We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

brought to book

What should we do with old telephone boxes?

In Britain, they’ve begun turning them into libraries. Our slideshow looks at some locations for potential ‘box libraries’ in Ireland.

THE IDEA OF a book exchange is not a new idea in Ireland.

There are 3,387  ‘Bookcrossers’ in Ireland – these are members of the book sharing site, which allows people to leave a book in a public place to be picked up by others.

The idea is that you leave a label with a code in the book and an instruction to the person who picks it up to log on to when they are finished and say where they found it… before leaving it down in another public place for another person to pick up and read.

Now book sharers in Britain have gone an extra step, by converting disused phone boxes into mini libraries. Users of have descended on several villages in the UK and turned the red kiosks into places to borrow books.

But could the idea take off in Ireland?

In 2009, Eircom dismantled half the phone kiosks in the country. A short documentary called Bye Bye Now chronicled the disappearance of so many of these booths, discovering that most of them ended up in a number of scrapyards.

Wouldn’t it be nice if they were kept in place and put to some other good use…

What should we do with old telephone boxes?
1 / 8
  • Bunratty, Co Clare

    Photo: kthypryn flickr/CreativeCommons
  • Ballina, Co Tipperary

    Photo: felix o Flickr/CreativeCommons This photo from 1989 shows a phone box painted in the unusual colours of green and white to match the butcher's shop.
  • Dawson Street, Dublin

    Installed in 1925, this type K1 phone box is believed to be the first in Ireland. There is another in Foxrock Village, Dublin.
  • Enniskerry, Co Wicklow

    Photo: William Murphy Flickr/CreativeCommons Classic example of Irish written in the old script in Co Wicklow. When Irish was first printed in the 16th century it copies the handwritten scripts of the time. This 'seanchló' font was used as late as the 1960s, before being replaced with the latin alphabet.
  • Mulrany, Co Mayo

    Photo: Felix O Flickr/CreativeCommons With Croagh Patrick in the background, this photo from August 1994 brings back memories of those great Irish summers we all really believe actually existed at one stage or another.
  • New Quay, Co Clare

    Photo: Mark Waters Flickr/CreativeCommons The kiosk is in disrepair but the phone itself is still working.
  • Roundwood, Co Wicklow

    Photo Photocall Ireland Oops, a hunk in a box. Could you exchange that for a book? Doubt it. Irish actor Pierce Brosnan in a old wodden style telephone Kiosk on the set of "The Nephew" being filmed in Roundwood Co Wicklow in 1996.
  • Portmagee, Co Kerry

    Photo: sludgegulper Flickr/CreativeCommons The village street and concrete telephone box. In the background the bridge between the mainland and Valentia Island, famous resort of sea anglers.

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.