Late Late Return After 69 Years

IT’S a discovery that unites the generations. An old book unearthed by chance, long forgotten and gathering dust in a grandfather’s chest, left in some dark corner of the loft for decades. You open it and read the faded library card still tucked inside after all those years.

IT’S a discovery that unites the generations. An old book unearthed by chance, long forgotten and gathering dust in a grandfather’s chest, left in some dark corner of the loft for decades. You open it and read the faded library card still tucked inside after all those years.

It tells you your grandfather took it out from the local library nearly 70 years ago, when Ireland was at the height of the Emergency and all of Europe was at war. Do you risk returning it and incurring a 70-year fine, or do the honest thing and brave the librarian’s wrath?

Honest Templemore man Paul Walsh decided to face the music and hand his grandfather’s copy of Flowers In House and Garden back to Templemore Library after 69 years. In accumulated fines, the penalty comes to E903.50, not adjusted for inflation.

Lucky for him, Senior Templemore Librarian Pat Bracken took pity on him and waived the enormous fine. Pat told the Tipperary Star that Flowers In House and Garden, written by Constance Spry in July 1937, with a foreword by Phylis Moore, was originally issued to Paul’s grandfather and namesake, back in the winter of 1941.

“It was due back on the 15th of December, 1941,” said Pat. “So it would have been issued about two weeks before that.” The then Library rules stipulated that “the book may be kept out for two weeks, it may be renewed if not required by another, and a fine of 2 pence will be charged for each week or portion it is kept.”

“We worked it out,” said Pat. “Currently it’s 25 cent. If it was fined at today’s rate it would come to E903.50.”

Flowers was kept for all those years in a box of items belonging to John’s Walsh’s father, the late Paul Walsh, who was an author in his own right, having written a book called The History of Templemore. John runs a well known local business on the Templemore’s Main Street.

Full story in this week’s Tipperary Star.