Midleton Library More Than Just A Place For Books

By Seamus Whelehan


Midleton library holds more than just books, contained within its walls are the stories of the town’s development since the seventeenth century.
From famous novelists to budding entrepreneurs an astonishing diverse collection of people can be found at work here.
Hundreds of book loves call the bottom floor of Market House home since 1996 when the town’s library service took over the structure.
Here you get many things you don’t get from the internet, the joy of paper, the thrill of handling an actual item.
When I visited last Thursday the reading room was packed with people.
I saw award winning author Danny Denton among the usual motley crew of retirees and students bent on cramming for their junior and leaving certificate exams.
There was the odd tut, tut, among some regulars who had their favourite seat taken, with others enquiring about the library’s extensive local history and genealogy resource including its needle craft and kids story telling groups.
Among the attendees of the Thursday creative writing group there was a certain enthusiasm over samples of the written word presented to them the previous week.
Tony Harpur from the Midleton Ballinacurra historical society was on a recruitment drive for additional committee who would find a befitting way to mark the 350th anniversary of the granting of Midleton’s charter in 2020.
He feels the library building should be the focus of that celebration as the Market house represents the oldest civic building in Midleton.
“Market house is the symbol of the town that is now called Midleton. It’s the oldest civic building in the town. It’s only right it should play a central part in commemorating the event.”
Constructed in 1789 it’s believed the market building was designed by John Morrison the father of Sir Richard Morrison and grandfather of William Vitruvius Morrison who both designed Fota House.
Over the years the upper floor has served many purposes from corporation meetings to holding public receptions, a public reading room, holding courts, elections and more recently in the 1960s and 70’s it was used as a badminton court.
The buildings clock is believed to date back to 1750, it’s understood the time piece was removed from a previous structure which adorned the site and later incorporated into the new building.
A series of lectures and talks are currently being planned contact the library for further information.