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Broken Promises Lead To Rural Tipperary’s Destruction

Some €150 million is being spent to redevelop the historic 1916 Boland’s Mill site in Dublin’s docklands, including the construction of a 15-storey apartment block, by Dublin City Council.

Buildings at No.14 to No.17 inclusive at Moore Street, Dublin have been purchased since 2015 from Nama, by Fine Gael Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys. Possibly three of these buildings were in ruins prior to the 1916 Easter Rising and therefore, despite Sinn Féin’s revenge protestations, are of no real historic significant.  Admittedly around three hundred Irish Volunteers and members of Cumann na mBan did use the cover of these derelict buildings to escape from the GPO after it caught fire, following a bombardment by British artillery; breaking in and tunnelled their way through gable walls. The fourth house No.16 is important, since it became Volunteer headquarters and the place from which it was decided to finally surrender on April 29th, 1916.

An extra €2 million in 2015, we are informed, was transferred from Arts to secure funding for the wages of staff operating free tourist admissions to National Cultural Institutions which included the National Museum of Ireland, the Natural History museum on Dublin’s Merrion Street, Archaeology on Kildare Street and the National Library of Ireland.

We are informed that a capital provision of €22 million was allocated in 2015 to a number of flagship projects, including the development of a permanent exhibition space and interpretative centre at the GPO in O’Connell Street; the renovation of Kilmainham Courthouse in Dublin to enhance the visitor experience at Kilmainham Gaol; the provision of a permanent visitor facility at Cathal Brugha Barracks for the Military Service Pensions Archive; renovation works at Richmond Barracks; the development of a Tenement Museum in Dublin; and the restoration of the Kevin Barry rooms in the National Concert Hall.

Forgetting the €150 million spend on the historic 1916 Boland’s Mill site, some €28 million, at least, has now been set aside for 1916 projects; all of which has one theme in common – DUBLIN.

KellyiToday the Tipperary Kelly / Coonan Circus rolled into Thurles, led by their Ringmaster the Minister for Property Tax, Water and higher Bin Charges, Mr Alan Kelly. You know the guy I mean; in April 2010, as an Irish MEP he had his Twitter account supposedly “compromised” and God forbid, if the little ‘divils’ didn’t write; “just got stopped by a pikey, scuse me sir, ya haven’t seen a black mare and white pony go by ave ya??? err no sorry”.  The word ‘Pikey’ here in “Éire of the Welcomes” is rightly considered a derogatory insulting racist reference, directed at members of our Travelling Community. (It was on the back of this insulting Tweet that no doubt gave justification to Labour’s Joan Burton to raise Kelly’s political stature to the post of “Minister for the Homeless”.)

The other partner of this Circus, Fine Gael’s Minister for Nothing or Other, Mr Noel Coonan also arrived into Thurles today; no doubt to familiarise himself after five years with the Thurles layout. After all when you get a few extra Saturday shoppers walking the town one thinks in the words of our Saviour Jesus Christ “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

The late session with the Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Templemore last night must have kept the junior Minister for Something or Other, Mr Tom Hayes running late; no sign of him.

Anyway, I digress; sure feck-it, unable to afford the price of a parking space in Liberty Square, didn’t I miss both or all of these fine publicly elected representatives.

Question: Why bother, I hear our readers say?
Answer: I suppose Firstly I wanted to sincerely thank all three for staying up in Dáil Éireann to vote, thus supporting their ‘Party Whips’ wishes; that they should support the largest majority government in the history of this State, instead of being down here in their constituencies of Co. Tipperary spreading “The Recovery.” Well done boys; as FG MEP Phil Hogan would have said “That’s real patriotism being expressed lads.”
Secondly: I wanted to thank them both for creating 135,000 jobs since 2012, and to explain that I understand perfectly, unlike other ungrateful bastards, why all three of these boyo’s failed miserably to find even one job, over the last 5 years in Tipperary, until 6 weeks before the forthcoming 2016 General Election.
Thirdly: Boys, what happened, on your watch, to ‘The Bolton Library’ down the road in Cashel?

Question: What the hell is ‘The Bolton Library’ I hear you say?’
Answer: Read on and be enlightened!

The Bolton Library

Bolton Library in the shadow of the Cathedral of St. John The Baptist, Cashel, Co. Tipp.

Let’s start at the very beginning. Perhaps the most dynamic, once incumbent of Cashel, Co. Tipperary was Archbishop (from 1729) Theophilus Bolton (1678–1744), one of the best ecclesiastical lawyers of his time. It was he who built the present Cashel Palace Hotel in 1732. A patron of the Archbishop was Dublin Archbishop William King (1650–1729) who bequeathed to him a collection of 6,000 books, following his death in 1729. Bolton now housed, in all, some 12,000 books in the “Long Room” of his Cashel Palace, former modelled after the library in Trinity College, Dublin. After his death in 1744 Bolton bequeathed this full collection to the C-of-I diocese.

