemorations of Father Mathew and his total abstinence campaign from the nineteenth century onwards. This catalogue includes a detailed listing of correspondence, publications, transcribed source material, research notes, circulars, newspaper cuttings and ephemera relating to various temperance organisations. The catalogue also lists a highly significant collection of original artefacts such as temperance society medals, total abstinence pledge cards, prints, posters, photographs, temperance memorabilia, manuals, church plate, ephemera and other items and relics associated with Father Mathew and his temperance movement from the 1830s to the 1850s. These items were collected by various Capuchin friars in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries with a view to exhibiting them for devotional and historical purposes.
PDF: 5. Descriptive List (Web) – Fr. Theobald Mathew – Research and Commemorative Papers
Papers of St. Mary of the Angels, Capuchin Friary, Church Street, Dublin
The collection consists of records relating to the Capuchin community in Dublin and in particular to the foundation known as St. Mary of the Angels situated on Church Street. This street, one of the oldest thoroughfares on the north side of Dublin, has long been identified with the Capuchin Franciscans. For many years the friars have been known as the ‘Church Street Fathers’. Yet Church Street was not the location of their first residence in Dublin. The first Capuchin friars arrived in Dublin in 1615. At first, they settled on the south side of the city near Thomas Street before moving to Bridge Street in about 1632 and later still to a house not far from Saint Audeon’s Arch. By 1691 the Capuchins were resident in the environs of Church Street. The first chapel on the present site was fitted up in Roscommon House in 1720. This chapel was entirely repaired in 1736 and replaced by a slightly larger church in 1796. The foundation stone of the present-day St. Mary of the Angels was laid in 1868 and dedicated in 1882. The collection includes legal records relating to the acquisition, transfer and disposal of property (such as deeds of title, mortgages and bills of sale), financial records, and material relating to individual members of Capuchin communities and their ministries in Dublin. The collection also includes a large number of administrative and community files, financial statements and books of account relating to building construction and structural alterations, correspondence, plans, photographs and ephemera. The catalogue also lists records and registers relating to the lay religious sodality known as the Third Order of St. Francis (now the Secular Franciscan Order) attached to the Capuchin Church in the city.
PDF 6: Papers of St. Mary of the Angels, Capuchin Friary, Dublin
Papers of Holy Trinity (Father Mathew Memorial) Church, Cork
The collection consists of records relating to the Capuchin community in Cork city and in particular to the foundation known as Holy Trinity Church and Friary situated on Father Mathew Quay (formerly Charlotte Quay). Although the Capuchins arrived in Cork as early as 1637 it was many years before they took up residence on the site now occupied by Holy Trinity Church. Initially, the Capuchins resided on the southern side of Cork, just outside the South Gate. By the early eighteenth century the Capuchins appear to have established a permanent apostolate in the South Parish and by 1741 had built a small Friary on Blackamoor Lane situated just behind O’Sullivan’s Quay. By the mid-1820s, Fr. Theobald Mathew OSFC (1790-1856) decided to build a larger church in a more convenient location. A site on Charlotte Quay below Parliament Bridge was eventually acquired. The Gothic Revival design for Holy Trinity Church was conceived by the Cork-based architect George Pain (1793-1838).Construction work on the church began in the early 1830s but stalled shortly before the Great Famine. It was completed in 1890, in time for the centenary of the birth of Fr. Mathew. The collection includes legal records relating to the acquisition, transfer and disposal of church property (such as deeds of title, mortgages and bills of sale), financial records, and material relating to individual members of the Capuchin community in Cork. The collection includes many administrative and community files, financial statements and books of account relating to building construction and structural alterations, correspondence, plans, publicity material, photographs, rare books and miscellaneous items of ephemera connected with Capuchin ministries and apostolates in Cork. The collection also includes records and registers relating to the Third Order of St. Francis (now the Secular Franciscan Order) and other lay sodalities and confraternities attached to Holy Trinity Church.
