The O’Mara Papers Exhibition


Special Collections and Archives launched the O’Mara Papers in the Stand Hotel in November 2019, with a view to hosting an exhibition in UL in 2020. Slightly delayed by world events, the exhibition has now been set up outside Special Collections and Archives on the ground floor.

The O’Mara Papers comprise predominantly business and personal records created and generated by Stephen O’Mara Junior (1884-1959) in the course of his life. The business records cover mainly correspondence in O’Mara’s capacity as director of O’Mara’s Bacon Company and later as director of the Bacon Company of Ireland and do not encompass all operational aspects of the business. However the material provides an interesting view of the bacon industry in early 20th-century Ireland and its gradual decline from the 1930s onwards.



The personal records cover O’Mara’s political career, including his three terms as Mayor of Limerick from 1921 to 1923; the second Bond Drive to the United States, his subsequent imprisonment in 1922-1923 and the ensuing court case of 1927; and his later political involvement, particularly his role as a founding director of The Irish Press. Other material of note includes extensive correspondence and architectural drawings relating to Strand House, New Strand House and Ivy Bank House, homes of the O’Mara family.

One of the most significant aspects of the collection is material relating to the O’Brien family of Boru House, particularly the private correspondence of the novelist Kate O’Brien with her sisters, brother-in-law and nephew. The letters illuminate O’Brien’s method of writing, the creative process behind each of her novels and the ups and downs of her career as author.



The exhibition will run for the entirety of the Autumn Semester. We have some fantastic original archival items on display, as well as some ‘ghostly’ figures from the collection, including Stephen O’Mara, Kate O’Brien and DeValera. The panels are also available online.


Click here to view the exhibition online