Belfast Telegraph

A signed manuscript of a Seamus Heaney poem, an original 1922 Irish Proclamation and Brendan Behan's handwritten ballads among treasures set to go under the hammer in Dublin

A treasure trove of historic items including a signed manuscript by Seamus Heaney is set to go under the hammer in Dublin later this month.

An item from the collection Castledawson born bard Seamus Heaney is set to be one of the biggest draws. It is a signed holograph manuscript copy of his poem The Wishing Chair, from the Squarings sequence and has been estimated to sell for €1,000 - €1,500).

It will be part of the Annual Christmas Sale held by Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers at The Gresham Hotel in Dublin on Tuesday December 13.

The sale comprises of over 800 lots and consists of a magnificent collection of Rare Books, Literature, Manuscripts, Maps and Works of Art.

Another item expected to excite is an original signed volume from Jonathan Swift's Library with visibly signed ‘Jon: Swift,’ in ink - estimated to sell for €10,000 - €15,000.

It collection also includes political pieces such as a very rare 1922 Proclamation, associated with the Irish Provisional Government (Rialtas Sealadach na hÉireann), in relation to the matter of the Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland, which was signed in London on December 6 1921.

This rare historic item, probably unrecorded, is the proclamation declaring the calling of a Parliament in Ireland to meet in Dublin city on the 1st July 1922, which did not meet until September after the death of Collins and Griffin. The proclamation was published in Dublin on the 27th day of May, 1922 and signed by Mícheál Ó Coileáin, Chairman of the Provisional Government and Diarmuid Ó hÉigceartuigh, Secretary to the Provisional Government, bidding is estimated at €1,000 - €1,500.

For the child that loves to read and for parents looking for an unusual Christmas present this auction is the perfect reason to gift a piece of history that they can be a part of. Going under the hammer is the unpublished children's book ‘GROWLY-WOWLY’ by Irish Novelist Edith Somerville (Whose books inspired the 1980's TV Show, 'The Irish RM')  [1858-1949]. Better known to most as ‘The Story of the Three Little Pigs' this fantastic original signed manuscript tells the story written in Somerville’s hand, and with seven superb full page watercolour illustrations is estimated at €3,000 - €5,000. There are many other sought after beautiful artworks, signed manuscripts and limited editions by Edith Somerville included in the auction.

Other charming children’s classics is the First Edition of Tom Sawyer ‘Abroad by Mark Twain’ (1894) and First Edition of ‘The House at Pooh Corner’, by A.A. Milne (1928). Now a popular fantasy movie, a wonderful First Edition of  ‘Alice and Wonderland - Through the Looking Glass and what Alice Found There’, originally written by C.L. Dodgson, will enter the auction estimated at €250 - €300.

An important collection of handwritten and typescript ballads, composed by renowned author and singer Brendan Behan will also be auctioned. The collection which is expected to fetch in excess of its estimate of €3,000, encapsulates the love and republicanism of a man that gave us some of the most iconic ballads of Irish freedom - ‘The Foggy Dew’ and ‘The Wind That Shakes The Barley’. The archives also include autographed scripts, pencilled notes and corrections by Behan himself.

A wonderful complete set of Jack B Yeats, Cuala Press Broadsides will feature alongside other Yeats material. Created in fine hand-coloured illustrations all by Yeats, the set was published and printed monthly from June 1908 - May 1915 in Dundrum (est. €4000 - 6000).

Included in the sale is a selection of photographs by one of the earliest pioneers of photography in Ireland, circa. 1855, taken by to Sir Joscelyn (J.J.) Coghill,  First Secretary of the Dublin Photographic Society. The album containing approx 140 photographs is estimated at €6,000 - 8,000.

Initial viewing will take place on Thursday December 8 at Chatsworth, Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny. With additional viewings at The Gresham Hotel, Dublin on Sunday December 11 from 1pm – 6pm and Monday December 12 from 10.30 – 6pm. The sale will take place also in The Gresham Hotel on Tuesday 13th December at 10.15am

For more information on the items up for auction, please visit

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