Athea Library (bottom right) which has been honoured on a Commemorative Stamp

Honouring the Carnegie Libraries in Ireland

Book lovers in Ireland owe a debt of gratitude to Scottish-born philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, who generously offered grants between 1897 and 1913 to 80 libraries in Ireland, many of whom are still in existence. To mark the centenary of the death of Carnegie (1835-1919) four stamps that feature Carnegie Library buildings of architectural note are issued. The buildings are in Enniskerry (County Wicklow); Athea (County Limerick); Kilkenny City and Clondalkin, Dublin.

These stamps may be bought in sheets and are available online at: or by calling: 01 705 7400

Did You Know?

Andrew Carnegie’s Scottish family was very poor in 1848 and had to borrow money in order to emigrate to the U.S. in search of a better life. Immediately, he began working 12 hours a day, six days a week as a bobbin boy at the tender age of 13, changing spools of thread in a cotton mill in Allegheny, Pennsylvania for $1.20 per week. Carnegie later went on to enjoy exceptional success in the steel industry and, in 1901, sold his company for $480,000,000.

Dog Fouling

We have been asked to highlight the fact that dogs are being allowed to run around the graveyard without leads and are fouling the graveyards and graves. This is not acceptable as people are very upset about the disturbance caused by these dogs.

We would ask that people keep their dogs on a lead at all times and if a dog should foul the area you are obliged by law to clean this up.

The World Gone Mad

By Domhnall de Barra

In media circles they call this time of the year the “silly season”. It is holiday time and there isn’t usually much happening in the political world so some strange stories appear. I thought I was hearing things the other day as I listened to the early news just before I got up. I had to pinch myself to see if I was dreaming or if it was the 1st of April because the announcer said that a famous store had opened its Christmas department that day. July wasn’t quite over and the sun was shining that morning. Has the world gone totally bonkers when  we have to start thinking about Christmas before the summer has even ended?  I thought it was bad enough when they started bombarding us with ads just after Halloween but who, in their right mind would want to start buying Christmas presents and decorations at this time of year. There is so much to happen between now and December, some of us may not survive until then, so why are we wishing our lives away and not savouring every day that comes and leave the winter until it arrives, as it surely will. On giving the matter some thought, I came to the conclusion that retailers are not stupid and would not put goods on the shelf if there wasn’t a good chance of there being a demand for them. They don’t leave things to chance and do research before they make concrete decisions so there must be a market out there for what they are doing. It is not for me to judge what people do but I think the whole idea is bonkers. Time was when Christmas began on Christmas Eve. That was the day the pony or donkey was tackled and the tea chest was taken to the nearest village or town to be filled with what was called “the Christmas”. On arriving home turnips were hollowed out to hold candles which were placed in the windows and bits of holly and ivy were cut from trees outside to provide decoration for the kitchen. They would be left in place for the 12 days and then Christmas would be forgotten  until the 23rd. December again. I suppose we can look forward to houses and gardens being lit up well in advance of the season this year. As long as it makes people happy I suppose there is no harm in it.

Speed Bumps

There has been a request made to see if speed bumps can be placed in the village. There is concern about the speed of some vehicles and the possibility of accidents and somebody getting seriously injured. With this in mind, I did a bit of observation one day and took notice of the traffic passing through. Well over 30% were going too fast, especially coming over the bridge, and would not have been able to stop in an emergency. We have speed limits on all roads leading to the centre but very few drivers adhere to them. It can be difficult to do, especially if you are coming down the hill from Carrigkerry where there is a big fall and it is easy to gather speed.  We are all in too much of a hurry these days. I am a culprit myself, very impatient with other road users who are travelling too slow and anxious to get to my destination as fast as possible.  I was doing this one day when it dawned on me that I was racing for nothing. When I got home I had nothing pressing to do so I might as well have driven at a comfortable rate and not put myself and others in danger. When I was doing my observation I noticed a number of very large tractors and trailers that could have slowed down a little passing through the streets. Modern tractors can reach pretty high speeds and some of these are driven by younger drivers who, though competent enough, have not got the driving experience to react quickly enough in an emergency. All it needs is one child to follow a ball on to the road and there could be trouble. I don’t like speed  bumps myself but they do make us slow down and if this makes our village safer for everybody then it is an inconvenience I am willing to put up with. Let me know what you think.

TV Licence Change

The government are changing the way they collect the television fee and have plans to scrap it after a five year period in favour of a device tax. I don’t know how exactly this is going to work but I presume devices such as computers, laptops, tablets and smart phones that have the capacity  to capture TV content, will have to be licensed. This is a radical step and one that will face a lot of opposition.  Many text books in secondary schools and colleges are now being replaced by tablets which students have to have, it is not a luxury. Will these be subject to the new tax? We will have to wait for the devil in the detail to see how it will develop. What is more alarming is the fact that they are going to put the collection of the current fee up for tender for the next five years. This is another nail in the coffin of An Post who had the lucrative contract up to now. With all the changes it looks like An Post will be irrelevant in our community in the not too distant future. Times they are a changing and I wonder if it is for the best. The reason for the change, they say, is to maximise the returns and cut down on the number of people who avoid getting a licence every year. Whoever gets the contract will have a vested interest in hunting down the dodgers and making sure that money is available to fund national broadcasting.  There wouldn’t be a problem if everybody obeyed the law of the land and got a licence but there are always those who even are proud of the fact that they avoid paying and laugh at the rest of us who do. Well the laughing days are nearly over and we will all have to stump up or, God forbid, be separated from our smart phones!