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Munster Printing Collection: Home

Historical and modern publications printed in Munster or printed about Munster.

About the Collection

This collection focuses on items about the province of Munster or printed in the province of Munster, chiefly in the Counties of Cork, Kerry and Waterford, from the late 17th century to the present day. A large part of the collection was donated in 1948 by Rev Patrick Power, Professor of Archaeology in UCC. Additional items are received through copyright obligations or purchased. Items include reference items for genealogical and topographical research, provincial & county history books, directories, bills, broadsides, pamphlets and books. The subject matter is varied: religion, politics, history and literature feature. A collection of c1,000 items (half of which are pamphlets) built up by the Library. The collection is in two parts with two different classification schemes: one a series of sequential numbers and the second the Dewey classification system. Both collections share MP as a prefix.


Collection Highlights

This is the oldest item in the Munster Printing Collection.

What items in the collection weren’t present in Queen’s College Cork or UCC Library collections, were part of donations by either Robert Day a noted early 20th century Cork antiquarian and Canon Patrick Power from Waterford who was Professor of Archaeology in UCC, 1915-1934. Both Day and Power added titles to the front cover of their items which is a useful way of tracking items that had been part of their collections. There are various bookplates on other items including R. A. Sheehan, Bishop of Waterford and Lismore 1892-1915 on the left and Robert Day’s armorial bookplate on the right. Day had a different bookplate showing his residence: Myrtle Hill house. Occasionally there are binder’s tickets’ such as this one on Sheehan’s book.

Although the name of the collection is ‘Munster Printing’ almost 70% of the 575 items examined are from Cork. The barchart on the top shows the various places with Cork skewing the barchart and the barchart below shows the same places minus Cork. Excluding Cork there are 23 places of publication & some where a place hasn’t been identified. Of these 23 places of publication, London, Dublin, Waterford, Youghal and Cashel are most prolific in the collection. What survives or is included is not necessarily a reflection of what was actually printed. The collection includes books, oblong folios, pamphlets, directories such as: The gentleman's & citizen's Cork almanack ... for the year oif our Lord 1830 Finny's royal Cork almanac for the year of our Lord 1842 and 1843 Wilkie's family almanack and Cork annual for 1881

View full-text issues of the 18th century newspapers including Cork Mercantile Chronicle and the Corke Journal.

The modern portion of the collection includes Mizen Journal and issues of the Holly Bough.

The Munster farmer's magazine : conducted under the direction of a committee of the Cork institution. The magazine appeared quarterly; numbering of issues continuous. Issues on record run from v.1 no.1 (April 1811) to v.7 no.25 (April 1820). The Cork Magazine was published in monthly instalments from Nov. 1847 to Dec. 1848. Contributors to it include James Roche who was involved in the Cork Institution and the early years of Queen’s College Cork. Anthologia Tipperariensi was presented by Canon Power and the journal is bound with three other John Davis White items: Holy Cross Abbey, Guide to the Rock of Cashel and Cashel of the Kings.

MP 426 is a Hand book to the harbour and city of Cork: with map and appendix, originally owned by Robert Day and later by Canon Power. The advertisements before the handbook’s main text feature businesses that no longer exist but where archival collections may be located. UCC Library holds Woodford Bourne’s archive. MP 75 is a collection of various pamphlets and this single sheet of accounts from the Cork Institution. The Cork Institution was a cultural institution and educational centre founded by Rev. Thomas Dix Hincks, a minister of the Presbyterian Meeting House, Princes Street, Cork. It was modelled on institutions such as the Royal Dublin Society. In 1807 when it received its royal charter it became ‘Royal Cork Institution’. The RCI minute book and book of presents donated to the RCI’s library is part of UCC Library’s collections. This volume for the 1883 Cork Industrial Exhibition contains a report of the executive committee; awards of jurors to various individuals, businesses and a comments about the award given; as well as a statement of accounts.

The ephemera here are some of my favourite parts of the collection. Within the Munster Printing Collection is an extensive range of programmes for Cork Opera House. The information provided includes advertisements, lists of shows including actors, stage crew and where the show had originated. The handbill on the top right urges tradespeople to advertise in Mr Thomas Sheahan’s book. This book was printed in 1834 and UCC Library has three copies. Equivalents in modern collections are the prospectuses issued by Stoney Road Press or Salvage Press thought they’re not focused on advertisements. The 1833 temperance flyer is typical of the items produced in the 1830s in Cork. In 1838 Fr Matthew would found Cork’s Total Abstinence Society.

