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Nancy McCarthy Collection: Home

Personal collection of Nancy McCarthy

About the Collection

The collection reflects Nancy's interests and comprises 171 items: predominantly 20th century with a small number of 19th century books.

The collection prefix before the call number is: McCarthy

The collection is closed. 

Biographical History

Anna Patricia (Nancy) McCarthy(1902-1988). Nancy was born to Charles and Annie McCarthy, one of ten children, three girls and seven boys. Her father owned a plumber's shop in Emmet Place, Cork city, and was by all accounts a successful businessman. After qualifying as a chemist she went to work for a period in England, moving back to Cork city in 1926 to work in Blair's Chemist, Patrick Street. Later in a move unusual for a single woman at that time, she opened her own chemist shop in Douglas in 1946. She retired in 1986 and died in 1988.

Throughout her life Nancy played an active and influential role in the cultural life of Cork city. As a young amateur actress she performed with the Cork Drama League, meeting there the writer Frank O'Connor (then known as Michael O'Donovan) with whom she had a romantic relationship and long standing friendship. Through O'Connor Nancy met many of the artistic and literary figures of her day and as her correspondence reveals, became a friend and confidant to many. Her love of rural Ireland and the Irish language led her to spend many holidays in the Cork/Kerry Gaeltacht where she became one of the circle gathered around the fireside of the Tailor in Gougane Barra. In later life, she was a committee member of the Cork Orchestral Society and an enthusiastic follower of the Cork Ballet Company and the Cork Film Festival.

Provenance

The collection was donated by Harriet O'Donovan-Sheehy, executrix of Nancy McCarthy estate.

Collection Highlights

Front cover to 'Stone Mad'

Murphy, Seamus. Stone mad, with illustrations by William Harrington and initial letters by the Author. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1966.

Inscriptions in 'Stone Mad'

Murphy, Seamus. Stone mad, with illustrations by William Harrington and initial letters by the Author. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1966.

Front cover to Motley - The Dublin Theatre magazine

Motley. [Dublin]: [Dublin Gate Theatre], 1932-1934.

More Information

UCC Library Archives Service holds Nancy McCarthy Collection (BL/PP/NMC).  The collection was donated to UCC Library in 1998 by Harriet O’Donovan-Sheehy, widow of the Cork born writer Frank O’Connor and Executrix of Nancy McCarthy’s estate.