Cork receives valuable donation of archive from early 20th century

The late Diarmaid L Fawsitt archive provides insight into Cork ’s cultural and political life

Cork City Archives have welcomed the donation of a family archive which provides an insight into the cultural and political life of Cork during the revolutionary period.

Cork City Archivist, Brian McGee said the personal archive of the late Diarmaid L Fawsitt provided an important insight into life in Cork in the early years of the last century as Irish nationalism began to assert itself.

Mr McGee said the late Mr Fawsitt, who was born near Blarney Street on Cork’s Northside in 1884 and died in 1967, was a significant figure in the political and cultural life of Cork during the revolutionary period.

"Diarmaid L Fawsitt was active in cultural, industrial and nationalist circles, including the Celtic Literary Society, Sinn Féin, the Gaelic League, Cork National Theatre Society, and especially the Cork Industrial Development Association. "


Mr McGee noted that in November 1913, Fawsitt, who worked for a time as a journalist, attended the inaugural meeting of the Irish Volunteers in Dublin, and was inducted into the Irish Republican Brotherhood.

“In December 1913 he was one of the co-founders of the Cork Corps of the Irish Volunteers at Cork City Hall, later becoming chairperson of the executive, so he was centrally involved,” said Mr McGee.

War of Independence

He said during the War of Independence, Arthur Griffith sent Fawsitt to the United States where, based in New York, he served as consul and trade commissioner of the Irish Republic.

Fawsitt was also a technical advisor for the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations in 1921-22 and he later became a senior civil servant in the Department of Industry and Commerce, before becoming a judge of the Circuit Court.

“Fawsitt’s archive comprises a large collection of documents such as letters, diaries, photographs, news clippings, articles, speeches, lectures, and ephemera related to his involvement in many causes and organisations,” Mr McGee said.

"The archive also contains more personal material and is of high quality and has been kept with care over generations by the Fawsitt family and is a valuable addition to our collection here in Blackpool, " he said.

Accepting the archive from the Fawsitt family, Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr John Sheehan paid tribute to all those involved in donating the collection and said it would prove a major boon to Cork historians.

“Thanks to the kind generosity of the Fawsitt family, the archive is now a permanent public resource in Cork, to be made available once it has been conserved, catalogued and processed by the Archives.

"The archive will be a major research asset for historians of 20th century Ireland, and its donation is a significant contribution to our Cork Decade of Centenaries commemorations of the revolutionary period".

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times