PDF 7: Papers of Holy Trinity Church, Cork
Papers of Father Mathew Temperance Halls
The collection consists of records relating to the Temperance Halls established by the Capuchin Franciscans in Dublin and in Cork. Most of the material dates from circa 1890-1960. The records relate to the establishment of sodalities and confraternities, the opening and operation of temperance halls, and the organisation of missions and retreats connected with the promotion of the Total Abstinence movement. The collection includes minute books, administrative files, financial statements, correspondence, plans, publicity material, newspapers, photographs and miscellaneous items of ephemera and artefacts connected with the use of these halls for the promotion of temperance and as locations of recreation for members of various local total abstinence societies. The collection also includes records relating to the annual Father Mathew Feis (Feis an t-Athair Maitiú). The Dublin Feis Maitiú was inaugurated in 1909 by Fr. Aloysius Travers OFM Cap. (1870-1957), who saw the need for a festival to encourage people interested in preserving Irish culture and language. The programme for the annual Feiseanna gradually expanded to include competitions for singing, instrumental music, speech and drama, in both English and Irish. A similar Feis Maitiú was established in Cork in 1927 by Fr. Micheál Ó Sé OFM Cap. (1892-1958). The collection consists of organisational records and promotional materials which document the activities of the Father Mathew Feis and records relating to educational lectures, concerts, sketches, dramatic plays, pantomimes and other social and cultural events held in these Halls to further the cause of temperance.
PDF 8: Papers of Father Mathew Temperance Halls
Introduction and Guide to Papers of the Irish Capuchin Mission in Africa
(Pictured: Building a temporary church at the Irish Capuchin mission in Mankoya (now Kaoma), Northern Rhodesia (later Zambia), in 1938.)
The African mission collection in the Irish Capuchin Archives includes correspondence, visitation reports, financial records, minutes, newsletters and missionary magazines, travelogues, linguistic material, regional histories and personal mission journals and diaries. The collection also includes a very large collection of photographic albums and prints. The papers offer a rich source for church and mission history. As the work of the missionaries in Africa embraced not just evangelism, but also, for example, education, medical work, language study and translations, and the development of local agriculture and industry, these records are a valuable source for studies across a wide range of research interests and disciplines. The collection comprises material sent back to the Irish Capuchin Province and to the Foreign Mission Office by Capuchins in Africa from the 1930s onwards.
The papers chronicle the life and work of the Irish Capuchins since their arrival in South Africa in 1929 and in what was then known as Northern Rhodesia (later Zambia) in 1931. Geographically, this work took place primarily in Cape Town, South Africa, and in Barotseland, later the western province of Zambia. The records reflect the impact of the Irish Capuchin missionary presence particularly in the building and management of parishes, and in the fields of education, health-care provision and socio-economic development in Africa. This guide provides a contextual introduction to the collection and an outline of its content.
PDF 9: Introduction and Guide to Papers of the Irish Capuchin Missions in Africa
Papers of The Capuchin Annual and the Irish Capuchin Publications Office
A collection of records relating to The Capuchin Annual (1930-77) and The Father Mathew Record later Eirigh (1908-73) published by the Irish Capuchin Publications Office. The Capuchin Annual was published by the Irish Province of the Capuchin Franciscans from 1930 to 1977. It was one of the most widely read Irish literary publications of the twentieth century. It only ever had two editors, Fr. Senan Moynihan OFM Cap. (1900-1970) and Fr. Henry Anglin OFM Cap. (1910-1977). The collection includes literary content submitted to the editors of the Annual by various contributors. From its inception, the Annual attracted a very high quality of contributing authors. Many Irish writers, artists and educators who later gained prominence such as Benedict Kiely (1919-2007), Francis MacManus (1909-1965), and Augustine Martin (1935-1995) received their first opportunities to publish in the Annual. Other leading writers, politicians and public figures who contributed to the Annual included Pádraig Ó Siochfhradha (1883-1964), Pearse Hutchinson (1927-2012), Daniel Corkery (1878-1964), Alice Curtayne (1898-1981), Aodh de Blácam (1890-1951), Richard Mulcahy (1886-1971), Leon Ó Broin (1902-1990), Brian O’Higgins (1882-1963), and Francis