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British and Irish Literature: Irish Poetry

Planning Your Research Visit to the Rose Library

Please note that not all manuscript collections are housed in the Rose Library. Some collections are located in an off-site storage facility and must be requested in advance. To ensure your timely accessibility to our collections on and off-site, we appreciate advance notice of the collections you intend to view.

We are happy to assist you as you prepare for your research visit. If you have any questions about our collections, questions regarding the Rose Library's researcher policies, and/or would like to request materials to be on hold for your research visit, please email to the attention of Research Services.

Manuscript Collections

Carson, Ciaran. (MSS 746). Papers, 1970-2002; 25.5 linear ft. (48 boxes, 27 oversized papers).

The personal papers of the Northern Irish poet Ciaran Carson (1948- ) include correspondence, literary manuscripts, literary notebooks, and collected printed material dating from the early 1970s up to 1997. The papers document Carson's creative career during those years, largely through the presence of numerous drafts of his published poems and other writings. Of special note are early "group sheets" from Philip Hobsbaum's creative writing sessions, known as The Belfast Group, in the early seventies. Among the correspondents represented in the papers are Peter Fallon, Tess Gallagher, Seamus Heaney, Medbh McGuckian, John Montague, and Frank Ormsby. Published works represented in the papers include: The New Estate (1976), The Lost Explorer (1978), The Irish for No (1987), Belfast Confetti (1989), First Language (1993), Opera Et Cetera (1996), Last Night’s Fun (1996), and The Star Factory (1997), as well as Carson's writings on traditional Irish music.


Coffey, Brian. (MSS 795). Collection, circa 1933-1976; .5 linear ft. (1 box, 2 oversized bound volumes).

The Brian Coffey collection includes one bound volume and two scrapbooks, in which Coffey tipped in manuscript drafts of many of his poems and a single box of manuscript drafts and related artwork. Represented in the collection are drafts of poems published in Three Poems (1933), Missouri Sequence (1961-65), Monster (1966), Selected Poems (1971), Advent (1975), The Big Laugh (1980), and The Death of Hektor (1980). The largest part of the collection relates to the composition of Monster and design of the published work.


Deane, Seamus. (MSS 1210). Papers; 6.25 linear ft. (7 boxes). 

The collection consists of the papers of Irish poet and educator Seamus Deane and contains writings by Deane and others, correspondence, journals, and business records. Writings by others include works by Brian Friel and Thomas Kilroy. The collection also contains materials relating to Seamus Heaney's work, particularly a draft of his 1975 poetry collection North. Significant correspondents include Denis Donoghue, Seamus Heaney (restricted), Thomas Kinsells, Michael and Edna Longley, Medbh McGuckian, Derek Mahon, and Tom Paulin.


Fallon, Peter/Gallery Press. (MSS 817). Collection, [1967-1998] 97 linear ft. (195 boxes, 127 oversized papers).

The Peter Fallon/Gallery Press collection contains personal and literary papers of Fallon, as well as files related to his publishing house, Gallery Press. Present in the Press’s files are many manuscript drafts of most of Ireland’s leading poets and playwrights of the last twenty-five years. Among them are Nuala Archer, John Banville, Brendan Behan, Moya Cannon, Marina Carr, Ciaran Carson, Harry Clifton, Michael Coady, Gerald Dawe, Seamus Deane, Sean Dunne, Paul Durcan, John Ennis, Padraic Fallon, Brian Friel, Eamon Grennan, Michael Hartnett, Seamus Heaney, John Hughes, Pearse Hutchinson, Brendan Kennelly, Thomas Kilroy, Michael Longley, Eugene McCabe, Mebdh McGuckian, Frank McGuinness, Tom MacIntyre, Derek Mahon, Paula Meehan, John Montague, Paul Muldoon, Thomas Murphy, Eilean NiChuilleanain, Nuala NiDhomhnaill, Frank Ormsby, James Simmons, and David Wheatley.


Foster, John Wilson. (MSS 1102). Papers, 1973-2003; 4.5 linear ft. (6 boxes).

