The Armstrong Papers were donated to the University of Limerick in 1999 by Susan and Graham Armstrong of Natal, South Africa. The collection contains some 50,000 items, including over 13,000 photographs, making it one of the largest of the archival collections in the Glucksman Library. The documents encompass 350 years of family history of the Armstrongs of Moyaliffe Castle, County Tipperary, and the related families of Maude of Lenaghan Park, County Fermanagh, and Kemmis of Ballinacor, County Wicklow.
The Armstrong Papers comprise diverse material, from administrative and estate records to private correspondence and touching personal items such as a child’s diary or a baby’s tiny slipper. A set of early eighteenth-century sermons serves as a reminder of the many distinguished clergymen which the family produced. Of unique significance are the letters and diaries of Captain William Maurice (‘Pat’) Armstrong written during the First World War, which provide a first-hand account of events as they unfolded in the various theatres of war.
The large photographic section of the collection includes studio portraits of members of the Armstrong, Maude and Kemmis families and snapshots of family life; images of hunting and shooting parties in country houses across Ireland, England and Scotland; snapshots of tenants and labourers at Moyaliffe, Chaffpool and Ballinacor; and images taken by Captain Pat Armstrong of military life in India and South Africa, where he served with the Tenth Royal Hussars, and of field operations in Europe and North Africa during the First World War. These images, and the rich tapestry of documents which accompany them, provide a unique insight into the genteel Anglo-Irish lifestyle and its gradual but irrevocable decline after the Great War.