The archives of the late - and legendary - Irish actor Richard Harris have been donated to University College Cork, home to one of Ireland's leading film schools.

UCC Library and the Richard Harris Estate have collaborated to house a collection of letters, photographs, literary works, artefacts and professional and personal documents which belonged to the late actor.

The first public exhibition of the collection will take place in Richard Harris’s home town of Limerick at the Hunt Museum.

Jared Harris in front of a portrait of his father, Richard Harris

The Richard Harris archives span over 50 years of Harris’ life and comprise of an extensive collection of manuscripts, letters, photographs, literary works, artefacts and professional and personal documents which belonged to the late actor.

The Richard Harris Archive offers a unique insight into one of Ireland’s most legendary actors who starred in some of the most celebrated films of the last half century, and who won and was nominated for the most prestigious awards in film and theatre.

Among the archives are his 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 communications from family and friends, arts critics, and co-performers.

The exhibition at the Hunt Museum is due to the bequest of the Harris family, and the assistance of the late actor’s son Jared. This remarkable collection will be a legacy of the 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," said Jared Harris.

The 1952 Munster junior rugby team (copyright The Richard Harris Estate)

"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."

University College Cork's acquisition of these archives marks a new stage in the development of contemporary cultural collections at the university.

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Crónán Ó Doibhlin, Head of Collections at UCC Library said, "The Richard Harris Archive will be of great benefit to the arts and culture industry to Richard Harris’s home province of Munster, where his legacy as a loved and internationally respected actor continues to be celebrated and cherished."

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

You can read John Byrne’s interview with Jared Harris here.