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Nora Ashe Papers

Identifier: MSE/IR 1045

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of several pieces of correspondence and ephemera originally sent to Nora Ashe in June 1916 and June 1917. Included are three letters, two telegrams, and one copy of the Liberator newspaper.

The content mainly relates to the imprisonment of Nora’s brother, Thomas Ashe, in the aftermath of the 1916 Easter Rising, his homecoming journey in June 1917 as well as some references to the impending 1917 East Clare by-election. One letter additionally hints at troubles within Conradh na Gaeilge and An Coiste Gnotha due to the general unrest.


  • Creation: 1916 - 1917

Language of Materials

Contains two letters, two telegrams and one newspaper in English, as well as one letter in Irish.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

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

A teacher, an Irish nationalist, and an ardent activist for the Irish language, Nora (Honora) Ashe (Aghas) was born in Kinard, Co. Kerry, Ireland on 15 July 1882, the third daughter of Gregory and Ellen (née Hanafin) Ashe. Ashe was raised in a bilingual household and her father was locally famous for his Irish stories. She was educated at Killarney by the Loreto Sisters and later at Carysfort College from 1907-1909 where she was taught by Eamon De Valera. She taught at the Mercy convent in Kilrush, in Cappamore, Co. Limerick, 1909-1919, and the Central Model School on Marlborough Street in Dublin and became the first principal of Scoil Mhuire, an Irish-language primary school, where she remained until her retirement.

Alongside her young brother, the republican leader Thomas Ashe (1885-1917), Ashe was deeply involved in the cause of Irish independence, particularly after her brother’s imprisonment following the 1916 Easter Rising. She visited and corresponded with him while he was imprisoned at HMP Lewes, serving as his means of communicating with other republicans, including Michael Collins. She later accompanied Thomas on his homecoming journey to Kerry in June 1917, and joined him to campaign for Eamon De Valera for the 1917 East Clare by-election.

Following the establishment of the Irish Free State Ashe remained highly active in both the political and cultural spheres of Irish nationalism. She was critical in the foundation of Fianna Fáil in 1926, and served on its national executive board. She was also heavily involved with Conradh na Gaeilge, and was a trustee of its executive committee, an Coiste Gnótha (1923–41). Nora Ashe died on 20 January 1970 in Dublin, and is buried in Straffan, County Kildare.


0.5 Cubic Feet


Material has been arranged chronologically.



Lauren Jean
28 February 2022
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

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

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556