About the Site

This is the official memorial website for the former Taoiseach, Charles J. Haughey, which has been established with the consent of his family. It is a work in progress and is intended to provide factual information on his career in public life and on his considerable contribution and achievements over many decades.

Bequests from the Estate of Charles Haughey: Donation of Haughey book collection to National Museum.

The personal library of the former Taoiseach, the late Charles J. Haughey, was presented to the National Museum of Ireland in Collins Barracks, Dublin on Monday 8 December. The presentation by Mrs. Maureen Haughey and her family will be an important national cultural resource when it goes on display in due course in the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo.

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Speaking on behalf of the family, Minister of State, Seán Haughey T.D. said that his family was delighted that the National Museum would accept his late father's collection. "My late father was born in Castlebar and it is fitting that his collection of books should be housed in the Museum of Country Life, at Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. He was honoured as 'Mayoman of the Year' in 1978 and had a long association with the county of his birth. It was to Mayo that he ventured early in the 1960s as a young and energetic Minister for Agriculture in the presence of his friend, and journalist John Healy. It was this trip which motivated my father to introduce the farmers'dole, or subsidy to live on the land. Later he was also an enthusiastic supporter both of Connacht Regional Airport at Knock and the Céide Fields".

"His collection of books reflects his great love of all things Irish. There are books on archaeology and folklore; literature; art and architecture; history and politics; biographies; sailing, islands and the sea; fauna and flora; crafts and antiques; trees and gardening; local history and guides; travel; on horses and shooting; books 'as Gaeilge' and 'en Francais'. Whilst not exclusively of Irish interest, they reflect a man with a deep, abiding passion and love for Ireland".

"That he greatly encouraged writers and artists is well recorded. His 1969 Income Tax Exemption Scheme for Artists and Writers was probably a world first for any legislation of its kind. Together with his Aosdána scheme, he always maintained that it was the gesture that was important, rather than any great material benefits which accrued for artists from these measures. Gesture or not, however, many of my father's books in this collection bear inscriptions from poets, writers and artists giving testimony to their improved financial circumstances as a direct consequence of his pioneering legislation. In 1982 he was also responsible for the removal of VAT on books which was greeted with enthusiasm, and perhaps astonishment, by the book industry, both readers and publishers alike".

"Our family would like to thank the National Museum and its Director Dr. Pat Wallace for accepting my father's book collection and it is our hope that it will attract many more visitors to Turlough Park".

According to the Director of the National Museum of Ireland, Dr. Pat Wallace, "the Haughey Library is a welcome addition to the National Museum, particularly to researchers using our branch at Castlebar, the birthplace of the former Taoiseach. It will serve as a memorial to his sincere interest in Irish history, archaeology, landscape and topography. I am most grateful to Mrs. Haughey and her family for the presentation".

The library consists of over 3,500 volumes. Staff in the National Museum are currently cataloguing the collection, which will take some time to complete. Once this is complete, the library will go on display in the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life. In the meantime, a small display of a select number of items will be displayed in the Galleries of the Museum of Country Life, Castlebar, Co. Mayo.