Stuart (1902-2000). The collection also includes the correspondence files of the editors of the Annual. The principal correspondents were contributors to the publication (including some prominent literary and public figures). A significant photographic archive is also extant in the collection. The Annual’s extensive photographic features were a significant trait of the periodical. The publication’s photographic archive is particularly rich and constitutes a valuable record of life in Ireland in the twentieth century. The catalogue provides a detailed listing of this photographic archive which also includes many contemporary images relating to key events and figures in the Irish Revolution. The collection also includes a large assemblage of ephemera in the form of photoengraving plates and stereotype blocks used in the printing of The Capuchin Annual. The catalogue also lists a smaller collection of records relating to The Father Mathew Record (from 1968 titled Eirigh), a monthly temperance and mission magazine published by the Irish Capuchins. This catalogue complements the digitized editions of The Capuchin Annual (1930-77) which are accessible online at www.capuchinfranciscans.ie/capuchin-annual-1930-1977/
PDF 10: 10. Papers of ‘The Capuchin Annual’ and the Irish Capuchin Publications Office
Mission & Retreat Papers
(Picture: Capuchin missionaries blessing fishing boats at Brandon Pier, County Kerry, c.1930.)
The practice of preaching parish missions became widespread in Ireland after Catholic Emancipation in 1829. The upsurge in devotional practices and the dramatic increase in Mass attendance in the late nineteenth century ensured an increasing demand for local missions and retreats. Diocesan priests were not always plentiful so there was a general dependence upon religious orders for preaching and for parish mission work. The collection includes records relating to missions and retreats preached by the Irish Capuchin friars in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The collection also includes material relating to special temperance missions given by the friars in response to a call from the Irish Catholic hierarchy to undertake a nationwide total abstinence campaign in 1905. The missionary zeal of the friars ensured that their temperance work extended to almost every part of the country. From Falcarragh in north Donegal to Bantry in west Cork, and from Achill Island off the western seaboard to the urban centres of Dublin and Belfast, the Capuchins worked tirelessly on the temperance mission. Record series in the collection include lists of missions and retreats given by the Capuchins, mission accounts and commentaries, temperance and pledge-taking records, correspondence, publicity material, printed ephemera and newspaper reports on missions preached by the friars.
PDF 11: Mission and Retreat Papers
Papers of Ard Mhuire Capuchin Friary, County Donegal
(Picture: The exterior of Ard Mhuire Capuchin Friary (formerly Ards House), County Donegal, c.1945)
The collection consists of records relating to the Capuchin Franciscan community in Donegal and in particular to the foundation known as Ard Mhuire Friary (or Ards Friary) in the county. In March 1930 the Capuchin Franciscans purchased Ards House and its demesne located on the shores of Sheephaven Bay near Creeslough in County Donegal. The Order procured Ards House from the Irish Land Commission who had acquired the estate from its previous owners, the Stewart-Bam family, in 1926. Ards House was renamed Ard Mhuire Capuchin Friary. The old Ard Mhuire Friary served as a theological seminary and house of studies until 1966 when, owing to increasing numbers and the physical deterioration of the former landlord mansion, it had to be replaced by the present building which is now used as a retreat and conference centre for both religious and lay organizations. The collection includes legal records relating to the acquisition of Ards House from the Irish Land Commission, financial and business records, and photographic records assembled by individual members of the Capuchin community residing at Ard Mhuire. The collection also contains records relating to physical alterations to the Ard Mhuire foundation including correspondence, architectural plans and financial records relating to the construction of a new friary and house of studies on the existing site in the 1960s. Other records in the collection relate to Ard Mhuire’s use as a retreat and conference centre in the Diocese of Raphoe. Other records series include historical research papers, newspaper clippings, photographic records and ephemera compiled by various Capuchin friars relating to the history of the locality including material on the previous owners of the Ards estate in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
PDF 12: 12. Papers of Ard Mhuire Capuchin Friary, County Donegal