Lady Desart's Speech at the Library Opening

November 3rd 1910

The silver key to open the library door was supplied by P.T. Murphy, Jeweller, High St., Kilkenny. The Countess of Desart then proceeded formally to open the building. When the key was heard to turn in the lock, there was a prolonged outburst of applause. The company then proceeded inside and some of the ladies who were present were provided with seats. The lay Mayoress, Mrs.Potter occupied a seat with the Countess of Desart. The Countess of Desart was received with loud applause addressed the audience.
Mr. Mayor, ladies and gentlemen, it is I who should thank you for the privilege you have accorded me in opening the library today and presenting me with the beautiful key which will add one more treasure to my most cherished possessions. I wish it were in my power to do so eloquently, as the occasion demands. It is my misfortune, not my fault that I can only express myself so inadequately, in thanking you to the best of my ability. I should like to add that how I hope this fine building may soon be filled with volumes of light and leading instructions and recreation; that it may grow to be a better place where science and literature and all those wonderful things which professors and learned men include under the terms Classics and Humanities, may find a fitting home and an ever increasing sphere of usefulness. I hope that it becomes a dwelling where Irish thought and Irish learning will radiate with all vivifying power from the centre to the sea. I hope this library since knowledge is a means and not an end, will prove an incentive and an inspiration to those whom it is destined to serve. I trust it may never come to be looked upon merely as a pleasant club to lounge in or just a circulating library for that light literature which we all enjoy and are entitled to enjoy in our moments of leisure, but which becomes the most unwholesome of foods if indulged in to much excess, or to the exclusion of more solid nutriment. I trust we shall always regard our free library as a valuable asset – a school wherein mind and spirit may be developed till they become the instrument of good providence intended them to be when bestowing them on us. It is a waste of time to read and to study if no tangible results are to follow the hours we devote to those pursuits. I therefore confidently appeal to all Kilkenny men and women to do al that. In them lies not only generally but individually, to make this library a mighty engine for the uplifting of our country – for bringing into fruition all that is highest and best in ourselves and those we are responsible for. May all blessings crown such endeavours. Once again I thank you most heartily and have much pleasure in now declaring this library open and dedicated for all time to the use of Kilkenny city and county.’

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