There is a small but interesting portion of the collection focusing on travel. The first item (typo on slide - that’s MP361) goes to Glanmire which is a suburb of Cork now but if walking is 90 mins on modern roads rather than 1814 roads. The first chapter describes the distance from Cork, the different types of roads they travel by: the Strand or the Lower Road, describing rooks & crows and their knavish tricks, the authors provide a general sketch of the place, its rivers and the views that are present from all approaches to Glanmire including the dunkettle side and Glanmire on a windy day. The travel guide is described in its title as “an amusing summer companion”. The second item (Mp 248) is a pre-famine guide to emigrating from Ireland to the then Western states in the US, States not traditionally associated with Irish diaspora. The account of each State’s gives a description about the State’s geography and best places to settle in terms of farming. Of the pages I read there is no mention of enslaved people. The pages relating to Canada give a description of the different types of food available including meat, poultry & game, fish, vegetables, fruit and sundries where sundries include maple sugar, flour lard & tallow, and the prices for how all are generally sold at prices in sterling money is provided. The last item provides a textual description of an exhibition in George’s Street now Oliver Plunkett St, showing panoramas of multiple battles. Consider this pamphlet & the panoramas Originally displayed as a version of the news or a ticker tape updating website.

There was a fever hospital in Cork and in Waterford, and there are various medical reports from each within the collection. Waterford’s fever hospital was the first institution of its kind to Ireland, and the second in the united Empire. It was supported by subscription and city and grand jury presentments, capable of admitting 150 patients and this description comes from Louise’s topographical dictionary. Within the pamphlet are descriptions of who the doctors and surgeons were. The picture with the teeth is within The ladies guide to promote the greatest blessing and happiness in matrimony, also showing the greatest responsibility and mothers et cetera to attend to the best mood of alleviating the pains of dentition promoting the growth beauty, colour and durability of teeth, preventing and curing toothache and other disorders of the teeth and gums together with observations on the use, and abuse of tooth, powders, tinctures brushes, and the pernicious effects of neglecting the teeth. Edward Braham described himself as a surgeon Dentist. He operated in North England 1792-1793 & in 1798. From 1793-1794 he was in London or the east of England. There’s a question mark as to whether he operated in Ireland from 1798-1799. Other works on teeth by him are digitised by the Wellcome Collection. This 2828 printing is the oldest item on dentistry in UCC’s collection.  The item was donated by Michael Grimes, UCC’s first microbiologist. John Woodruff established Cork’s first  standalone school of anatomy in 1811. He leased the building in Margaret Street in the South Parish and offered a course of an anatomical and surgical lectures. In 1820 he fought with William Bullen for his reputation and he won: Bullen accused him of committing medical malpractice in his operations on children.  This published pamphlet describes different patients and the outcome of their cases. Michael Hanna has written an article on John Woodruff, a pioneer of magical medical education in Cork for the 2015 issue of the Journal of the Cork Historical & Archaeological Society.

The bylaws are numerous and describe every type of use of vehicle or animal within Cork. For  example, all springless cards, whether laden, or empty shall proceed at walking pace, or no driver of any vehicle, or any rider of any horse shall proceed at a furious or violent pace or a speed exceeding 6 mph and no driver or other person shall obstruct any street so impeded inconvenience the traffic there in.  There is also a schedule for bulls, oxen, cows, heifers, or sheep and how many drivers are required, depending on how many animals are present. The bylaw say where Hackney carriages are permitted to wait, and for how long they can wait at the entrance of the theatre to take up passengers, and then the directions that they may go from the theatre to any other place. The penalty for the breach or non-observance of any and every part of the forgoing by law shall on conviction be any sum not exceeding 40 shillings. This is the mid 1880s in Cork, so 40 shillings is roughly €175 today. Francis Rawdon Chesney was a general an explorer of the appraise and founder of the overland route to India. He has an entry in the dictionary of national biography. The image is taken from exhibition lectures on the recent improvements in the construction of firearms. It was delivered in Cork on Thursday, July 1, 1852. The practices were completed at Bell Valley on Cove Island and practices included the name of the rifle, the length and diameter of the ball the weight of the ball, the charge the distance & the time of flight. For example, on Wednesday, June 23rd five rifles were tested, including Wilkinsons, Lancaster double barrel and the common musket. This is the first of at least two works where N Ludlow Beamush is connected with firearms. The second is from 1862.

I selected purely for the manuscript note at the head of the title page a very ridiculous piece of composition full of Boulderdash like a big child first attempted an essay and it’s signed J O’Brien. There aren’t many of these opinions written on works in the collection. I selected bells of Shandon and Some account of the new Dominican convent of Cork, called Saint Mary’s Priory as representative items of religious institutions within the collection. Other churches in the collection include Saint Mary Shandon, the blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, Saint Peters Church.

The item on the left is contributions towards a Fona and Flora of the county of Cork, and it was red at the meeting of the British Association in 1843. This page is from botanist guide for the county of Cork, being a systematic catalogue of the native plants of the county, and more, especially of the vicinity of Cork, together with their stations, compiled and arranged, according to the natural system of botany. Recently I used this in an exhibition called my land, birds and trees from the 17th of the 21st century which is found on the Library’s website. Hartland’s Conference Daffodils was first published in 1890 but this special Jubilee issue was revised with much extra material, poems and illustrations for the queen victorious golden Jubilee.  William Baylor Hartland was a plantsman and collector of narcissi. The drawings for the various daffodils were completed by his niece, Gertrude Hartland, who is noted illustrator of flowers.

