Monday, 22 July 2024

O’Gorman Collection donated to University of Galway

First edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses and an edition illustrated and signed by Matisse among collection owned by founder of Galway Advertiser     A literary collection owned by the late entrepreneur, local historian and supporter of the arts, Ronnie O’Gorman, has been donated to University of Galway.  The bequest was finalised by Ronnie O'Gorman, the founder and publisher of the Galway Advertiser, before he died in May 2024. It will reside in the University's Library as part of its Special Collections.    The carefully curated collection features many rare and significant works of Irish literature, representing his deep appreciation of Irish writing, the history of publishing in the country and his lifelong passion for the collection and promotion of Irish literature and art.   The works also span three generations of the O’Gorman family and many of the volumes reflect the family’s long interest in the history of Galway, about which Ronnie wrote extensively.    The collection was presented at a special event at University of Galway Library earlier in the year, attended by Ronnie O’Gorman and family, as well as friends and associates.    It includes a first edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses; one of 250 signed copies of a New York Limited Editions Club first edition Ulysses, with illustrations by the French artist Henri Matisse, signed by both the artist and Joyce; and The Aran Islands, by John Millington Synge, with 12 hand-coloured illustrations by Jack B. Yeats, which was described by the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography as "the great prose manifesto of the Irish literary revival".   As well as more rare and beautiful volumes collected by Ronnie O’Gorman, his father Frank and also his grandfather Philip, who worked as Library Clerk in the University of Galway Library in the late 19th century, the collection also includes two 19th Century Walter Osborne paintings - Galway Fowl Market and Galway Fish Market.   Ben O’Gorman, son of Ronnie O’Gorman, said: “Our family is delighted that we were able to keep the collection together and for it to be donated to the University - somewhere that really appreciates it. Ronnie took such joy in curating his collection, it was in many ways his life’s work, so to be able to keep it in one place, for the future, for others to enjoy, is a great legacy.”     President of University of Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “The O’Gorman Collection is a tremendous gift to the University community and it is particularly poignant that the collection will reside in our Library where Ronnie O’Gorman’s grandfather Philip worked. Ronnie O’Gorman was a man of huge insight, huge foresight, in establishing the Advertiser and the sense of community that developed for Galway. As we celebrate the donation of such a beautiful gift, I also remember and cherish the day that we had with Ronnie on campus early in 2024, a day that had generosity, community, atmosphere - all of those things that characterised Ronnie O’Gorman.”     University of Galway Librarian Monica Crump said: “The O’Gorman collection represents the very best of Irish literature and culture. It was started by Philip O’Gorman, a former Library Clerk here in the Library, continued by his son Frank and then his grandson Dr Ronnie O’Gorman. We are grateful to all three generations of the O’Gorman family for their commitment to collecting these wonderful works and looking after them so well in the intervening years. And we are immensely grateful to Ronnie and the O’Gorman family for entrusting us with these volumes. We are committed to continuing the good work of the O’Gormans, of preserving them, keeping them safe, and making them available for students and researchers into the future.”    Catriona Cannon, Head of Heritage Collections and Digitisation at University of Galway Library, said: “Ronnie was a long-time friend of the Library and tireless champion of art and culture in the West of Ireland. He was always a welcome sight in our reading room, his combination of knowledge, passion and generosity of spirit was utterly unique and a joy to encounter. This legacy will ensure the continuity of Ronnie’s lifelong commitment to preserving and promoting Ireland’s literary culture - it is a gift to the city he loved and it will inspire and educate students and staff of the University and our researchers for generations to come.”    Ends