Kevin Barry's last letter


Madam, – Perhaps it is indicative of where we are at as a society that the sale of historical documents such as Kevin Barry’s last letter merit little serious analysis or debate in your paper beyond its potential market value (Home News, April 13th). It is a given that public institutions will enter into the fray to bid for such items, but surely an argument should be made for the preservation of our historical record rather than for its commercial dispersal.

Our historical record might indeed be a little more complete if owners, vendors and/or purchasers were at the very least required to submit details of all such sales to a central cultural repository so that the final location of any “lot” can be formally recorded.

It should be noted that our French colleagues, who have the fortunate resource of much more extensive institutional collections, may define such records, either private or public, as “historical archives” and therefore as items of public interest. Such records become the property of the state and the previous owner is paid indemnity. – Yours, etc,


Head of Special Collections,

Archives and Repository


Boole Library,

University College Cork,

College Road,