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Curious Case of the Mayo Librarian

Author(s): Pat Walsh

ISBN13: 9781856356152

ISBN10: 1856356159


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  • The Mayo library row as it was commonly known became news far outside the confines of the county. Not only had it made headlines in Ireland, it had caught the attention of newspapers in places as far away as Boston and London. Why would such a seemingly unassuming appointment drive a government to the brink and clash church and state against each other so heavily? Letitia was a Protestant.

    The office of Mayo County Librarian was hardly a crucial post. It was little more than a routine appointment, yet it escalated into 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 Miss Letitia Dunbar Harrison, a graduate of Trinity College, was appointed to the post of Mayo County Librarian. Her appointment set in motion a chain of events that resulted in a full scale political crisis. Mayo priests and politicians attempted to have her removed, and organised an effective boycott of the Library Service.

    Looking at the background to the dispute uncovers many of the fault-lines of the newly formed Free State. Examining the anatomy of the crisis lays bare the tensions of society in 1930s Ireland as it moved away from colonial rule.

  • Pat Walsh

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    An Irish solution to an Irish problem

    - The Sunday Tribune

    ...a timely reminder of the controversy

    - The Irish Examiner


Curious Case of the Mayo Librarian

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