Ref NoG03
TitleBairead Collection
DescriptionThe material in this collection relates to the work of three members of the Bairead family, Stiophan Bairead (1867-1921), his daughter Sighle Bairead (1903-1985), and his son Ciaran Bairead (1905-1976). Stiophan Bairead was first treasurer if the Gaelic League and his papers cover some of this work, His daughter Sighle researched her father's life, and material from her research is also available. His son Ciaran did a lot of work for the Irish Folklore Commission and the National Museum of Ireland in the 1950s and 1960s in County Galway, and much of correspondence in relation to this survives in the collection.
Date1867 - 1968
Related MaterialPapers of a large number of Gaelic League activists at the turn of the twentieth century are now available, notably Piaras Beaslai in the National Library of Ireland, and Donal O Corcora in the Boole Library, University College Cork. These papers compliment the material held in the section on Stiophan Bairead. The work of Ciaran Bairead as a folklorist is accessible at the Irish Folklore Commission in University College Dublin. The most appropriate form of reference for material from the Bairead collection is NUI Galway: James Hardiman Library Archives: Bairead Collection; Title of Item; Date of Item; reference number (G3/?).
Physical DescriptionPaper
Extent1169 items
Administrative HistoryStiophan Bairead was born to Stephen Barrett and Sheila O'Beirne in Kilmore, County Roscommon on the 22nd August 1867. His father was a well-to-do farmer, and had held the position of barony constable at the time. Stiophan was one of nine children who all received a good education, the boys in the Grammar School in Athlone, and the girls in convents in Athlone and Sligo.

When Stiophan was eleven he was in a bad accident which took him three years to recover from. When he finally left hospital in 1882, he had a permanent limp. He was educated at home and developed a good head for figures. He also read voraciously at this time, and at nineteen became interested in the Irish language movement. He corresponded regularly with a number of people, including R.J. O'Mulrenin of the Gaelic Union. He was also a member of the Society for the Preservation of the Irish Language and the Irish National League. He moved to Dublin, learned Irish, and began to give classes to the Celtic Literary Society, He was active in Connradh na Gaelige from its foundation as Treasurer, and by the turn of the twentieth century he was working full-time for Connradh as well as organising the "Oireachtas". He got to know many people through his work, including Padraig Pearse, working on the financial side of "An Cliadheamh Solus" as well as the foundation of Scoil Eanna.

In spite of the trouble which occurred at the Dundalk Ard Fheis in 1915 when An Craoibhin resigned as President, Stiophan continued on, looking after financial matters and doing the work of officers such as Sean T O Ceallaigh when they were in prison. He was arrested after a raid on Connradh offices uncovered a small quantity of ammunition in November 1920, but he was subsequently cleared of the charges brought against him. He died suddenly while attending mass with his daughter Sighle on 26th March 1921.

Stiophan married Siubhan Ni Mhurchadha from Claregalway and they had five children, bringing them up through Irish. Their daughter Sighle was born in 1903, her god-parents were Maire Ni Thoghdha and Padraig Mac Piaras. She did not start learning English until she was seven, and went to school in Eccles St. She worked as a teacher and secretary in various places in Dublin and spent much of her later life in Whitehall. During the 1960s she did a lot of research work into her parents and wrote a number of articles about them.

Their son Ciaran was born in 1905. He was educated in Saint Tomas Academy, Eccles St., and O'Connell Schools, later at University College Dublin. He did a lot of research work. Projects included a Connradh na Gaeilge exhibition in the National Museum in 1943, research work in Dr. Swaine's biography of the late Cardinal Cullen, and work for the Irish Manuscripts Commission. He moved to Turloughmore in County Galway around 1950 and began work as a folklore collector. He collected over 23,000 pages of material for the Irish Folklore Commission, as well as gathering large numbers of artefacts for the National Museum. He also helped several researchers in the folklore of County Galway with his local knowledge. He died in 1976.
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