For once my blog does not contain a book review, but it is definitely book related.
On Tuesday June 22nd last, a plague commemorating the James family, and especially their famous author descended Henry James, was unveiled in Bailieborough, Co. Cavan. It was from this town that Henry's grandfather emigrated to America in 1789.
This event was organized by Bailieborough Development Association's Forward 400 project, as part of the year long celebration of Bailieborough's 400 years as a town in Cavan, Ireland.
The association and all those present were both very pleased and honoured that Colm Toibin had agreed to perform the unveiling as well as give a talk on the life of Henry James and his family. Colm Toibin has to be considered a leading authority on the work and life of Henry James and has published a book on this subject entitled "The Master".
Also invited to the unveiling were the last living descendants of the James' family still living in the Bailieborough area.
After the unveiling all those present went to the local Church of Ireland church where Colm Toibin gave a very interesting talk about Henry James, his life and his family. Amongst many other facts we learned that although Henry had visited Ireland three times during his life, he had never felt the need to visit his ancestral home town and that he had a rather ambivalent view of his Irish roots.
The church has several, very beautiful stained glass windows, one of which was erected by the James family, as shown in this picture.
After Colm Toibin finished his talk a booklet about Henry James and his family which had been researched and compiled by members of a cross community group was presented to Mr. Toibin, the descendants of the James family and to both Cavan and Bailieborough libraries, where the copies will be available for all who wish to do research on this subject.
The evening ended with refreshments in the Church hall giving everybody the opportunity to have a look at the booklets and share their impressions of the evening with each other.
All I can say is that this was a very informative and interesting evening with a turnout that certainly exceeded my expectations however well deserved it was.
My compliments go to the organizing committee and the master of proceedings for the evening, Mr. Peadar Reynolds.