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Patrick McCabe Papers

Identifier: MSE/IR 2717

Scope and Contents

This collection documents the professional career of Irish writer Patrick McCabe. The majority of the collection consists of rough drafts of his drama, prose, and poetry, including some of his most popular works in film and literature, Breakfast on Pluto and The Butcher Boy. The collection also contains various ephemera and promotional materials for his published works. Also included are newspaper and magazine interviews, works of other writers, and personal documents such as correspondence and financial records. Materials include manuscripts, pamphlets, correspondence, clippings, magazines, ephemera, and electronic records.


  • Creation: 1946-2013
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1980-2010


Language of Materials

Collection materials in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical / Historical

Patrick McCabe was born in Clones, Co. Monaghan, near the border of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, in 1955. In 1974 he qualified as a primary teacher, and taught at St. Michael’s Boys’ National School in Longford. While living in Longford, he also played keyboard with a ballroom music group called the Oklahoma Showband. He moved to Dublin with his girlfriend Margot Quinn in 1978, and taught in Dublin, and in Balbriggan, Co. Dublin from 1978 to 1987. They were married in 1981. He worked as a remedial teacher in Kingsbury Day Primary and Special School, London, 1987 to 1993. In 1987, the family moved to England where McCabe taught at a special needs school in Brent, where he taught until 1993. The McCabe family subsequently returned to Ireland.

In 1978, McCabe won a Hennessy Literary Award for his short story, ‘The Call’, published in the Irish Press. His children’s story The Adventures of Shay Mouse, illustrated by Margot Quinn, was published in 1984, followed by the novel, Music on Clinton St., in 1985. Carn, published in 1989, is a novel set in a border town such as the area where McCabe grew up, during the Northern Ireland Troubles. Subsequent novels include two that were shortlisted for the Booker Prize, The Butcher Boy (1992), his most famous novel to date, and Breakfast on Pluto (1998). McCabe has written extensively for the stage and screen as well as for radio, and films of both The Butcher Boy and Breakfast on Pluto were made by director Neil Jordan.

Most of McCabe’s work is set in small towns in the Irish midlands and along the border, and a term coined to describe his work, ‘Bog Gothic’, refers to his setting of dark comedy in the bogland areas of the midlands.


24.5 Cubic Feet


This collection is arranged into two series: I. Writings, and II. Business and Personal Papers. Series I is arranged into seven subseries: i. Drama; ii. Fiction; iii. Unidentified; iv. Nonfiction; v. Research Files and Notes; vi. Ephemera; and vii. Electronic Records. Subseries i, ii, iv, v, and vi are arranged alphabetically; subseries iii and vii are unarranged. Series II is arranged into six subseries: i. Promotional and Event Materials; ii. Clippings, Magazines, and Interviews; iii. Other Authors; iv. Correspondence; v. Financial Records; and vi. Miscellaneous. Subseries i, ii, and iii are arranged alphabetically; subseries iv and v are arranged chronologically; and subseries vi is unarranged.

Patrick McCabe Papers
Under Revision
Hannah E. Sabal
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Rare Books & Special Collections Repository

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556