Libraries Big and Libraries Small [1]

One Irish word I came to recognize on my recent trip, although I don’t know how it’s pronounced, was Leabharlann. Needless to say, it means Library.

TA Library

Colclough Room, former Tintern Abbey Library

And the first Library I came across was no longer in use as such. It was the library at Tintern Abbey. Since restoration this room is now known as the Colclough Room and is used as a gallery to tell the stories of the families who lived here.

To my mind the best place to pick up wifi is at a Public Library and I made a couple of visits to Lismore Public Library and Dungarvan Library on some of the wetter days that I spent at Salterbridge Gatelodge.

Lismore Lib Lismore Library

Lismore Public Library

On my day out in Cork I popped into the Cork Public Library. There was an interesting display in the foyer : The Best Banned in the Land featuring books banned by the Catholic church in Ireland.


The Cork Library Register of Banned Books

nasty list

Best Banned Books

Many of the authors were Irish and often the Library had bought copies which were later removed from shelves and returned to booksellers for credit. The exhibition focussed on those Irish authors. The list of “Our Nasty Novelists” included George Bernard Shaw, Edna O’Brien, James Joyce, M J O’Farrell (Molly Keane), and I recognised ‘Persephone’ author Norah Hoult (Persephone Book 59 “There were no windows”)

banned women

Banned Women

Norah H

Norah Hoult – Banned

E O'Brien

Edna O’Brien – Banned

old cork library

Later, on a Walking Tour in Cork, I spotted a new use for an old library




6 comments on “Libraries Big and Libraries Small [1]

  1. sherry says:

    Did the display say WHY the books/authors were banned?

    • Hi sherry, I didn’t have time to read everything but it’s well known that the Catholic Church banned any book thought by their top dogs to be immoral or heretical. The Index Librorum Prohibitorum includes books on science and other non-fiction but the Cork display here seems to refer solely to Irish novelists, playwrights, poets.

  2. nilly says:

    Times are so different now – you’ve brought back memories of the ’60s when we in England were “allowed” to read these banned books and wonder what the fuss was about. I also remember my granny lending my mother Lady Chatterley’s Lover!

  3. Yes, what a lot of fuss in such recent times. Ireland has changed for the better in so many ways since my early visits in the 1960s – thank goodness!

  4. Declan O'Brien says:

    In the Irish language most words ending in “lann” denotes a building. So uachtarlann means creamery (uachtar is the Irish for cream), pictiúrlann means cinema (picture house!), and leabharlann as you correctly state means library (leabhar being the Irish for book). You would like to know how to pronounce “leabharlann”! The word contains 3 syllables: low(rhyming with “cow”) – or – lon (as in “London”).
    Incidentally, Mr Google rightly or wrongly tells me that the last book to be banned in UK was “Lord Horror” (1989).
    Am enjoying your blogs very much!

    • Hello, Declan, and thank you! You can imagine that in my mind I had it completely wrong. Now all I need to do is remember for the next time ;-). Thank you also for being such a kind and generous host and there will be more posts to come soon on the pleasures of being in Ireland. xx

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