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Letter from Mary Rose Cunningham to Grace Watt.

Cunningham writes to Watt regarding her husband, Cyril Cusack's, recent death and thanks Watt for her letter of sympathy. Cunningham discusses how Cusack and Watt 'went back along [sic] way', how Cusack had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease the previous April, and her wish that Watt and Cusack could have met again before his death.

Also includes a related note from Watt to Colum Kenny describing Cusack's death as '[t]he end of a particularly happy period in the latter part of [my] life which I owe entirely to you. If you had not spoken to Cyril none of this could have happened.' Watt included this note with the letter from Cunningham when she forwarded them onto Kenny in November 1993.

Letters from Cyril Cusack to Colum Kenny.

Two typed and signed letters from Cusack to Kenny dated 17 September and 4 October 1990. Cusack writes from London where he is acting [in a production of Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters at the Royal Court Theatre] and thanks Kenny for passing on a letter from Grace Watt (née Muggeridge), and for Kenny’s invitation to visit his house in Bray (1 Herbert Terrace). The Muggeridge family had lived in the house in the 1920s, and Cusack and his mother had lived with them for two to three years around 1922. Cusack discusses his recent attempt at writing an autobiography and remembers Grace and the Muggeridge family fondly.

Letters from Cyril Cusack to Grace Watt.

17 September 1990 - C2/3/3/3 (1)
Typed and signed 4-page letter. Cusack writes from London where he is acting in a production of Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters at the Royal Court Theatre. He discusses how he had met Colum Kenny at an event at the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, [in 1989] and that Kenny had mentioned 'that a woman called Grace Muggeridge' had called to his house in Bray and that he had a letter from her which he would like to show to him. He mentions that Kenny subsequently shared some letters from Watt with him. Cusack notes that it is 70 years since Watt and he have been in contact and goes on to recall various individuals and events from his time living with the Muggeridge family in 1922 (such as seeing the local barracks in Bray on fire during the Civil War). File also includes a photocopy of the letter.

29 March 1991 - C2/3/3/3 (2)
Typed and signed 1-page letter. Cusack writes from London where he is 'selling [his] soul to the Devil' [sic] doing a commercial. He mentions that he is travelling between Dublin, Paris and London over the next few weeks and regrets that he is neglecting to write his autobiography. He agrees with Watt that it would be good to meet and suggests doing so during his 'next trip over'. He also mentions that 'I think you must have had the news of Jeremy's win before I did. I'm glad he got it, he's a good lad as well as being a good actor.' [This possibly refers to Jeremy Irons winning the Academy Award for Best Actor on 25 March 1991 for the film Reversal of Fortune. Jeremy is married to Cusack's daughter Sinéad].

11 April 1991 - C2/3/3/3 (3)
Typed and signed 1-page letter. Cusack writes from Dublin that he has also read 'the Tim Pat Coogan, a big job of work, with a big bias against Dev [Eamon de Valera]. And I'm something of a Dev man, like it or not' [this may refer to Tim Pat Coogan's book, Michael Collins, which was first published in 1991]. He discusses one of his own poems relating to the Anglo-Irish Treaty from his book, Between the Acts and Other Poems, and ponders he and Grace could meet up. He suggests 'somewhere in the Chiswick [London] vicinity' but 'wish[es] it could be here' [Dublin].

23 April 1991 - C2/3/3/3 (4)
Typed and signed 1-page letter. Cusack writes from London where he is 'just back from Paris' and 'on-going to Dublin TO-DAY' [sic] and is thus unable to meet Watt. He mentions that at the beginning of May he will be in Stonyhurst [Lancashire, England] 'on a documentary about the Jesuits (!!!)' [sic], and in the west of Ireland 'on a film for Hollywood.'

14 May 1991 - C2/3/3/3 (5)
Typed and signed 2-page letter. Cusack writes from Dublin detailing his 'tiresome' schedule of work and travel including having to travel to Dingle, County Kerry, in two days to rehearse 'with current film idol, Tom Cruise' [?for the film Far and Away]. He writes of recent experiences as an 'octogenarian in solitary near-confinement', including locking himself out of his house three times, and of another 'crisis' when he forgot to bring money to the supermarket, had to borrow 'a tenner' from the local newsvendor, and having his 'lamb chop' stolen on his return home by a stray cat because he left the back door of the house open.