The papers of John Wilson Foster include writings, correspondence, photographs, printed material, and writings by others. Writings by Foster include drafts of his critical work in addition to some original poetry. Also included are correspondence from and writings by many Irish writers, such as Seamus Heaney, Benedict Kiely, Philip Hobsbaum, Ciaran Carson, Gerald Dawe, Michael Longley, James Simmons, and others. The collections also includes correspondence and printed material relating to several conferences and summer programs, in addition to the publication of the Field Day Anthology of Irish Literature (Foster served as a contributing editor for this publication).








Gregory Family. (MSS 624). Papers, 1774-1932; 23.25 linear ft. (46 boxes, 7 bound volumes, 2 oversized bound volumes, 10 oversized papers).

The Gregory Family papers include papers of various members of the Gregory family as follows: papers of Robert Gregory (1727-1810), a director of the British East India Company, including correspondence, official documents, and printed material dating from 1774-1810, mostly concerning the Company (1 box); William H. Gregory (1762/6?-1840), Civil Under-Secretary for Ireland (1812-1831), including letters, account books, official and personal papers dating from 1794-1838, and Lady Gregory's typescripts of letters, some of which were included in Mr. Gregory's Letter Box, as well as her notes regarding the project (19 boxes); Robert Gregory (1790-1847) and Elizabeth O'Hara Gregory (1799-1875), including materials related to their financial affairs (1 box); W.H. (William Henry) Gregory (1817-1892), husband of Lady Gregory and member of the Irish Parliament, and later Governor-General of Ceylon, including correspondence, writings, financial and personal papers, and printed material dating from 1817-1900 (19 boxes, 3 scrapbooks, and 12 oversized folders); Lady Gregory (1852-1932), playwright, including family correspondence, general correspondence, writings, diaries, notebooks, financial and legal papers, and printed material dating from [1879-1930] (6 boxes, 4 scrapbooks); William Robert Gregory, dating from [1794-1923] (1 box); and one box of miscellaneous family material.


Grennan, Eamon. (MSS 1150). Papers, 1964-2010; 17.25 linear ft. (18 boxes and 1 oversized paper).

The papers include a small amount of correspondence, journals, writings, writings by others, teaching files, and printed material.


Irish Literary Miscellany. (MSS 794). Circa 1943-1991; .5 linear ft. (1 box, 1 oversized paper).

The Irish Literary miscellany contains individual items or small groups of papers that constitute an artificial collection. The assortment includes manuscripts, photographs, and theater programs related to authors including John Hewitt, Seamus Deane, John Montague, Thomas Kilroy and Brian Friel.


Kinsella, Thomas. (MSS 774). Papers, 1951-1995; 44 linear ft. (88 boxes, 5 oversized bound volumes, 95 oversized papers).

The Thomas Kinsella papers are largely made up of manuscript drafts of poems from each of Kinsella's published collections, beginning with his earliest chapbooks published in 1952 and continuing through his Collected Poems, published in 1996. These extensive files of manuscript drafts, typescripts, and proofs document in detail the development of Kinsella's poetry. Other materials related to the publication of his work is often present in the files, including materials related to design, printing, and promotion of the work. A small number of letters are also present in the files, usually correspondence that is also related to the publication or promotion of the work. In addition, the papers contain files related to his translation of Irish texts including files related to The Táin (1969), An Duanaire (1981), and the New Oxford Book of Irish Verse (1986), as well as drafts of his critical study of Ireland’s literary heritage, The Dual Tradition (1995). The collection also contains clippings, scrapbooks, and a small number of photographs. Peppercanister, 1972-1997: Twenty-five Years of Poetry (1997), a bibliography compiled by Stephen Enniss, is available for purchase from the department.


Longley, Michael. (MSS 744). Papers, 1960-2000; 40 linear ft. (81 boxes, 14 oversized papers).

