Identity Statement

Reference Code: P6/
Title: The Armstrong Papers - "It's a Long Way to Tipperary"
Dates: 1662-1999
Extent and Medium: 133 boxes, 2 outsize items (2522 files)

Reference Code: P6/A/
Title: The Armstrong Photographs
Dates of Creation: 1867-1981
Extent and Medium: 85 boxes (2147 files)


Name of Creator(s): The Armstrong family of Moyaliffe Castle, county Tipperary, and the related families of Maude of Lenaghan, county Fermanagh; Everard of Ratcliffe Hall, Leicestershire; Kemmis of Ballinacor, county Wicklow; Russell of Broadmead Manor, Kent; and others.

Content & Structure

Scope and Content: P6 contains material created and generated by the Armstrong and Kemmis families during their ownership of Moyaliffe Castle, county Tipperary, and includes both administrative records and personal documents. Seventeenth-century material is scarce and limited in the main to leases of small pockets of land in counties Tipperary and Limerick. A more unusual item from this period is the satirical manuscript poem On the Bill of Conformity, attributed to Henry Hall, one of only sixteen known copies in the world. Eighteenth-century administrative records are mainly of financial and legal nature and arise from the badly managed affairs of William Armstrong (1704-1768), which affected his brother, the Reverend John Armstrong (1708-1781), who succeeded to the estate. Of personal items, the collection of early eighteenth-century sermons attributed to the Reverend Edward Armstrong, the Reverend John Armstrong and others is of particular interest.

The nineteenth-century administrative material relates predominantly to the management of the Moyaliffe estate, and the succession to, management and eventual disposal of the family's estates in Mayo and Sligo. There are also some clerical records of interest, most notably material relating to tithe wars of the 1830s, and the state of dilapidation of the Mansion House of the See of Tuam discovered after the death, in 1819, of the Most Reverend Honourable William Beresford, first Baron Decies, Arch-bishop of Tuam, whose daughter was married to John Armstrong (1791-1847).

By far the most voluminous, and perhaps the most interesting part of the collection is that relating to the twentieth century. The administrative records in this section are in the main concerned with the management, not only of Moyaliffe Castle, but also of Ballinacor, county Wicklow, home of Captain William Daryl Olphert Kemmis (1892-1965) who married Jess Armstrong (1893-1982). There is also a large quantity of material relating to Moyaliffe Stud, and to the problem of succession to the Moyaliffe and Ballinacor estates following Captain Kemmis's death without issue in 1965. On the personal side, the extensive correspondence of Rosalie Armstrong (1868-1956) and her daughter Jess provide a unique insight into the genteel Anglo-Irish lifestyle and the irrevocable changes wrought upon it by the onset of the First World War. Of unique significance are the letters of Captain Kemmis to his father, and the letters and diaries of Captain William Maurice ('Pat') Armstrong (1890-1917) written during the First World War, providing first-hand accounts of events as they unfolded in the various theatres of war.

P6A contains photograph albums, prints, negatives, metal and glass plates, slides and film mostly taken of and by Captain Marcus Beresford Armstrong, his wife and children and their extended family and friends, predominantly between 1890 and 1960. The images include studio portraits of members of the Armstrong, Maude and Kemmis families and snapshots of family life at Moyaliffe Castle, county Tipperary and Ballinacor, county Wicklow. Also contained in the collection are images of hunting and shooting parties in country houses across Ireland, England and Scotland; portraits of horses bred at Moyaliffe Stud, and snapshots of tenants and labourers mainly on the Moyaliffe estate. The collection also contains a unique set of images taken by Captain Pat Armstrong of military life in India and South Africa, where he served with the Tenth Royal Hussars, and of field operations in Europe and North Africa during the First World War.

For a biographical overview of the Armstrong family of Moyaliffe Castle, please consult the finding aid.

Conditions of Access & Use

Access: Available by appointment only
Finding Aid: See attached PDFs

"It's a Long Way To Tipperary" is an online exhibition which gives an insight into the lives of the Armstrong Family during the First World War. Using material from the archive, weekly posts containing diary entries, letters, photographs and other ephemera from the family document their own experiences at home and at war between 1914 and 1918.

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