5 June 1991 - C2/3/3/3 (6)
Holograph letter 2-page letter. Cusack writes from London that he is 'chasing back to Ireland in a day or two' having worked on a documentary 'for American TV’ on Stonyhurst, '[t]he Jesuit College'. A further day of filming is planned for early July in London and he wonders if 'we might strike up then?' Mentions that he 'has to come up with the "few words"' having been asked to open the Synge Summer School [Cusack opened the inaugural John Millington Synge summer school in Rathdrum, County Wicklow].

8 August 1992 - C2/3/3/3 (7)
Holograph 2-page letter. Cusack writes [from Dublin] and opens the letter with: 'a Ghráinne, a ghráibh (did you know your name in Irish?)'. Mentions that he has 'to be brief this time – as time is running out' and that 'my recent effort on stage – The Cherry Orchard – sees me out ... curtains for Cusack!' [Cusack acted in a production of Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard at the Gate Theatre as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival in 1992].

20 September 1992 - C2/3/3/3 (8)
Typed and signed 1-page letter. Cusack writes from Dublin saying that he 'may not properly have answered [Watt's] letter of the 30th July'. Mentions 'volley' of photographs Watt has received from him and that his 'actor's ego is unsurmountable; can't help it.' Also mentions a previous query from Watt which he failed to answer about 'Colm Kenny's request regarding my stay with the Muggeridge's' [sic]. He tells Watt to 'go ahead with whatever you may like to say' [Colum Kenny was writing an article at the time about Cusack and Number 1 Herbert Terrace. See Watt's letter to Colum and Catherine Kenny dated 8 October 1992; item C2/3/3/1 (11)]. He also notes that he never referred to a letter from George [Muggeridge, Grace's brother, who lived in Australia] to Sir Garfield Barwick, [seventh Chief Justice of Australia, and George's wife's brother-in-law], and Cusack notes that 'George didn't take too readily to Ireland or the Irish' [Cusack and George were childhood friends when they lived in Bray. See Cusack's letter to Watt dated 17 September 1990; item C2/3/3/3 (1)]. Cusack mentions that he is '(supposedly) engaged [...] on an autobiography' but is 'slipping into fatigue, whether permanently or otherwise [...]' An attempt was made to block out part of a line in the letter with black marker [?whether this was blocked out by Cusack, Watt or Colum Kenny is unclear]. The line appears to read: 'Possibly for that reason three of my progeny appear to have alienated themselves from their father.' A typed note by Watt addressed to Colum Kenny is included with the letter in which she gives the context for Cusack’s mention of Kenny in the letter.

14 December 1992 - C2/3/3/3 (9)
Typed and signed 2-page letter with handwritten annotation by Cusack. Written in Dublin, the letter discusses Cusack's salary at the Abbey Theatre 'in those happy days', his recent health and reminisces about various childhood sweethearts. His handwritten annotation discusses his first wife, Maureen Cusack (née Kiely), whom he describes as a 'good actress' and a 'favourite of [Micheál] Mac Liammóir' [co-founder of the Gate Theatre]. Included is a typed note from Watt to Colum Kenny giving further context to Cusack's remark in his letter that he would 'not have been quite up to [Watt's] requirements and regulations even for a proposal.'

[?1993] - C2/3/3/3 (10)
Holograph 2-page letter. Cusack writes from London that he thought they 'might meet up this time but now it seems not like it.' He says he is 'afraid that my acting career is at an end, due to increasing deafness – a rotten complaint – on the stage [...]' He suggests though that he 'may yet be able for cinema or TV'. Letter also includes a typed note from Watt to Colum Kenny saying: 'On reading this again it seems rather prophetic.'

Letters from Eric Cross to Colum Kenny.

File consists of three letters (dated 28 July 1978; [September-October] 1978; and [November] 1978) mainly concerning Cross' book The Tailor and Ansty; Kenny's documentary and his attempt to find someone to interview who was critical of Cross' book; and an RTÉ dramatisation of the book which was broadcast on the same night as the documentary on 31 October 1978. File also includes a note by Cross about the 'unbanning' of the book [in the 1950s] and its reissue in 1964.

Letters from Fr Brendan Bradshaw, Queens’ College, Cambridge, UK to Colum Kenny.