The papers of Michael Longley include many drafts of poems from his very earliest work in the 1960s up to 1992, the year that he received the Whitbread Poetry Prize for Gorse Fires. All of Longley's major collections of poems are represented, as are his small press publications from this period. The collection also includes extensive files of correspondence, including letters from other contemporary writers (among them: Eavan Boland, Ciaran Carson, Gavin Ewart, Peter Fallon, Brian Friel, Seamus Heaney, Philip Hobsbaum, Jennifer Johnston, Medbh McGuckian, Derek Mahon, John Montague, Paul Muldoon, Frank Ormsby, Craig Raine, James Simmons, and Anthony Thwaite). Also present are original worksheets from the "Belfast Group" meetings that Longley attended in the 1960s.


MacNeice, Louis. (MSS 948). Collection, 1926-1959; .25 linear ft. (1 box).

This collection contains handwritten and typed letters from Louis MacNeice to various friends and colleagues and a manuscript review of George Johnston' translation of The Saga of Gisli.


Mahon, Derek. (MSS 1020). Collection, 1985-1988, 2000; 1 linear ft. (2 boxes).

The collection includes correspondence, literary manuscripts, and some printed material. Among his literary manuscripts are drafts of both published and unpublished poems, work on his volume of poems Antartica (1985), scripts and screenplays, and journalistic writing. In addition, this collection documents Mahon's work translating the poems of Philippe Jaccottet, which were collected under the title Selected Poems and published in 1988. Also present in this collection is some correspondence with other literary figures, including Michael and Edna Longley and Medbh McGuckian. Additionally, the collection includes correspondence and printed material relating to Mahon's six-month appointment in 1986 as the first writer in residence at Trinity College, Dublin.


Mahon, Derek. (MSS 1011). Letters to Louis Asekoff, 1963-1988; .25 linear ft. (1 box).

The collection consists of letters and postcards from Derek Mahon (1941- ) to Louis Asekoff from 1963-1988 and reflects their close literary and personal friendship which began when both were students at Trinity College, Dublin in the early sixties. Mahon's letters include references to poets and poetry, literary ambitions, teaching plans, reading tours, personal relationships, and visits with Asekoff. Many letters also include drafts of poems: "Breakfast at 'The Edge of the World," "La Condition Ouvriere," "Sisyphus," "North City South City," "In Carrowdore Churchyard," "A Disused Shed in Co. Wexford," "The Snow Party," and "The Joycentenary Ode."


Mahon, Derek. (MSS 689). Papers, 1948-2000; 29 linear ft. (57 boxes, 16 oversized papers).

The Derek Mahon papers are composed of correspondence, literary manuscripts, collected printed material, photographs, and legal and financial papers. The papers document Derek Mahon's creative work during the last twenty years, including the poetry collections A Kensington Notebook (1984), Antarctica (1985), A Yaddo Letter (1992), The Hudson Letter (1995), and The Yellow Book (1998). In addition, his writing for television and the stage, as well as his journalistic writing during this period are amply documented. The papers also include correspondence with other literary figures, including: Samuel Beckett, Sara Berkeley, Brian Friel, Seamus Heaney, Anthony Hecht, Michael Longley, W.S. Merwin, John Montague, and James Simmons. Printed material, either by or about Derek Mahon or collected by him, is also present, as are a small number of photographs and financial papers from this same period.


McBreen, Joan. (MSS 1088). Papers, 12.25 linear ft. (13 boxes, 3 oversized papers).

The collection consists of the personal and literary papers of Joan McBreen, including correspondence, writings, photographs, audiovisual material and printed material. Much of the correspondence and collected printed material relates to the publication of The White Page: Twentieth-Century Irish Women Poets.


McGuckian, Medbh. (MSS 770). Papers, 1969-1994; 42.5 linear ft. (87 boxes, 28 oversized papers).

