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REVIVAL to REVOLUTION: The Literary Career of Thomas MacDonagh is an online resource showcasing the critically neglected literary career of University College Dublin alumnus and revolutionary figure Thomas MacDonagh (1878-1916), who died in the 1916 Easter Rising. Poet, playwright literary critic and editor of the magazine Irish Review, MacDonagh was immersed in the Revival milieu in Ireland and was an active participant in various nationalist projects. One of these projects, the periodical Irish Review (1911-1914), functioned as a forum for a number of renowned Irish intellectuals, literary figures and activists, and illustrates a series of cultural shifts that brought about revolutionary actions culminating in the Rising.

The project was set up in the Spring 2015 to showcase and preserve content from the event ‘Revival to Revolution: the Literary Career of Thomas MacDonagh’ which was held at the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, on 24th and 25th June 2015, and was coordinated by Catherine Wilsdon, Dr Giulia Bruna and Dr PJ Mathews in the UCD School of English, Drama & Film. The event comprised an academic symposium, a public screening of RTÉ’s 1966 documentary On Behalf of the Provisional Government: Thomas MacDonagh by Aindreas Ó Gallchoir (courtesy of RTÉ Archives), and the itinerant exhibition ‘Thomas MacDonagh & the Irish Review’.

This resource, in particular, showcases a selection of items from the Curran Collection in UCD Library Special Collections relating to Thomas MacDonagh and the magazine Irish Review. The Curran Collection holds both books and archival papers related to famous Irish writers of the Revival period, particularly James Joyce. The items catalogued in this resource complement the exhibition ‘Thomas MacDonagh and the Irish Review’ on display in the UCD Library foyer until October 2015. A number of podcasts from the symposium are available in the Collection entitled 'Revival to Revolution' Symposium Podcasts.

This project is part of the Irish Revival Network dissemination initiatives. The Irish Revival Network connects scholars working on the Irish Revival from various disciplines and was founded by Catherine Wilsdon and Giulia Bruna in June 2014.

Project Partners

Irish Research Council New Foundation Scheme, strand ‘Marking the National Decade of Centenaries’

UCD Humanities Institute 

UCD Library, UCD Library Special Collections

UCD Decade of Centenaries

RTÉ Archives

Irish Revival Network (Facebook, Twitter)


Catherine Wilsdon, PhD Candidate, UCD School of English, Drama & Film, UCD Humanities Institute and Dr Giulia Bruna, Research Assistant, UCD Humanities Institute, UCD School of English, Drama & Film – Physical exhibition research, text, organisation and curatorial work

Catherine Wilsdon, Dr Giulia Bruna and Dr PJ Mathews, Senior Lecturer, UCD School of English, Drama & Film – ‘Revival to Revolution’ event organisation

Giulia Bruna – Online resource

Evelyn Flanagan and Eugene Roche, Special Collections Librarians in UCD Library Special Collections
Ursula Byrne, UCD Library Head of Development and Strategic Programmes
Vincent Hoban, UCD Media Services – Photography

Ger Garland – Panel design and brand design

Caomhán Mac Con Iomaire, Education Assistant, National Gallery of Ireland – podcast recording, technical assistance and logistics