On the weekend when there was a countrywide baffled bemusement about the fact that Fr. Brian Darcy had come to the attention of the Vatican for it must be presumed, all the wrong reasons, the Fethard Historical Society was given a guided tour of the Croke Library at St Patrick’s College, Thurles, by the Diocesan Archivist, Fr Christy O’Dwyer.
And what an uplifting experience it proved to be on many levels; to be guided by the patient and learned Fr O’Dwyer through the history of St Patrick’s itself, to look and see some of the beautiful books that are contained within the library and also to see some of the many interesting religious artefacts that are held there.
The portrait of Archbishop Croke stands at one end of the splendid library, he himself seems to have been such an important historical figure, a great man of the Church, a lover and collector of books and is there a GAA pitch somewhere in Dublin called after him? Other important historical families also came to our attention like the Butlers, the Everards and Laffans, all who have a strong connection to the history of this general area town.
If the library has important doctrinal readings, it has a great section devoted to Ireland and to its history and if these are of interest to scholars and their research, there was no less interest for us, in seeing local diaries kept by a priest during the famine years. We were baffled and bemused ourselves that we did not know such a beautiful space devoted to books and to learning exists so near to us and that great care has been taken to preserve it for future generations. Thanks again to Fr Christy O’Dwyer and also to the librarian Ailish Larkin.