Includes two brief letters from Bradshaw. In the first letter dated 23 September 1988, he thanks Kenny for the ‘offprint and review both of which I read with considerable interest and much to my benefit.’ He notes that '[t]he revisionists here and elsewhere are simply exchanging one distortion with another. Your careful research goes towards correcting both.' In the second letter, with postmark dated 5 November 1990 [according to a pencil annotation by Colum Kenny], Bradshaw thanks Kenny for ‘the encouraging letter regarding my article in I.H.S. [Irish Historical Studies].’ Referencing revisionism again, he adds: ‘I realise that I am swimming against the current and have no doubt that a price will have to be paid in some form or another. For the moment, however, the strategy seems to be to allow the anti-revisionist flak to spend itself before mounting a counter-assault.’

Also includes Kenny’s journal article ‘The Exclusion of Catholics from the legal profession in Ireland, 1537-1829’ published in volume XXV, number 100 (November 1987) of Irish Historical Studies. This is possibly a copy of the ‘offprint’ that Bradshaw references in the first letter. Kenny references Bradshaw’s book The Dissolution of the Religious Orders in Ireland under Henry VIII (Cambridge, 1974) in this article.

Letters from Grace Watt to Colum and Catherine Kenny.

The majority of the letters are addressed to both Colum and Catherine Kenny, while some are only addressed to Colum. All letters are typed and signed, some include handwritten annotations. File also includes copy letters from George Muggeridge (Grace's brother) and Sir Garfield Barwick (friend of George Muggeridge). Watt often mentions that she has included photographs with the letters. Some of these photographs are included in files C2/3/3/6-8, but several are not included in the collection.

21 September 1988 – C2/3/3/1 (1)
Encloses photographs of the Muggeridge family at 1 Herbert Terrace, Herbert Road, Bray, County Wicklow in the 1920s. Also shares photos of her current home in Harrow, London, and of a recent trip to visit her brother George in Australia [photographs not included with letter]. Thanks Colum and Catherine Kenny for their welcome when Grace and her husband Jack (John) visited in the summer of 1988. Related photograph of George Muggeridge is included in this series [see item C2/3/3/6].

28 September 1988 – C2/3/3/1 (2)
Encloses photographs of their visit to 1 Herbert Terrace in 1988 [photographs not included with letter].

9 January 1990 – C2/3/3/1 (3)
Sends Christmas greetings and says: 'Delighted to hear of your recent encounter with Cyril Cusack (known to me as Cyril O'Rourke)' [sic]. Also mentions: 'My beloved brother George passed away on 16th Dec[ember 1989].'

19 September 1990 – C2/3/3/1 (4)
Includes a copy of letter she received from Cyril dated 17 September 1990. Writes to Colum Kenny: 'I had one of the nicest surprises of my life today and it was all due to you!'

5 November 1990 – C2/3/3/1 (5)
Gives details of Bray in the 1920s, family history of 1 Herbert Terrace, and moving back to England in 1926. Says that she is waiting to hear back from Cyril. Asks Colum and Catherine Kenny to confirm her recollections of Michael Collins' funeral.

6 February 1991 – C2/3/3/1 (6)
Thanks Colum and Catherine Kenny for Christmas cards and views of Bray. Mentions her admiration for Cyril and that she is a year younger than him. Encloses her last photograph of 1 Herbert Terrace.

11 December 1991 – C2/3/3/1 (7)
Mentions that she and Cyril have been writing to one another, but that they are struggling to find time to meet. Notes that she is going to be 80 years old in March.

11 January 1992 – C2/3/3/1 (8)
Thanks the Kennys for Christmas card and for informing the Watts about works to 1 Herbert Terrace. Reminisces about travelling abroad for past Christmases.

22 January 1992 – C2/3/3/1 (9)
Mentions that she has been reading Cyril Cusack's book of poetry Between the Acts and Other Poems.

12 August 1992 – C2/3/3/1 (10)
File consists of a letter from Grace to Colum Kenny, and photocopies of two letters between Sir Garfield Barwick and George Muggeridge. Grace's letter discusses her brother George in Australia and how she had previously sent him audio tapes recorded during her and Jack's visit to Ireland in 1988. According to the letter, George and his wife ['Val'] wrote to Val's sister and husband [Sir Garfield Barwick], and Grace encloses copies of their correspondence and notes that she has also sent copies to Cyril. Grace shares reminiscences about 1 Herbert Terrace and of Cyril and George being in the sea scouts as children.

