Introduction to the Cahir Healy Papers

Date published: 21 November 2007

Part of: Significant privately deposited archives , H - Significant privately deposited archives

This is a document summarising some of the most interesting and significant content within the Cahir Healy archive (D2991) held in PRONI.


The Cahir Healy papers compromise around 3,000 documents and 24 volumes, around 1900 to 1970, and are the political, literary and personal papers of Cahir Healy (1877 to 1970), the Nationalist politician.  He was Westminster MP for Fermanagh and Tyrone, 1922 to 1924 and 1931 to 1935 and for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, 1950 to 1955, and Stormont MP for Fermanagh and Tyrone, 1925 to 1929, and for South Fermanagh, 1929 to 1965.

The following is a brief (a fuller one follows later) description of the archive.  It consists of:

Healy's political correspondence in which the principal correspondents are Nationalist and Ulster Unionist politicians such as Alex E. Donnelly, Patrick Maxwell, Anthony Mulvey, Eddie McAteer, Sir Basil Brooke, later 1st Viscount Brookeborough, Capt. Terence O'Neill and Brian Faulkner, and also prominent Irish Americans and leading members of political parties and organisations in the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain, 1924 to 1970;

General correspondence relating mainly to his historical and literary activities and constituency matters, 1900 to 1969;

Undated, miscellaneous literary and historical articles, plays, novels and poems written by Healy together with autobiographical accounts of his early life and political career, including his internment on board the prison ship 'Argenta', 1922 to 1924;

Scrapbooks, notebooks, pamphlets and newspaper cuttings relating to his literary and political activities, Nationalist politics and elections, around 1900 to 1970.

The first part of the Cahir Healy papers was deposited in PRONI in 1974 and the second in 1978. In 1977, Dr Eamon Phoenix, then an MA student in the Modern History Department, QUB, undertook a sorting and calendaring of the papers as the project part of his MA in historiography and historical method.  Dr Phoenix's introduction to the calendar of the papers was duly presented as part of his course work.  

After this, he was employed in a temporary capacity by PRONI to sort and roughly list the further deposit of Healy papers which was made in 1978, and to integrate them with the papers deposited in 1974.  On his work, in these two capacities, the arrangement, list and description of the archive are based. 

He has since published Northern Nationalism: Nationalist Politics, Partition and the Catholic Minority in Northern Ireland, 1890-1940 (Belfast, 1994).  In the following (very much abbreviated) version of his introduction to the archive, footnote references have been omitted, because the reader can now turn to Northern Nationalism for the source and authority for all quotations and statements up to 1940.


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