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Curious Case of Mayo Librarian [Paperback]

Pat Walsh
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

13 Jan 2005
The selection of the Mayo county librarian in 1930 should have been uneventful. It was hardly a crucial post and should have been a routine appointment, yet the choice led to a conflict that had national consequences. It set church against state, county council against government department and even members of the same political party against each other.In July 1930, Letitia Dunbar Harrison was chosen by an interview panel for the post of Mayo county librarian. However, Mayo County Council refused to endorse her appointment, defying a specific instruction from the Local Government Department. Such was the heat generated by the dispute that it almost brought down the Cumann na nGaedheal government. Why would such a seemingly minor appointment drive a government to the brink and set church and state against each other so heavily? Letitia was a Protestant and a Trinity graduate, and thus considered unsuitable for a public post in a large Catholic county.

Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Mercier Press (13 Jan 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1856356159
  • ISBN-13: 978-1856356152
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 12.5 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,203,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Pat Walsh is a Librarian with Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Library Service. Originally from Mayo, he now lives and works in Dun Laoghaire He was intrigued by the story of the Mayo Librarian when he discovered it was one of the few occasions that libraries made national news in Ireland. The result of his research is this fascinating book.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book about an obscure incident 24 July 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Curious Case of the Mayo Librarian is a fascinating work about the attempts by Mayo County Council to deny Letitia Dunbar Harrison the position of County Librarian simply because she was a Protestant.

The author has gone through a copious amount of primary sources to write a book which should leave no one in any doubt that Protestants faced serious discrimination in the Irish Free State of the 1930s.

A great read which is superbly written. Highly recommended.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sectarianism in 1930's Mayo 25 Feb 2010
By Wyvernfriend VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
In the early 1930's Ireland was still working it's way through it's issues. The people in charge were still working out how the new state was going to shape itself and bloody-minded Civil War politics were still shaping some of the ideologies and motivations of the main players.

Letitia Dunbar Harrison was appointed to Mayo as their first Librarian but was Protestant, going to a County with a vast Catholic majority, without good Irish as well, she became a hotbed of contraversy and a bone of contention that was well-chewed over.

Pat Walsh is a Librarian, speaking of a librarian and of a history that is now quite alien to most Irish people. But it could still happen in this country. Just change the religion. It could happen in any country! He doesn't really go into much other than the facts. One of the very interesting facts is that Letitia almost became, after her marriage and widowhood, the first Methodist Woman Minister.
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Amazon.com: 2.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sectarianism in 1930's Mayo 26 Feb 2010
By Wyvernfriend - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In the early 1930's Ireland was still working it's way through it's issues. The people in charge were still working out how the new state was going to shape itself and bloody-minded Civil War politics were still shaping some of the ideologies and motivations of the main players.

Letitia Dunbar Harrison was appointed to Mayo as their first Librarian but was Protestant, going to a County with a vast Catholic majority, without good Irish as well, she became a hotbed of contraversy and a bone of contention that was well-chewed over.

Pat Walsh is a Librarian, speaking of a librarian and of a history that is now quite alien to most Irish people. But it could still happen in this country. Just change the religion. It could happen in any country! He doesn't really go into much other than the facts. One of the very interesting facts is that Letitia almost became, after her marriage and widowhood, the first Methodist Woman Minister.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No context at all 21 Jun 2013
By Barbara Mcauliffe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
For all I know this case may be very famous in Ireland and everyone there may understand the context in which it took place, but this book is being sold in an American store (and therefore, available only to Americans because of copyright restrictions) and totally incomprehensible.

We are not given any guidance as to what was going on in Ireland at the time regarding sectarian issues. At one point someone is quoted as saying Ireland should go "tit for tat" with the North as regards hiring, but no one tells us what the North was doing in this regard.

For this book to make any sense to the people it is being sold to, it needs a foreword to expain context. Without any sort of context, it's just a bunch of incoherant newspaper stories.

Don't buy unless the author comes out with an edition with a foreword or chapter headings or something to explain the situation.
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