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British and Irish Literature: Irish Drama

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 Collection

Abbey Theatre. (MSS 244). Collection, 1925-1942, 1944; 4 linear ft. (8 boxes).

The Abbey Theatre, organized in 1904, grew from the Irish National Theatre Society. Indicative of its association with Irish nationalism and the literary renaissance, the opening night of the theatre presented short works by W. B. Yeats, Lady Gregory, and John M. Synge. This collection of materials relating to the Abbey Theatre includes 22 play parts (typescript portions of plays produced at the theatre, some with holograph annotations), and approximately 467 programs for plays produced at the theatre from 1925 to 1942. Also present is correspondence of Eric Gorman, the Secretary of the National Theatre Society, with such writers as Sean O'Casey regarding the productions of the theatre.


Beckett, Samuel. (MSS 902). Collection, 1955-1996; .5 linear ft. (1 box, 4 oversized papers).

After receiving degrees from Trinity College, Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) soon established himself in the city that would become his home, Paris, writing a large body of his work in French, including both Waiting for Godot (En attendant Godot) and Endgame (Fin de Partie), the plays for which he is most famous. Author of six novels, four long plays, and dozens of short plays, stories, poems, essays, and radio and television scripts, Beckett won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1969. The collection consists of playbills for performances of Beckett plays at various theaters.


Friel, Brian. (MSS 732). Collection, 1966-1991; .5 linear ft. (1 box, 5 oversized papers).

Brian Friel is best-known as a dramatist; he is often referred to as Ireland's greatest living playwright. Among his most well-known plays are Philadelphia, Here I Come! (1964), Translations (1980), and Dancing at Lughnasa (1991). Friel also co-founded the Field Day Theatre Company with Stephen Rea in 1980. The collection includes a single typescript of The Loves of Cass McGuire, numerous articles about Friel and reviews of his plays, theater programs and promotional posters, an undated photograph of Friel, and an original cartoon of Friel by Martyn Turner for The Irish Times. In addition, the collection includes printed material relating to the Field Day Theatre Company and Publishing House.


Robinson, Lennox. (MSS 246). Collection, 1940-1958; 1 linear ft. (2 boxes).

Lennox Robinson (1886-1958), an Irish playwright, manager, producer, director, and editor, was appointed producer and manager of the Abbey Theatre by W.B. Yeats and Lady Gregory in 1909. The collection includes manuscripts of a number of Lennox Robinson's writings on W.B. Yeats and correspondence related to the Yeats Memorial Fund (established in 1953). Present are drafts of Robinson's contribution to Scattering Branches: Tributes to the Memory of W.B. Yeats (1940), a description of Yeats' funeral, and a single manuscript discussing Yeats' later poems. The correspondence dates from the 1950s and concerns fund-raising activities of the Yeats Memorial Fund and the means of perpetuating the memory of Yeats and his work.

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