Reference Code: IE 2135 N76

Title: The Nan Quinn Collection

Dates of Creation: c. 1895-c. 1996 (predominantly 1940s-1970s)

Level of Description: Fonds

Extent and Medium: 6 standard boxes, 1 outsize item (92 files)




Name of Creator: Quinn, Nan (1899-1990).


Biographical History: Nan Quinn lived in Bessbrook, county Armagh, Northern Ireland and was introduced to Irish dancing by a nun in Bessbrook Convent in c. 1911. She established a traditional Irish dancing school in Bessbrook in 1933.  She was a member of Cumann na mBan and a committed republican and was highly regarded in traditional Irish dance and republican circles.


Archival History: Unknown.


Immediate Source of Acquisition: Donated by Tom Quinn to the National Dance Archive of Ireland on 21 October 2015.




Scope and Content: The collection comprises mainly paper documents relating to Nan Quinn’s life and her interest in traditional Irish music and dance, religion, republicanism, and needlework.  The archive contains an assortment of artefacts relating to her dancing activities, including trophies, medals, and recordings.  Also included in the collection are a framed certificate and medals presented to Nan Quinn in recognition of her contribution to the Irish republican movement.


Appraisal, Destruction and Scheduling Information: Photocopies of original newspaper cuttings contained in the archive and one original newspaper cutting post-dating Nan Quinn’s life were destroyed.  All other records have been retained.


Accruals: No accruals are expected.


System of Arrangement: The material has been divided into seven series reflecting the life and interests of Nan Quinn.  Series 1 comprises biographical notes.  Series 2 comprises material relating to Irish dance, music, and folklore including programmes, notes, publications, sound recordings, medals, and trophies.  Series 3 comprises manuscript notes and printed material of religious nature.  Series 4 comprises material relating to Irish republicanism including correspondence, medals, certificates, and printed matter.  Series 5 contains needlework patterns and magazines.  Series 6 comprises press cuttings relating to politics, music, dance, religion, and republican events.  Series 7 comprises a range of photographs primarily relating to dance, religion, and family.




Conditions Governing Access: Unrestricted access to all items except 2/6/1 and 2/6/2, which are too fragile to be safely handled.  Digital access to the contents is available in the reading room – please check with a member of staff.


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


Language/ Scripts of Material: Predominantly English, with some items in Irish.


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements: Paper documents, photographs, medals, trophies, and recordings mostly in good condition.  Items N76/2/6/1-2 require a reel-to-reel player.  For digital access to contents, please check with a member of staff.


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




Archivist’s Note: Papers arranged and described by Seán Cafferkey under the supervision of Anna-Maria Hajba.


Rules or Conventions: This description follows guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd edition, 2000, Irish Guidelines for Archival Description, 2009, National Council on Archives: Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997, and EAP Guidance on Data Protection for Archive Services, 2018.


Date of Description: March 2019.


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