The library had remained secure at the palace until about 1820, when the Church Temporalities Act suppressed the archbishopric, which required the vacating of the palace. Thurles Church of Ireland rector, the Revd Archdeacon Henry Cotton, who had been sub-librarian at the famous Bodleian Library in Oxford, was chosen to become the first librarian in 1822. An examination of the library in 1822 by Cotton found that the collection had suffered from neglect, with many volumes destroyed by damp or in need of repair. Over the next 40 years Cotton revived the library and instituted it as a lending library for C-of-I clergy, producing a printed catalogue of contents. The disestablishment of the Church of Ireland in 1869 drastically reduced the income of the Church of Ireland and again the library began to fall into neglect.

In 1836 a Chapter House, which still stands today in the shadow of Cashel C-of-I Cathedral was built, designed by Clonmel-born architect William Tinsley, to become the library’s new residence. In 1909 the Dean of Cashel was granted direct responsible for this rare collection, “to be kept there forever“.  However unlike Archbishop Narcissus Marsh, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, and formerly Provost of Trinity College, he (Bolton), most regrettably, made no provision or bequest to ensure the Cashel library’s ongoing survival.

The first attack on this library took place when it was plundered by soldiers billeted at the Cashel Palace to counter any Tipperary participation in the 1798 Rebellion. These rough, uneducated, pieces of cannon fodder were simply seeking timber fuel from Bolton’s ‘Long Room’ for their camp fire.

On the appointment of Dean Charles Wolfe around 1961,  he reported that the roof was leaking and books were damaged. With no funding available and to save this library, he was forced to sell off hundreds of books from this collection, many of which were purchased by well funded Folger Shakespeare Library and the Huntington Library.

Some twenty years later Dean David Woodward, reported that the library was again suffering from damp. A determined and capable clergyman; within three years the library had been again restored with heating installed, funded both locally and by donations from Guinness Peat Aviation, who by 1986 had donated a total of IR£100,000 including IR£36,000 used to conserve the books. However this project to further develop and conserve the library was, alas, curtailed by the untimely death of the aforementioned forward planner, Dean Woodward, in 1994.

His successor Dean Philip Knowles built up a partnership with the University of Limerick; to jointly act as voluntary curator of the library for 15 years. Continuous lack of funding and a survey by the Heritage Council undertaken in 2007 found that structural building works would need to be undertaken, while some 60 manuscripts repaired in the 1980’s; were once again being attacked by mould.

In 2010 the Fianna Fáil Minister of State for the Office of Public Works (OPW), Dr Martin Mansergh TD, announced that the library building would be taken in charge by the OPW, with the books jointly managed by the OPW and UL. On June 8th, 2010 Thurles.Info warned of the danger that this Cashel Library would be ‘vanished by stealth’ from our midst.  Unlike Moore St. Dublin, due to no angry Sinn Féin sounds emerging in the case of Cashel’s Bolton Library, except to upset Queen Elisabeth’s welcome visit to Cashel in 2011;  by May 4th 2014 it was being proposed to preserve the collection by moving it to Limerick, as no funding was found available. Tipperary remained silent and the library is now gone; soon no doubt it will embellish the economy of Co. Limerick.

How valuable was this collection?
Perhaps ‘Bolton Bloomfield and Potts’ in their Directory of Rare Books and Special Collections (London, 1997) best answers our question. The library contained “many items of great rarity, at least 50 not recorded elsewhere in the world, and some 800 not recorded elsewhere in Ireland”.

Contained in this collection was a catalogue of ‘European intellectual life’ existing between the late fifteenth and early eighteenth centuries represented by the printed books, fine bindings, manuscripts, maps and other items, including papyrus from the first century AD. The oldest manuscript was from the twelfth-century and had a thirteenth-century binding of deerskin stretched over oak. This collection was thoroughly European and represented the prominent printing houses of London, Paris, Geneva, Nuremburg, Basle, Venice, Amsterdam and Zurich, not forgetting our own island of Ireland. Former owners of some of this written material included Catherine of Aragon, Francis Bacon and Abraham Ortelius, latter Flemish cartographer to Philip II of Spain and creator of the first modern atlas.

The failure to retain this collection in Cashel, Co. Tipperary is a national disgrace, but what I fail to understand is how can we now fund this treasure in Co. Limerick, but could not fund it in Co. Tipperary, where properly supported and marketed it could have provided jobs and much needed tourism traffic in the town centre. Could not €100,000 have been siphoned off a Dublin project to spread the ‘Fine Gael/Labour Coalition Recovery’ in Tipperary before a General Election?

Less than 3 years ago, in July 2013 current Fine Gael Minister for Something or Other, Mr Tom Hayes said: “The Bolton Library is an important asset to the people of Cashel and is of strategic importance to the town from a tourism perspective. A clear path has now been decided upon, to try and save the library. The next steps will be to meet the protestant Bishop of Cashel and Ossory and senior management in the University of Limerick to secure the necessary funding to keep the Bolton Library open in Cashel, which will be a positive development for Cashel’s future tourism potential.”

Just one more broken promise and failure made to rural Ireland by Labour’s Alan Kelly, and Fine Gael’s Noel Coonan and Tom Hayes.

Just resign, grab your pensions and go, with the knowledge you have created 3 new jobs in five years here in Tipperary.

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