Richard Harris archive collection donated to University College Cork

Richard Harris archive collection donated to University College Cork

THE ARCHIVES of the late Irish actor Richard Harris have been donated to University College Cork, ranging from manuscripts to letters, photographs, literary works and both personal and professional documents.

The archives span over 50 years and give a unique insight into one of Ireland's most legendary actors.

Among the archives are Harris' personal creative writing manuscripts including poetry, publicity and location photos from his screen and stage performances including Camelot, The Field, Pirandello's Henry IV and as Professor Albus Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter films.

In addition, the archive includes private memos, items from film sets, Young Munster rugby plaques and pictures as well as letters and wire communications from family and friends, arts critics, and co-performers

The first public exhibition of the archives will take place in Richard Harris’s birth city of Limerick at the Hunt Museum and due to the generous bequest of the Harris family, and the assistance of the late actor’s son Jared, the placement of this remarkable collection will be a long-lasting legacy of the internationally acclaimed actor’s strong roots in Ireland and Munster.

“Our family is excited about bringing this collection to the public in Limerick and also basing it around the particular academic expertise of Dr Barry Monahan,” Jared said.

“Barry is a leading expert on our father’s career and University College Cork is home to a really exciting film school. We hope the public will enjoy the Limerick exhibition and students of film, music and theatre will find in the collection a fascinating trove of information.”

A preview of the collection was presented by Jared Harris and University College Cork at an event attended by members of the Harris family in London. Prominent items from the archives were unveiled at the event which took place in the Savoy Hotel’s Richard Harris Suite, where the late actor resided for many years.

Harris’s personal documents reveal a man whose skills as a gifted athlete and talented rugby player not only served him in practical ways for his performance in This Sporting Life, but for the duration of his career on stage and screen, and as a writer, director and producer of universal acclaim.

Dr Barry Monahan from the Department of Film & Screen Media at UCC research focuses on the relationship between Irish film and theatre, and the work of Richard Harris, particularly his contribution with his contemporaries to defining a national style of performance on stage and screen

“The Richard Harris Collection bridges important moments in the biography of the worldcelebrated Irish actor, offering fascinating insights to aspects of his career and personality that might have been lost in the gap between his public and private stories,” stated Dr Barry Monahan.

Jill Cousins, Director of The Hunt Museum in Limerick said:

"It will be an honour to curate this wonderful archive into an exhibition about one of Limerick’s favourite sons. We are looking forward to the collaboration with University College Cork and the Harris Family and to the joyful experience people will get from a greater insight into the man who was both an athlete and an actor.”

UCC has plans to develop a UCC Treasures Gallery which will be a fully secure and serviced space which will provide for public display and interpretation of a variety of artefacts.

Further details of University College Cork Library’s Richard Harris Archive exhibition at the Hunt Museum, Limerick will be released at a later date