In the letter from Sir Garfield Barwick, he tells George Muggeridge that he enjoyed the audio tape of Grace and John Watt's visit to Ireland very much, and tells George that he never told him why he decided to come to Australia. George writes back and shares details of his personal and family history. Discusses living in Bray briefly and the hardship his family experienced in Ireland: 'They [the Irish people] treated him [George's father] very badly, burnt down his shop and robbed him of equipment'. See also letter dated 20 September 1992 from Cyril Cusack to Grace Watt regarding these letters.

8 October 1992 – C2/3/3/1 (11)
Grace apologies for delay forwarding on Cyril's remarks about Colum Kenny's proposal to write an article on Cyril and Number 1 Herbert Terrace. Passes on Cyril's remarks from a letter to her dated 20 September 1992: 'That's alright, go ahead with whatever you may like to say, whether good or bad but not indifferent.' Notes that Cyril has said that he is going to retire soon and that he plans to write an autobiography.

7 March 1993 – C2/3/3/1 (12)
Thanks Kenny for sending on a draft of his writings on 'The History of Herbert Terrace, Bray' ('one of the loveliest surprises I have ever had'). Mentions that Cyril's wife [Mary Rose Cunningham] telephoned about trying to meet in London in March.

13 March 1993 – C2/3/3/1 (13)
Sends condolences on the deaths of both Colum and Catherines' fathers. Discuss the recession and how it is a challenging time to be raise a family. Grace says she has sent copies of Colum's History of Number 1 Herbert Terrace to her bother George's widow, Val, and to Val's sister [Norma ('Lady Barwick')] and her husband Sir Garfield Barwick.

13 October 1993 – C2/3/3/1 (14)
Thanks Kenny for passing on newspaper cuttings regarding death of Cyril Cusack. Discusses Cyril's health and references to this in his letters, his sense of humour. Grace notes that she got the impression from his letters that he lived alone. Mentions her friendship with her grand-nephew, Jim Hall, and his interest in the family's connection to Ireland.

27 October 1993 – C2/3/3/1 (15)
Discusses Colum Kenny's article in Bray People [published 15 October 1993] about Cyril, Grace and Number 1 Herbert Terrace [this article is included in this series, see file C2/3/3/9]. Discusses her willingness to give Colum the original letters from Cyril: 'I feel most strongly that you are the only person who understands my affection for Cyril.' Says she will add any necessary comments to letters. Discusses Cyril's life, saying it 'seemed to be a little but odd'. Reminisces about activities they got up to in Bray as children and her friendship with 'Mrs Sutton', a Bray resident.

[?18 November 1993] – C2/3/3/1 (16)
Undated letter, but sent on 18 November 1993 according to a handwritten annotation in pen on the first page of the letter [?by Colum Kenny]. Discusses that her husband Jack (John) had a transient stroke; how she hurt her foot while helping him, and their trip to the hospital. Also notes that she has forwarded on the letters and photographs she received from Cyril to Colum Kenny. Also included is the envelope in which the letters were originally contained.

7 January 1994 – C2/3/3/1 (17)
Two letters. Notes that the other letter of the same date gives him 'permission to donate Cusack correspondence to library' [?National Library of Ireland]. Also includes discussion of her getting a word processor; Colum's mother being unwell; Jack's transient stroke, and thanks Colum for forwarding on articles about Cyril. The second letter in the file details the transfer of ownership to Kenny of the letters Grace received from Cyril.

28 August 1994 – C2/3/3/1 (18)
Encloses photographs of Jack (John) and herself. Mentions that Jack recently turned 80 years of age; discusses his birthday celebrations; her grandnephew Jim Hall's travels in Malaysia and Indonesia, and their correspondence with one another.

Letters from Nancy McCarthy-Allitt to Colum Kenny.

File consists of seven letters (dated 16 July 1978; 20 August 1978; 16 September [1978]; 1 October 1978; 7 November 1978; 18 December 1978; and 1 May 1980). McCarthy-Allitt was interviewed by Kenny for the documentary in 1978 and the letters concern her memories of her close friends Timothy (‘the Tailor’) and Anastasia ('Ansty') Buckley, arrangements for the interview, her praise for the finished documentary and Kenny's professionalism, and reaction to the documentary from customers in her chemist shop in Douglas, Cork. Other notable friends of McCarthy-Allitt mentioned in the letters include Seán O’Faoláin, Frank O’Connor and Seamus Murphy. File also includes a poem by O’Connor, 'In Memory of Timothy Buckley "The Tailor"', in McCarthy-Allitt's handwriting.

