West Wicklow Bookshelf

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Archive for the tag “Battle of Baltinglass”

Cooke Family Saga

Book Cover image

© The Publisher

Full title: Mother in the Shadows

Creator / Author: Maureen Cooke

Item Type / Page count: Book / 177p

When Published: September 2003

Publisher / Place of Publication: Published for Maureen Cooke by Penfolk Publishing / 21 Ronley Street, Blackburn, Victoria 3130, Australia

About:  If this were a novel it would be a family saga. However, it is all true. The author writes about an orphanage, an adoption and a placement with a family that she seemed to belong to. She discovers in the end that her ties with them were closer than she could have imagined. The book tells the story of the Cooke Family and ranges across Scotland, Ireland, England and Australia. A second edition of this book was published in 2012.

ID number(s): 1875894330

Contents: Prologue – List of Illustrations – Acknowledgements and Thanks – Dedication –The Orphanage 1938-1941 – Journey to Leeds: 1941 – The Cooke Family – Adjusting – Jessie and Babs – Bannie and Helen – Bessie. Our Housekeeper – Boarding School 1941-1950 – Job after Job after Job – A Career Begins: 1957 – To Australia: 1960 – Independence – Marriage and a Family – Caring for Bannie – Revelation – Uncovering the Facts – Back to Childhood Haunts: 1988 – Returning again: 1955 – Reflections – Appendix: Maisie’s Account of her Life.

WW Connection #1: The Cooke Family had strong connections with Baltinglass and its Post Office. Helen Cooke was the de facto Postmistress when the infamous ‘Battle of Baltinglass’ incident occurred in the early 1950s.

Extra #1: Includes over two dozen photographs and a family tree.

Extra #2: Check Libraries Ireland for this publication.

Extra #3: Check OCLC WorldCat.org for this publication in libraries worldwide.

Extra #4: Link to the Publisher’s website at: http://www.penfolk.com.au/

Battle of Baltinglass Re-enacted?

Book Cover image

© The Publisher

Full title: The Green Boxeen: A Comedy in Three Acts [play]

Creator / Author: Patrick Kelly

Item Type / Page count: Book / 100p

When Published: 1957 / reprinted 1962

Publisher / Place of Publication: James Duffy & Co., Ltd. / 38 Westmoreland Street, Dublin.

About: Although this blog has featured descriptions of a few dramatic events in West Wicklow history, this is the first drama to be included. In a letter to the Irish Times in March 2007, Mattie Lennon, a Lacken native, refers to this play as “a thinly veiled account of the Battle of Baltinglass.” The so-called “Battle of Baltinglass” centred around the change of management of the local post office in 1950. Presumably the title of the play refers to the traditional green metal postbox inset in the walls of post office premises throughout the country. The play was first broadcast on Radio Eireann on June 22nd, 1952.

ID number(s): None

Contents: Scenes: Act I: Brophy’s Bar and Grocery one Friday morning in August – Act II: Same a month later – Act III: Same a month later than Act II.

Extra #1: Check Libraries Ireland for this publication.

Extra #2: Check OCLC WorldCat.org for this publication in libraries worldwide.

Extra #3: The play won First Prize in the Radio Eireann drama competition.

Extra #4: The play won First Prize in the Sheridan Centenary Play competition organised by the Book Association of Ireland.

A Century and a Half of Baltinglass History

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© The Publisher

Full title: Baltinglass Chronicles 1851-2001

Creator / Author: Paul Gorry

Item Type / Page count: Book / 379p

When Published: 2006

Publisher / Place of Publication: Nonsuch Publishing Limited/ 73 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2.

About: The Table of Contents of this book doesn’t even begin to offer a hint to the wealth of information contained in it. Apart from a street directory, public transport information and public administration information for each of the chosen years, most of the book is taken up with accounts of events that occurred in the intervening years and helped shape Baltinglass and its immediate hinterland. In particular, the author focuses on the people involved and there is a feeling that you could be reading a newspaper report of something that just happened yesterday. If we ever get the time, we would like to list the entire contents and make them more discoverable.

ID number(s):9781845885069

Contents:About the author – Introduction – Acknowledgements – Baltinglass in 1851 (Administration — Public Transport — Street Directory) – Baltinglass in 1901 (Administration — Public Transport — Street Directory) – Baltinglass in 1951 (Administration — Public Transport — Street Directory) – Baltinglass in 2001 (Administration — Public Transport — Street Directory) – Endnotes.

WW Connection #1: The author is a native of Baltinglass.

Extra #1: Check Libraries Ireland for this publication.

Extra #2: Check OCLC WorldCat.org for this publication in libraries worldwide.

Extra #3: Contains sixteen pages of photographs and illustrations, including two maps.

Battle of Baltinglass Baby

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© Independent News & Media PLC

Full title: Secrets of a small-town postmistress

Creator / Author: Dermot Bolger

Item Type / Page count: Magazine Article / 4pp

Journal Information: Halcyon Magazine, 05/02/2014, pp. 8-11

When Published: 2014

Publisher / Place of Publication: Independent Newspapers / 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1.

About: When Helen Cooke lost her job in the local post-office in 1950, it gave rise to an episode in modern Irish History known as ‘The Battle of Baltinglass’. This article gives an brief account of that episode but only as background to a family saga that involved a baby daughter being raised by an aunt as her own and the efforts made by the family to thwart the girl finding out about her true parentage. The article appeared in the magazine ‘Halcyon’, which was published as a supplement in the Irish Independent newspaper of Wednesday, 5th February 2014.

Extra #1: Includes several photographs.

Extra #2: Read this article online via the publisher’s website Independent.ie

Hat-Tip: To Independent Newspapers for making this article available online.

Palaver Over a Post Office

Book Cover image

© The Publisher

Full title: The Battle of Baltinglass

Creator / Author: Laurence Earl

Item Type / Page count: Book / 191p / 241p

When Published: 1952 / 1953

Co-Publisher / Place of Publication: George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd. / 182 High Holborn, London WC1.

Co-Publisher / Place of Publication: Alfred A. Knopf / New York, USA

About: The Baltinglass Post Office had for many years been run by the Cooke family. Due to the ill-health of the officially designated Postmistress, the actual running of the Post Office was done by her niece. When the Postmistress resigned in 1950, it was presumed that the niece, Helen Cooke, would be officially appointed. This did not happen but the need to relocate the telephone cables to the premises of the new appointee allowed supporters of Helen Cooke to sabotage the changeover. The affair became international news amid accusations of political interference in the new appointment.

ID number(s): None

Contents: The Assault – The Dogfight – The Pursuit.

Extra #1: The UK edition includes several photographs.

Extra #2: Check Libraries Ireland for this publication.

Extra #3: Check OCLC WorldCat.org for this publication in libraries worldwide.

Extra #4: Read the USA edition online courtesy of the Hathi Trust Digital Library (viewed Feb. 2013).

Extra #5: This book won the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour in 1953.

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