A lock of history from Famine times

By Dan Walsh

Jeremy Hill at Monksgrange Archives office is surrounded by bookshelves and, recently, he became curious about a small locked book he wondered what was inside… but there was one snag… no key for lock… it became lost with the passing years!

JEREMY HILL showing the key that opened up a new chapter in the history of the Famine years.

“I was going into Enniscorthy one day and I brought the ledger with me and I dropped into Paul Campbell, the locksmith on Church St., and asked if there was anything he could do for me, so he took a good look at it and said it might be tricky because the bronze locks were really solid in the old days, and, of course, I didn’t have the key to go with it!

Jeremy continues; “Paul took some time to consider the situation and after a few hours he came up with a new key that fitted into the lock, gave it a turn, it clicked, and history was unlocked.”

“It was amazing to open the pages. The handwriting was classic and there before my eyes was a small piece of history that had been in my family since the Famine years, it dates from 1848 and is in pristine condition with a grey embossed cover, 200 pages, and it measures 18.3×11.8cm.”

Enthusiastic about the new discovery, which he hopes to exhibit sometime in the future when the Covid-19 loosens its restrictions on public participation, Jeremy is happy to share his unlocked discovery and has spent a number of weeks doing research and finding out more about the history of the account book.

AUDIO – JEREMY HILL tells DAN WALSH about the discovery of an account book belonging to the Monksgrange estate from 1848.

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