Identity Statement

Reference Code: P30/
Title: The Gerard Gallivan Papers
Dates: c. 1939-2003
Extent: 23 Boxes

Content & Structure

Gerard P. Gallivan was born in Limerick in 1920 and grew up on Henry Street. He was educated at Crescent College and graduated in 1939. Gallivan began his working career in England, where he emigrated in 1940. He returned to Ireland in 1945 and settled in Limerick, where he established a career in the airline industry. In 1952, he was transferred to Dublin, where he was to live for the rest of his life. Gallivan's writing career commenced at the age of 18, when he wrote his first novel, The Hawk, but failed to get it published. He later found his feet as a playwright and over his long career wrote more than 40 plays, many of which were produced at The Gate Theatre, The Abbey Theatre, The Elbana Theatre and The Olympia Theatre in Dublin, and at The Lyric Theatre in Belfast. He also did a lot of journeyman work, contributing several episodes to the popular radio series Harbour Hotel and The Kennedys of Castleross, and for the television drama Kilmore House. Many of his stage scripts, such as ParnellThe Final Mission and The Lamb and the Fox, were also produced as radio plays. His works focus predominantly on Irish political history (particularly the foundation of the Irish State) and major Irish and English political and social figures such as Bernard Shaw, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Maude Gonne, W. B. Yeats, Noel Chamberlain, Eamonn De Valera, Michael Collins and Cardinal Newman. His published plays include Decision at Easter (1960); And a Yellow Singing Bird (1963); Mourn the Ivy Leaf (1965); Dev (1978); Watershed (1981), Lovesong (1984), and three volumes of Selected Plays (1999-2008). Among his best-known stage plays is The Stepping Stone, which was originally performed in 1963 and enjoyed a popular revival in Cork in 1997. Gallivan continued to write until the last months of his life. His later works included The Indomitable Lamb (1997), The Prudent Paramour (1997) and The Rusted Dagger (1998), all of which were broadcast as radio plays. His other late works included a family history The Gallivans of Limerick (1995), and a commissioned account of his working life, My Times in Irish Travel, published posthumously in 2004 as Ireland Enters the Air Age. Gerard Gallivan died on Christmas Day 2003.

The collection documents Gallivan's career as a playwright, comprising manuscript and typescript drafts of his plays and other works; correspondence with theatre producers, actors, publishers and writers' societies; posters and programmes relating to his plays; diaries; photographs; and press cuttings.

Conditions of Access & Use

Access: Available by appointment only
Finding Aid: Descriptive List (click on link attached)

© Copyright 2012 Special Collections Library, University of Limerick