The Archive

In 2006, the Robinson Archive was officially donated to the Galway University Foundation and the James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway as part of a generous bequest from Tim and Máiréad Robinson.

The process of depositing and cataloguing the archive commenced in July 2013 with a dedicated team of librarians, scholars and university administrators appointed to oversee the transfer of the archive, a selection of which contains 24,365 pages of manuscripts material and first editions of his Aran and Connemara writings; 489 pages of maps; 9,650 pages of correspondence with friends, artists and scholars dating from 1960-2010, including extensive material relating to the writer John Moriarty (c.900 pages); 300 Irish and English language reference books from his personal library; material relating to his life and work in Vienna, Istanbul and Cambridge; 11,700 items of placename index cards contained in 13 drawers; field notebooks, index cards, rubbings, drawing and other fieldwork related material and observations. 

The archive invites us to take a look behind the scenes in showing how Robinson’s thinking and working emerged from his extensive reading on Irish literature, folklore, history, geography, and archaeology, as well as his scientific understanding of the geology, botany, and marine heritage of the Irish west. We also see his collaboration with scholars based across a wide variety of disciplines at NUI Galway from his arrival in Aran, and in particular how academic staff at the university contributed to his expanding knowledge of, and writing on, the Irish Landscape. 

The final cataloguing of the archive will be completed in the near future at which point the archive in its entireity will become fully available and accessible to members of the public and to a new generation of scholars, writers, scientists and artists interested in areas such as Placename Studies, Community Mapping, Heritage and Genealogy, Irish Language and Folklore Studies, in addition to those interested in Maritime Ecologies, Climate Change, and the History of Science.

'Perhaps a second circuit would be rewarding now that my pace has been chastened by so many miles, my breath deepened by so many words. But for a book to stand like an island out of the sea if the unwritten it must acknowledge its own bounds, and turn inward from them, and look into the labyrinth.'
        Tim Robinson, Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage