Friday, January 27, 2012


A bookstore in Letterkenny, County Donegal, had a pretty amazing find in one of their old books recently.  The store, Universal Books, (owned by David Faughnan) is a great place to find books on practically everything and as most are second hand books, you can occasionally find books that are out of print and even signed copies of a variety of books.  They have all sorts of books, fiction and non-fiction, and my own favourite, their section on Donegal and on Ireland where I have found many a book I just had to have!
The Irish Constitution
But a find in one of these old books recently by John, a member of staff there, was an extremely rare find. He had been checking through a box of old books and found a hardback copy of the Irish Constitution. On checking inside in the hope it might be a first edition, rare enough in itself, he found that not only does it seem to be a first edition but that it is signed by Eamon DeValera (Three time Taoiseach (Prime Minister of Ireland) 1937-48; 1951-54; 1957-59 and the third President of Ireland 1959-73).

Eeamon DeValera (from

"He was born in New York on 14 October, 1882, and was brought to Ireland at the age of two and a half years. In 1910 he married Sinéad Ní Fhlannagáin.  A teacher and university lecturer, he joined the Irish Volunteers when they were founded in 1913. As a Commandant he took part in the 1916 Irish National Uprising. He was sentenced to death, the sentence being commuted to penal servitude for life. He was released on General Amnesty in 1917.

He was elected Sinn Féin M.P. for East Clare in 1917 and re-elected as parliamentary representative for Clare at subsequent General Elections until his election as President in 1959.

He founded the Fianna Fáil Party in 1926 and from 1932 - 37 he was President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State and Minister for External Affairs. He was President of Council of the League of Nations at its 68th and Special Sessions, September and October 1932 and President of the Assembly of the League of Nations, 1938.

Following enactment by the people of the Constitution, Eamon De Valera became Taoiseach (Prime Minister) and Minister for External Affairs from 1937 - 48. He was Taoiseach again from 1951 - 54, 1957 - 59.

On 25 June, 1959 he was inaugurated as President of Ireland.

He died on 29 August 1975."

Signed by Eamon DeValera
Naturally John and store owner, David, couldn't be sure the signature was authentic so it was sent to Dublin and I am told the report came back that it is indeed the authentic signature of Eamon DeValera. Of course this all makes the book quite valuable and needless to say the find has brought a lot of enquiries and callers to the store together with offers to purchase it.

Close up of Eamon DeValera's signature in the book


For those interested in calling to the store to view the book or those interested in enquiring about purchasing it, here are the contact details for Universal Books.

Universal Books, Letterkenny

Universal Books, Church Lane, Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland

Telephone: 00353-749161869


Contact them via FACEBOOK

Friday, January 6, 2012


From Highland Radio news 5th January 2012:

"The head of Oideas Gael in Gleann Cholm Cille has hit out at the Chairman of the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation questioning his logic as it relates to tourism in Donegal.  John Healy, in reference to the lack of growth in tourism in Donegal, stated that unless visitors are staying in the country for at least ten days they are unlikely to visit the northwest. 
Liam Ó Cuinneagáin says such a view from a tourism leader is unacceptable pointing out that areas further from Dublin than Donegal recorded an increase in overseas tourists last year.  Mr Ó Cuinneagáin says a change of attitude is required."

Beautiful Donegal ~ it's nearer than you think!
Sadly it seems the attitude of many involved in the tourist industry in Ireland, and indeed as it appears from the above news item here, even the Chairman of the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation, John Healy inadvertently continue with the mistaken perception that Donegal is just too far away.  In fairness to Mr. Healy I must point out that he would not have been trying to put people off coming to Donegal, but his words might infer that Donegal is too far away to make it your Irish destination and it most certainly is not.  Just check these distances from Dublin to two of the most popular destinations by visitors to Ireland, Kerry and Cork:

Dublin to Kerry: 286km/178 miles ~ Dublin to Donegal ~ 231km/143 miles
Making Donegal A SHORTER DISTANCE by 55km/35 miles

Dublin to Cork: 253km/157 miles ~ Dublin to Donegal: 231km/143 miles
Making Donegal A SHORTER DISTANCE by 22km/14 miles

Our tourist industry must promote Donegal as a place to visit and let's please now drop this archaic belief that Donegal is just too far away for tourists to visit.  As shown by the figures above we are nearer to Dublin than two of Ireland's most busy tourist regions.  And Donegal can definitely stand proud with the best of what Ireland has to offer in terms of the scenery, the food, the friendliness of the people and of course, the craic.

To read more about why you should visit Donegal, read my post: Why Make Donegal Your Irish Destination.