CollectionThe O'Mara Papers
Collection DescriptionThe O’Mara Papers comprise predominantly business and personal records created and generated by Stephen O’Mara Junior (1884-1959) in the course of his life. Material relating to his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings is perfunctory. One of the most significant aspects of the collection is material relating to the O’Brien family of Boru House, particularly the private correspondence of the novelist Kate O’Brien with her sisters, brother-in-law and nephew. The letters illuminate O’Brien’s method of writing, the creative process behind each of her novels and the ups and downs of her career as author. They also reveal her complete lack of financial acumen, her tendency to live wildly beyond her means, and her lifelong dependency on the fiscal good will of Anne and Stephen O’Mara. Of Kate O’Brien’s private life the letters reveal almost nothing, demonstrating a high degree of circumspectness and a tendency to compartmentalise various aspects of her life. The one rare exception is correspondence relating to her brief marriage and its aftermath in 1922-1925 which, while not revelatory as such, exposes a more vulnerable aspect of Kate’s personality. [University of Limerick Special Collection and Archives]
Collection Web Address

The papers have been divided into three series: business records (concerning the Irish Bacon Company), family records (concerning the O’Mara and O’Brien families) and photographs.


V. ANNE O’MARA NÉE O’BRIEN (1843-1975)

1. Correspondence (1915-1973)

(a) Business Correspondence (1960-1970)

(b) Personal Correspondence (1915-1973)

(1) From the O’Mara Family (1918-1972)
(i) From Her Husband Stephen O’Mara (1918-1957)
(ii) From Her Son Peter O’Mara (1935-1956)
(iii) From other Members of the O’Mara Family (1926-1972)

(2) From the O’Brien Family (1936-1973)

(3) From Friends and Acquaintances (1915-1969)
(i) From Austin Clarke (1916-1917)
(ii) From others (1915-1969)

(4) Assorted Files of Correspondence (1918-1971)

2. Diaries and Notebooks (1954-1975)

3. Lists and Notes (1927-1975)

4. Invoices and other Items of Financial Nature (1919-1964)

5. Certificates and Deeds (1916-1943)

6. Ephemera (1843-1975)
(a) Sheet Music (1843-1941)
(b) Press Cuttings (1917-1971)
(c) Other (1922-1975)

7. Her Death (1975)

8. Her Family (1891-1987)
(a) Her Father Thomas (Tom) O’Brien (1908-1916) 

(b) Her Mother Catherine (Katty) née Thornton (1895-1903)

(c) Her Maternal Aunts and Uncles (1891-1949)

(d) Her Sister Mary (May) O’Brien (1900-1953)
(1) Correspondence (1900-1953)
(2) Other (c. 1920s)

(e) Her Brother John (Jack) O’Brien and His Family (c. 1890s-1918)

(f) Her Sister Clare O’Brien (1914-1971)

(g) Her Brother Thomas (Tom) O’Brien (1918)

(h) Her Sister Kate O’Brien (1923-1987)
(1) Her Correspondence (1923-1974)
(2) Press Cuttings (1926-1987)
(i) Articles by Kate O’Brien (1920s-1970s)
(ii) Reviews of Her Works (1926-1962)
(iii) Other (1930-1987)
(3) Writings by Kate O’Brien (1942-1958)
(4) Ephemera (1926-1949)
(5) Concerning Her Death (1974-1977)

(i) Her Brother Eric O’Brien (1920)

(j) Her Brother Michael O’Brien (1922-1923) 

(k) Her Brother Gerard (Gerry) O’Brien (1920-1957) 

(l) Unidentified O’Briens (1921-1924)

AccessBy prior appointment, some material restricted
Century19th, 20th

30 boxes, 2 outsize boxes, 1 photograph box, 37 outsize items (1,000 files).

University of Limerick Special Collections and Archives provide a catalogue to researchers:
​​​​​​Download PDF catalogue here.

Conditions Governing Access: Unrestricted access to most items. Some files contain personal information relating to people living or presumed living and are closed or partially closed to protect individual privacy. These files have been identified in the descriptive catalogue. Requests for access to Kate O’Brien’s letters are considered on a case by case basis due to GDPR issues.

Immediate Source of Acquisition: The O’Mara Papers were donated to the Library by Clare Hannigan née O’Mara in two deliveries on 22 July and 5 September 2013, except for items 939-940 which were donated by Donough O’Brien.

Repository NameUniversity of Limerick Special Collections and Archives
AddressGlucksman Library University of Limerick Limerick City
EircodeV94 T9PX
Telephone(061) 213-158
Repository Web Address