ell, you gotta hand it to that Andrew Carnegie chap, he really knows how to pull a building together.
Pulling a town together may have been a little more difficult for the noted American architect though, given that Greystones councillors were dead set against the arrival of our much-loved Carnegie Library.
Well, 111 years after that little incident, four of Carnegie’s Irish book havens are being given their very own stamp, with his libraries in Enniskerry, Kilkenny, Dublin and Limerick being honoured.
Naturally, Greystones really should have been in there, but, to be fair to Enniskerry Library, the building is cute as a button, baby. And only slightly bigger too.
An Post commissioned Irish artist Dorothy Smith and photographer Gillian Buckley to create the four special stamps to mark the work of philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who was some man for one man.
Born in Scotland, the young Andrew emigrated with his family to the US in 1848, in search of a better life. And they found it, Andrew working his way up from starting out as a labourer in the cotton industry at the age of 12 to being one of the world’s richest men. It was during the last 18 years of his life that Carnegie decided to use his wealth to help others, giving away over €350m – a figure estimated as €5.15billion in today’s moolah. And part of his philanthropic mission saw over €179,000 being donated to Ireland between 1897 and 1913, for the building of 80 libraries around the country. Today, 60 of those libraries still stand.
So, a not-so-secret millionaire who many a Greystones – and Irish – child owes a debt of gratitude. Of considerable magnitude. Now go check out our library’s difficult birth here.
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