The Medbh McGuckian papers include literary and personal papers of the poet Medbh McGuckian from 1969-1994. The bulk of the collection consists of drafts of McGuckian's own writings, including drafts of poems from The Flower Master (1982), Venus and the Rain (1984), On Ballycastle Beach (1988), and Marconi’s Cottage (1991). Also present are extensive files of personal and literary correspondence including letters from Paul Durcan, Tess Gallagher, Seamus Heaney, Jennifer Johnston, Michael Longley, Paul Muldoon, and Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill. The collection also includes writings by others (including student writing), subject files, collected printed material either by or about Medbh McGuckian, photographs, and an audiotaped recording of Comhra with McGuckian and Ni Dhomhnaill.


Muldoon, Paul. (MSS 784). Papers, ca. 1968-1996; 25 linear ft. (47 boxes, 162 oversized papers).

The Paul Muldoon papers are composed primarily of the manuscript drafts of Paul Muldoon's creative work from his earliest writings in the late 1960s up to 1996. The papers also contain correspondence received by him from ca. 1968 to 1996, including personal and professional letters. A small number of letters by Paul Muldoon are also present. A number of manuscripts by other writers (including Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, and Derek Mahon) may also be found in the papers, as well as photographs, and a small number of sound and audio recordings.


O’Grady, Desmond. (MSS 911). Papers; 1953-2001; 38.5 linear ft. (78 boxes and 12 oversized papers).

The collection of poet Desmond O’Grady (1929- ) includes correspondence (ca. 1955-2000), literary notebooks, manuscripts, typescripts, and proofs (translations of Cavafy, The Wandering Celt, Trawling Tradition, Gododdin); some clippings and printed material (including early issues of The Limerick Socialist with O'Grady contributions); and appointment calendars. By far the largest portion of the collection is correspondence including letters from Sebastian Barry, Samuel Beckett, Dermot Bolger, Brian Friel, Eamon Grennon, Seamus Heaney, Brendan Kennelly, Benedict Kiely, Tom MacIntyre, Derek Mahon, Liam Miller, and others.


Ormsby, Frank. (MSS 805). Papers; 22.5 linear ft. (40 boxes, 20 oversized papers).

The papers of poet and editor Frank Ormsby include manuscripts and typescripts of writings by Ormsby, personal and professional correspondence relating to his editorship of The Honest Ulsterman (1969-1989) and various anthologies, collected printed materials, and photographs.


Paulin, Tom. (MSS 880). Papers, 1972-2000; 51 linear ft. (85 boxes, 8 oversized papers).

The papers of Tom Paulin (1949- ), British poet and critic, include manuscript drafts of all of Paulin's poetry and criticism, photographs, and personal correspondence, in addition to letters from fellow poets Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon and Ted Hughes. The collection includes materials documenting the history of the Field Day Theatre Company which Paulin joined as a co-director in 1981.








Sered, Danielle, Interviewer. Irish Women’s Poetry Oral History Collection. (MSS 853). 1999; 1 linear ft. (3 boxes).

Present in this collection are fourteen audio tape interviews conducted by Danielle Sered in June and July 1999 with the following Irish women poets: Eva Bourke, Vona Groarke, Kerry Hardie, Anne Hartigan, Rita Ann Higgins, Medbh McGuckian, Paula Meehan, Eileen Ni Chuilleanain, Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, Mary O’Donnell, Sheila O’Hagen, and Mary O’Malley.


Simmons, James. (MSS 759) . Papers, 1945-1996; 39 linear ft. (78 boxes and 20 oversized papers).

The James Simmons papers include an extensive range of literary and personal papers relating to Simmons' life and work from the 1940's to the late 1980s. Present are many drafts of poems, as well as essays, other prose, lecture notes, and personal diaries. The extensive files of correspondence include letters from many prominent writers, among them Brian Friel, Tony Harrison, Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, Derek Mahon, and Wole Soyinka. Among the activities documented in this correspondence is the founding of The Honest Ulsterman in 1968 and Simmon's participation in Philip Hobsbaum's "Belfast Group" Also present are numerous clippings and other collected printed material related to Simmons' activities and interests. Restrictions: Letters by Seamus Heaney are closed without the written permission of Seamus Heaney.

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