Collection: Frances-Mary Blake Collection

Collection DescriptionFrances-Mary Blake was born in London on 29th March 1939 and lived in Rickmansworth, on the north-west outskirts of London, later moving to nearby Chorleywood. While her father, Charles, was British, her mother, Mollie, was Irish and Frances inherited from her a love of Ireland. As a child she visited Ireland frequently. She worked at various jobs in her early adulthood, including working in a library, in broadcasting, as a purser on the Cunard lines, with the publisher W.H. Allen and also with the British Waterways Board. However, it was as a writer that she found her passion and this was particularly evident on the topic of the Irish revolutionary period, and on the life of anti-Treaty IRA commandant and writer Ernie O’Malley in particular. Due to this interest, in the mid-1970s she helped with the initial sorting and cataloguing of the Ernie O’Malley papers, one of the largest collections of historical documents of the Irish Civil War period, for the then Archives Department of University College Dublin. Following her work on the O’Malley papers, she edited his best-selling book on the Civil War, The Singing Flame. Blake also worked on and wrote the introduction for Raids and Rallies, another book extracted from O’Malley’s papers about the War of Independence. As part of her research Blake interviewed and corresponded with many figures from the Irish republican struggle, such as Maire Comerford, Peadar O’Donnell, Liam Deasy, Kathleen Barry Moloney, and Sighle Humphreys, as well as members of the O’Malley family. Later she wrote The Irish Civil War – And What it Still Means for the Irish People, in which she outlined her own views of that period. She died on 5th December 2009 after a short illness, and was buried in Woodcock Hill Cemetery, Rickmansworth, London.
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Alternate Collection Web Address

Repository: UCD Archives

Repository NameUCD Archives
AddressJames Joyce Library UCD Belfield Dublin 4
EircodeD04 R7R0
Telephone(01) 716-7555

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