The royal Cork yacht club is located in Crosshaven County Cork. It claims to be the worlds oldest yacht club. It was established in 1720 by William O’Brien the fourth Earl of Quinn UCC. Unsurprisingly UCC has many works relating to this water club, including 1720 general rules and regulations of the Royal Cork yacht club corrected to 1858, published by W Scraggs in 1858; and rules and orders for the water club of the harbour of Cork, published in 1890. These are in addition to the two items shown here on the left, my little big bang fun with flags moment: signals of the Cork Harbor yacht club published in 1839, & one of the few items in colour. On the right the list of members of the Royal Cork yacht club for the 1832 season.

Between 1721 and 1832, a subset of the wider timeframe 1641-1901, there are 21 different institutions, societies, churches and other bodies named within the collection. These include green coat hospital, Corporation of Kinsale, Cork library society, Saint Peters Church and Cork reformation society. This gives a small indication of the rising of institutions public bodies and societies that are present within the collection. The Green Coat school was formed in Cork during the 18th century under the aegis of the Green Coat school trustees. The school was also known as Shandon charity school and Saint Mary Shandon Cork. The school started as a private foundation for the children of poor protestant families on the north side of Cork city. It opened in 1717 and first admission was 20 boys and 20 girls. The school was so called because the uniform was green and keeping the uniform was dependent on good behaviour, and knowing one’s catechism. The school was vocationally oriented, and students were bound out as apprentices to a variety of trades such as bookbinders button, makers and seamstresses Henry Maule, as Rector of Shandon, was closely associated with the founding of the school, and served as a trustee. From its founding to midway through the 18 century, the school was the prototype and model to follow in the Irish coat and charter school movement and the movement’s equation of Prosentatism with civilisation and industry gave the schools, additional meaning in the Irish Context. The plate is from Maule’s work about forming the Green Coat School & included in the work is the description of the Library catalogue and who donated which books.  The Green Coat school printed collection is now in UCC Library and many of the items show the gold stamps on the bindings from those who donated them. In addition UCC Library had a minute Book of the Green Coat school and other archival material is held in the representative Church body library. The charitable infirmary in Cork was built on the site of Saint Mary’s Church, destroyed during the siege of Cork in 1690. Construction began in 1719 and the building contained 24 beds in 1720. Most patients during the early years were from the poor and Catholics segments of society. In 1744 members of a musical society used their surplus funds to help expand the infirmary. Munster Printing has the printed items of The present state of the charitable infirmary of Cork for the year 1751, 1754 and 1757. Each work describes how the cherishable infirmary works from foundation to the day-to-day, including when the trustees meet and how regularly, and when the doctors are on site, the physicians are named as are the treasure, the surgeons, the apothecary, the treasurer, the receiver of subscriptions and other benefactions.  Also included is an account of the patients: those cured and those dead; there is also an abstract of the accounts. A list of who the subscribers to the musical society is present as is the list of subscribers to the charitable infirmary, which includes some women for example, Mrs Mary Uniacke. The pasted in item is for the year 1754, and the receiver is Peter Hubbard. There was a banquet for Sir Robert Kane and various people who were noted members of Cork Sashi in the 1840s and 1850s were present. This included James Roche  who is a member of the royal Cork institution. Howard Grubb, published on the Crawford Observatory and the telescope within it in the Dublin society journal. Tours of the Crawford observatory are now available.

The Cork scientific and literary society was founded in 1820 and arranged various public lectures on a wide range of topics. Unlike other historical or scientific societies founded in the early 19th century, such as the Cork Cuverian society, it one of the few which is still active. The historic records of the Cork literary scientific society are in the Cork city & county archives.  The Notth Ludlow Beamish mentioned on this table of contents, is the same person involved in the item on firearms a few slides ago. The Cork Typographical society was founded in 1806. In the centenary volume short biographies of each of the officers across the 100 years are provided. The executive officers of the 1906 Executive committee is given with which publishing firm they’re associated with. Many of these firms are familiar to local history interest: Eagle press, guys, Purcell or the examiner.  In addition, a list of the centenary committee is given and a list of the members of the Cork typographical society in 1906.

In the 19th century, as seen from the legal slide, there were various transport related local history elements. The 1837 Report of the land committee of the Cork and passage railway. noted their Capital was £200,000 in 4000 shares of £50 each. The report describes the personnel involved: Civil engineer Charles Vignes, bankers from the national bank of Ireland, Cork, solicitors Misters Terry and Hunt of 25 College, green Dublin and Morrisons Island, Cork, secretary Martin H Conway, of 3 Sydney Place. The chair Samuel Lane of Frankfield addressed the proprietors of the Cork and passage railway, and the report was unanimously adopted. It included an abstract of the estimate for building the line & its operational activities.

The list of donors on the left is for the catalogue of items in Cashel Museum. The item in the middle contains the list of subscribers as part of the report of the county and city of Cork horticultural society in the mid 19th century. The list of subscribers on the right is taken from the publication of a poem, but this may be the only place to find references to these names.

Handbill & law case - arising from show & tell. In the Freeman’s Journal, 1st January 1839, on page 4 there is an account of the robbery in Brunswick Street & the court proceedings that followed. The account is from the Cork Southern Reporter but the inquiry was still ongoing as the newspaper went to press.

2021 student exhibition