Tuesday, October 27, 2015


I was just leaving my local library today after paying a fine on some overdue books when a notice caught my eye. What's on today in Raheny Library, it asked. And there, jumping out at me, was one of the answers - Banned Books Display.

Surely not in front of the children, I thought. Well, as it turned out, it wasn't in the childrens section and was a discreetly labelled stand facing away from the main door.

It had been filled with books that had been banned in Ireland in the past. Sure enough, there was 1984, and Ulysses though I'm told the latter was never actually banned, just unavailable.

I assume the rest of them had been taken out on loan. Was Lady Chatterley one of them. How disappointed would the reader be. I certainly was in 1961 when Penguin won their famous court victory in the UK and I bought a copy in Jersey (not in the UK).

Full marks to the library for this display of part of our social history, often forgotten.

I have documented my own experience, where I got licences to import books banned under both schedules (obscenity and contraception) just before some of them were unbanned.

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