Some of the corresponding letters from Colum Kenny to McCarthy-Allitt are available in the Nancy McCarthy Collection, Archives Service, UCC Library, University College Cork.

Media career and general correspondence.

Mainly concerns the production of various radio and television documentaries, but also includes correspondence between Colum and a range of figures and organisations on topics such as revisionism in Irish historiography, the inclusion of Ireland under the designation ‘British Isles’ during SKY News television broadcasts and Channel 4's attitude to Ireland and the reporting of Irish affairs.

Metal case container

Fearing that the Germans would invade Switzerland during the Second World War, Lester buried his diaries in this metal case next to a bench in the Palais des Nations in Geneva. This is likely why the diary entries stop in 1942.

Michael B Kenny

Sub-fonds consists of a few items relating to Michael B Kenny’s career in advertising. These include a brief history of the Kenny’s Advertising Agency written by Michael, and two photographs: one of the Council of the Advertising/Press Club in 1956 or 1957, and the other of the Kenny’s Advertising Agency premises at Lower Baggot Street, Dublin. Sub-fonds also includes a short biography of Michael [?written by his son Colum Kenny].

Kenny, Michael

Newspaper cutting from the Evening Herald concerning a campaign to make St Patrick's Day a national holiday.

Newspaper cutting includes a report of a meeting of the National Holiday Committee campaigning for St Patrick’s Day to be made a national holiday. Those reported as present included Kevin J Kenny. Cutting also includes letter received from Archbishop of Dublin, William J Walsh in support of the campaign.

Note discussing the proposed cessation of Civil War hostilities

Stencil copy of typed single page. Lists conditions upon which a cessation of hostilities may occur. One of the conditions includes the '[d]eclaration of [Éamon] De Valera and [WT] Cosgrove [sic] that unless requested by two-thirds of new Parliament neither will accept office of head of State.'

Note from Major-General Aylmer Hunter-Weston CB DSO to the 29th Division of the British Army on the eve of the landings at Gallipoli, 25 April 1915.

Undated printed page which reads:

'Personal note from Major-General Aylmer Hunter-Weston, C.B., D.S.O., to each man of the 29th Division on the occasion of their first going into action together. The Major-General Commanding congratulates the division on being selected for an enterprise the success of which will have a decisive effect on the War. The eyes of the world are upon us and your deeds will live in history. To us now is given an opportunity of avenging our friends and relatives who have fallen in France and Flanders. Our comrades there willingly gave their lives in thousands and tens of thousands for our King and Country, and by their glorious courage and dogged tenacity they defeated the invaders and broke the German offensive. We must also be prepared to suffer hardships, privations, thirst, and heavy losses, by bullets, by shells, by mines, by drowning. But if each man feels, as is true, that on him individually, however small or however great his task, rests the success or failure of the expedition, and therefore the honour of the empire and the welfare of his own folk at home, we are certain to win through to a glorious victory. In Nelson’s time it was England, now it is the whole British Empire, which expects each man of us will do his duty. A. H-W.' Major-General Aylmer Hunter-Weston was commander of the British 29th Division on the Gallipoli peninsula in April 1915. 'Keep this and never loose [sic] it' is written in pencil underneath Hunter-Weston's message. Another lightly written and mostly illegible note in pencil is also visible on the reverse of the page.

Note from Roger Casement to 'the Manager' of The Nationist newspaper.

Undated note from Roger Casement to 'The Manager, The Nationist, 53 Middle Abbey Street, Dublin'. Note reads: 'Dear Sir, I should be obliged if you would now send my copy of The Nationist to the Quay, Ballycastle, Antrim, instead of to the English address hitherto given. Yours faithfully, Roger Casement.'

The note is handwritten on headed paper from Exchange Station Hotel (Lanc & York Rly), Liverpool [the address is scored out]. The Nationist, edited by Tom Kettle, was a weekly newspaper that appeared in 1905 and 1906. Kenny was the business manager of the newspaper.

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