Skip to main content

Patrick Galvin papers

Collection MS-1986-152: Patrick Galvin papers


  • Creation: 1961-1999
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1973 - 1985

Scope and Contents

The bulk of Patrick Galvin's papers consist of manuscripts: six full plays, poems, and one radio play, created between 1973-1985, many of which were performed at The Lyric Players Theatre in Belfast. Included are handwritten drafts, typescripts, galley proofs, and photocopies of Galvin's dramatic works and poems. Many of the poems were intended for Let the Seahorse Take Me Home: A Poem Sequence. Play ephemera includes announcements, programs, and reviews concerning productions of Galvin's plays in Dublin, Belfast, and London. The earliest reviews are of his first play, And Him Stretched. Images of Galvin consist of a drawing done in black felt tip marker on a paper napkin and portrait photographs.


Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research.

Restrictions on use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Biographical Note

Playwright, poet, and ballad singer Patrick Galvin was born in Cork City, Ireland, on either April 15th or August 15th, probably between 1927 and 1929. Galvin's date of birth remains uncertain as his mother changed his birth certificate so that he could more easily find employment. Galvin was only formally educated until age eleven by the Christian Brothers and spent three of his early teenage years in prison in a reformatory outside Cork. Later he worked in London and in a Kibbutz in Israel.

Galvin's dramatic and poetic work draws heavily on his experience as a ballad singer and his knowledge of Irish folk music. Galvin recorded several collections of Irish ballads, wrote Irish Songs of Resistance: 1169-1923 (1962), and lectured on Irish folk music in the former East Germany. His plays were produced in Dublin, Belfast, and London. In the early 1960s Cry the Believers and And Him Stretched were staged in Dublin. In the 1970s he began a productive association with the Lyric Players Theatre in Belfast through a Leverhulme Fellowship in Drama. In Belfast Galvin brought to the stage The Last Burning (1974), We Do It For Love (1975), and My Silver Bird. He also edited The Lyric Players Theatre's literary journal, Threshold, for a short period. Galvin's poems have been collected in Man on the Porch (1979) and Folk Tales for the General (1989).

Galvin died on May 10, 2011.


Boland, Rosita. “Death of Writer of 'Raggy Boy' Trilogy Patrick Galvin at 83.” The Irish Times, May 11, 2011.

Pettifer, James. “Patrick Galvin: Poet and Dramatist Who Chronicled the Lives of His.” The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, October 23, 2011.

Ramsell, Billy. “Patrick Galvin (Poet).” Poetry International. Poetry International Rotterdam. Accessed November 15, 2019.

Ream, Sarah. “Editorial: 15 November 2010.” Poetry International. Poetry International Rotterdam. November 15, 2010. Accessed November 15, 2019.


2.5 Linear Feet (2 containers)

Language of Materials



Papers about twentieth-century Irish playwright, poet, and ballad singer Patrick Galvin. Consists of play and poetry manuscripts, theater programs, notices, and images of Galvin.

Arrangement Note

This collection is organized into three series: I. Images of Galvin; II. Manuscripts; and III. Play ephemera.


Purchased from Bertram Rota, Ltd. in 1986. Gift of Thomas McCarthy in 2002.

Patrick Galvin Papers
1961-1999 (bulk 1973-1985)
Mark Roskoski
August 1994
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States