Macroom Library has acquired a very rare book which could be worth over €300,000.
The first edition signed copy of 'Ulysses' by James Joyce was presented to Macroom Library on Monday by the Peter Golden Commemoration Committee.
The book will add to the existing Peter Golden Collection which was presented to Macroom Library by the committee almost ten years ago. It was known that this volume was still with the family in the US and it arrived by post to the Kelleher family at Mount Cross, Macroom just before Christmas. The Kelleher's have always maintained a connection with the US family.
The Guardian newspaper in June of last year recorded the sale of a first edition of Ulysses for a record £275,000, the equivalent of €316,000 at present currency rates.
That edition was copy number 45 of the first 100 and printed on fine Dutch handmade paper. The Macroom copy is a similar volume, also printed by Shakespeare & Co, and goes one better as it is number 19. It is also signed by its owner, Peter Golden, a famous son of Macroom.
Well known Joycean scholar Senator David Norris this week described it as "a very generous donation", saying he was thrilled that it had gone to Macroom Library.
"It sounds as if it is one of the particularly rare ones," he said of the volume. "It is a beautiful and wonderful thing to have and the citizens of Macroom should be very pleased to have it," he said.
"It is also well worth reading," he quipped.
Macroom he said was mentioned in Joyce and he had a very strong Cork connection — his father came from Cork.
Pat Kelleher, presenting the book to County Librarian Ruth Flanagan at the library on Monday, said it was great that the book was coming to Macroom.
Ms Flanagan, who said she was accepting the book on behalf of the whole community in Macroom, said it was such a pleasure to get such a fantastically historic and worthwhile volume.
She said she couldn't commend the committee highly enough for all the work they had done over the years and for handing over what was "a very important, very beautiful and very rare book for the people of Macroom".
Ms Flanagan said that it was the connection between Joyce and Golden and the fact that both signatures are on the book made the book particularly special.
Committee member Michael O'Connor said Peter Golden, a native of Macroom, was a very under-rated and forgotten hero of the Irish revolution. Mr Golden was one of Eamon de Valera's 'right hand men' organising his critical US tour during the War of Independence in 1919.
Peter Golden died in 1926 and is buried in the Republican Plot in St Finbarr's cemetery in Cork beside his close friend and cousin Terence McSwiney.
Cork County Library currently has the volume of Ulysses in safe keeping but when it finds its new home on secure display it will undoubtedly become a major visitor attraction in Macroom.