IHF 30 years and beyond – Physical & Digital Archive

Last year saw the Irish Hospice Foundation mark it’s 30th anniversary and reflect on our history and legacy.

As part of this reflection the Library and Information Service worked to bring together previously unpublished documents and images spanning the foundation’s history from its launch up to the present in a digital archive. The digital archive was launched in January by RTE’s Mary Kennedy. It allows browsing across online collections featuring documents, images, video and audio on some of the projects, events and achievements of the IHF over three decades. There are currently over 2,000 items and 80 collections digitised and accessible in the archive. Speaking at the launch Mary Kennedy said “This archive spans three decades of the IHF since it’s foundation in 1986 and features some very familiar names that have supported the hospice movement. It maps the history of the hospice including ground breaking IHF programmes like Hospice Friendly Hospitals and Nurses for Night Care, innovative fundraising projects like the Whoseday Book and their pioneering research’.

Some highlights of the archive include ;

  • TK Whitaker’s speech and photos from IHF launch in 1986
  • Original photograph of Seamus Heaney’s hands by photographer Perry Ogden with notes for cover of the Whoseday Book – a Unique Diary for the Millennium. The book in aid of the IHF had 366 contributors including poets, filmmakers and song writers.
  • Correspondence between Dr Mary Redmond & Mother Teresa
  • Correspondence relating to the preparation of the Whoseday book including draft sketches and letters for the final publication valued at £550,000 in 2000. The collection was bought by Bank of Ireland and was donated to the National Library.
  • Unique concept art detailing layout of the Peter and the Wolf book which was illustrated by Bono in aid of the IHF.
  • The original letter from Dr Mary Redmond to Sr Frances Rose O’Flynn of Our Lady’s Hospice Harold’s Cross in 1985 recounting how the death of her father highlighted the importance of hospice care for terminally ill patients and their families.
  • A meeting memorandum between Dr Redmond and Dame Cicely Saunders – founder of the modern hospice movement – in February 9th 

Laura Rooney Ferris, IHF Information and Library Manager and archive creator said at the launch ‘In creating this digital archive we are sharing our family album. We are incredibly grateful to Dr Mary Redmond’s family for this large collection of her personal papers and documents, and also to former board and staff members and people involved throughout the 30 years who kindly contributed’. 

Mother Teresa Letter
Letter from Mother Teresa of Calcutta in response to Dr Mary Redmond Mar 1992

Continuing Work

The digital archive will continue to be developed over time – many collections of personal papers, documents, research and historical material relating to Dr Mary Redmond and the founding of the Irish Hospice Foundation are still being curated and plans are being developed to catalogue and make these collections accessible.

Stay tuned to the blog for updates on items of interest in the archive collections.

You can browse the current digital archive collections HERE>>> 


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