Rare MacSwiney letter up for grabs

A handwritten letter penned in Irish by former Cork lord mayor Terence MacSwiney could fetch up to €1,500 at an antique book fair this weekend.

In the one-page letter, MacSwiney invites his friend ‘Padraig’ to his house so his children can converse through Irish with his daughter Máire.

His sister, also Máire, who took over his Dáil seat after MacSwiney’s death after a 73-day hunger strike in Brixton Prison in Oct 1920, would also be present for the gathering MacSwiney wrote in the letter.

The item forms part of a selection of out-of-print, antiquarian and collectible books on all subjects, along with maps, prints, posters, and notes which will be on display at the Metropole Hotel on MacCurtain St tomorrow.

“Letters written in Irish by Terence MacSwiney are very scarce and this one will be of interest because it is evidence of his promotion of the Irish language.

“He felt it will be great for the children to meet and speak in Irish,” organiser Barbara O’Connell of Schull Books said.

She and her partner Jack rekindled the Cork book fair in 2010 after they found that many Munster-based literature enthusiasts were travelling to Dublin for their annual event in the capital.

Items from 16 booksellers all over Ireland will be on offer at the Metropole Hotel. One particular material of interest includes a GAA poster for the Brother Rice Cup match between Youghal and Lismore, held in Mar 1949.

* The Cork City Book Fair runs from 11am to 4pm tomorrow. Admission is €2.


Louisa Earls is a manager at Books Upstairs, D’Olier St, Dublin, which is owned by her father, Maurice Earls.Virus response writes a new chapter for Books Upstairs

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