News » Archived News 2010

90th Anniversary Procession  

On Saturday, 11 December 2010, the 90th anniversary of the burning of the Carnegie Library and of the 14,000 books on its shelves, along with the subsequent restoration of services in a new City Library on the Grand Parade in 1930, was commemorated by a symbolic procession comprising some one hundred people.  The procession began at the former site of the Carnegie Library on Anglesea Street and finished at the City Library in Grand Parade.  Before the procession commenced, the group of invited guests and general members of the public met in the Council Chamber of City Hall, where they were addressed by Lord Mayor Cllr Michael O’Connell.  Each person then selected a sample book to carry on the procession, from the thousands of books donated to the City Library after the burning of the Carnegie Library.  The procession — including the Lord Mayor, City Councillors, City Librarian Liam Ronayne, members of the different reading clubs in Cork City Libraries, the president of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, descendants of benefactors who donated books after the 1920 fire, representative staff from Cork City Libraries, members of the Cork City Fire Brigade, and many friends and users of Cork City Libraries — was escorted by An Garda Síochána and led by the Band of the First Southern Brigade, after leaving City Hall through a guard of honour from Cork City Fire Brigade.  The involvement of the Cork City Fire Brigade recalled the brigade’s obstructed efforts to fight the 1920 burning of the Carnegie Library.  The procession through Oliver Plunkett Street included a fire engine until the procession reached the City Library on the Grand parade, where samples of the donated books were held up in symbolic triumph for the restoration of library services on the Grand Parade ten years after the 1920 burning.   The old donated books where then re-presented to the Lord Mayor in the Central Library. 

City Librarian Liam Ronayne then hosted a commemorative reading ceremony.  After the Lord Mayor read some of the sworn eyewitness accounts of the night of the burning, selected excerpts were read from some of the donated books.  The readers were:  Patricia Bogan, great-granddaughter of Alfred J. Hutson, Cork’s Fire Superintendant in 1920;  Salim Bachi, Director of Alliance Française de Cork, representing the people of France who donated books in the 1920s;  Thomas McCarthy from Cork City Libraries, author of Rising from the Ashes;  Sue Ryan who represented library users;  and Kevin O’Sullivan, President of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society. 

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