Reference Code: IE 2135 P44

Title: The Moss Twomey Papers

Dates of Creation: 1923-1925

Level of Description: Fonds

Extent and Medium: 48 items (15 files)


Name of Creator(s): Twomey, Maurice (‘Moss’) (1897-1978).

Biographical History: Maurice ‘Moss’ Twomey was born in Fermoy, County Cork, on 10 June in 1897.  He was educated by the local Christian Brothers.  He joined the Irish Volunteers on its formation in 1914 and proved to be an able recruit.  He quickly rose to the rank of Battalion Adjutant Fermoy Battalion by 1918.  By 1919, he had attained the rank of Brigade Adjutant to the Cork No. 2 Brigade of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).  By 1920, Twomey was a staff officer on the general staff of the 1st Southern Division.  He was heavily involved in operations during the War of Independence.

After the Anglo-Irish Treaty and during the Civil War, Twomey was a staff officer to General Liam Lynch.  He was a member of the occupying force in the Four Courts in 1922, the action that precipitated the Civil War.  He had however left the building before it was bombarded by the Free State Army.

Following the Civil War, Twomey was tasked with the entire root and branch reorganisation of the IRA, including the West Clare Brigade.  Twomey succeeded Frank Aiken as Chief of Staff of the IRA in 1927, a post he would hold until 1936, when he was interned by the De Valera Government.  While incarcerated in the Curragh Camp, Twomey argued with the IRA leadership concerning its policy of supporting Nazi Germany and resigned his position as Chief of Staff.  Upon his release, Twomey left the IRA but remained sympathetic to the Republican cause.  He subsequently opened a general confectioners and newsagents in Dublin, which became a centre for Republican activities.  Maurice Twomey died in Dublin of a heart attack on 8 October 1978.

Archival History: This archive was originally part of a larger collection of papers discovered in a derelict shop in Dublin that had once been owned by Maurice ‘Moss’ Twomey.  The collection was broken up and put forward for auction in separate lots.

Immediate Source of Acquisition: Purchased at Adam’s auction in a single lot in Dublin on 20 April 2010.



Scope and Content: The collection comprises primarily correspondence between Frank Aiken, IRA Chief of Staff; Mr McAuliffe Acting Officer Commanding Limerick Brigade IRA; and Maurice Twomey Inspecting Officer. They are almost solely concerned with the reorganisation of the IRA command structure in Limerick, Clare and Kerry owing to the shortage of men and equipment during and following the Civil War.

Appraisal, Destruction and Scheduling Information: All records have been retained.

Accruals: No accruals are expected.

System of Arrangement: The correspondence has been arranged into fifteen files according to the activities to which they relate and thereunder arranged chronologically by date.



Conditions Governing Access: Unrestricted access to all items.

Conditions Governing Reproduction: Standard copyright regulations apply to all items.  For photocopying or reproducing material, please consult with the staff.

Language/ Scripts of Material: English.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements: Paper documents in good condition.

Finding Aids: A hard copy of the descriptive catalogue is available at the Special Collections Department, Glucksman Library, University of Limerick.



Related Units of Description: University College Dublin houses an extensive collection of Moss Twomey’s papers donated by Father Maurice Twomey.  A descriptive catalogue of these papers is available at


© Copyright 2017 Special Collections Library, University of Limerick