Correspondence from leading nationalists such as Charles Stewart Parnell and Michael Davitt that was hidden in a safe for over a century is included in an historic collection that has gone on permanent display in Foynes.

The ‘Taylor/Monteagle Papers’ collection went on display at the Foynes Flying Boat Museum at the weekend following its launch by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan TD. The 20 items include corres-pondence from Davitt, Parnell, Henry Grattan, the Redmond brothers John and William, and MP John Deasy.

The items cover a range of topics, including Major William Redmond’s account of hardships and losses while serving with the 16th (Irish) Division of the British Expeditionary Force in France during World War I and an historic banner depicting Parnell’s impact on Irish political life that the museum fears might end up hidden in national archives and wants to add to the collection.

The collection has been made possible thanks to funding from Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan and through the support of Shannon Foynes Port Company, which has loaned the items to the Flying Boat Museum after their discovery in 2012 in an old safe belonging to the former Foynes Harbour Trustees, now Shannon Foynes Port Company.

The collection is named after Lord Mont-eagle, Mount Trenchard, Foynes, who is thought to have gathered the items, many of which were letters to his nieces Una and Ida Taylor, authors and hosts of renowned literary meetings at their house in Montpelier Square, London. The families were acquaintances also of writers and artists including Thomas Carlyle, Alfred Lord Tennyson and Robert Louis Stevenson.

According to the corres-pondence, the banner depicting the leadership of Irish political life by Charles Stewart Parnell was designed by Walter Crane, President of the London Arts and Crafts Exhibition, 1888-1890, and worked in silk by Una Taylor, who presented it to the Nationalist Party in Ireland to hang in the first Home Rule Parliament.  

The collection also includes a mounted photograph of Parnell with a gummed label bearing his autograph and a financial order signed by Henry Grattan.

Another Parnell related correspondence is a facsimile of a ‘Portion of Mr. Parnell’s Famous Manifesto to the Irish People’ in which he cautions against giving any veto to England over Irish affairs. In it he also mentions “the English wolves now howling for my destruction”.

See photos on page 43.