C. P. HYLAND, having had seven years in PILGRIM BOOKS (1996-2003) and five years of PILGRIM'S REST (1998-2003), all full of great memories, has gone to semi-retirement and now uses Post and Internet (although we are available by appointment to visitors).
Back in the mid-1960s, we (Cal & Joan Hyland), book-lovers both, found an opportunity to go into Postal Book-selling on a part-time basis, largely to fund our own collecting. At this time, we were living in Belvedere, Kent, a pleasant suburb of London between Woolwich and Dartford, on the south bank of the Thames, now almost absorbed by Thamesmead, the New Town on stilts. During this time, our business had gone from part-time to full-time, specialising in Books relating to Ireland. By 1968, we had two daughters and, as both of us had grown up in Ireland, we wanted to raise our children there.
Cal's family situation offered an opening. His grandfather, Cal McCarthy, author of a number of economic studies and, for some years, involved in editing the Gaelic League periodical 'An Claidhimh Solus' died and his grandmother in Dublin needed full-time care. Joan, a nurse with experience of care of the elderly, was asked by the family to look after her and we moved to 82, Ranelagh in 1968.
In 1972, another daughter came on the scene, 82 was getting a bit crowded and a - potentially - lovely old rectory came on the market about ¼-mile from Joan's birthplace - and about 8 miles from Cal's first home-town, Mallow. We purchased, had builders & electricians move in to restore the house and physically moved in through the month of February, 1973; one pantechnicon a week, each with about 100 tea-chests full of books, for the four weeks.
With postage increases of 120% during the stewardship of the Cosgrave Coalition government and the huge increases in travelling expenses caused by the Arab oil-crisis of the second half of the 1970s, the 'good life' became a tad less than idyllic.
By 1986, the older Miss Hyland's had both returned to the land of their birth in search of work, leaving two middle-aged parents and one young teen-ager in a twenty-two room house 8 miles from the nearest town - not good for the teen-ager's social life. Attached to the house was a two-acre garden and, as Cal had absolutely no interest in gardening, a heavy burden was being placed on Joan's shoulders. We made inquiries and discovered that the climate for small postal businesses such as ours was more receptive in the U.K. so 60% of the family decided to follow 40% and we moved to Chepstow, in South Wales. (As it had been in Monmouthshire, England, a Bristollian acquaintance used to refer to it as 'Occupied England').
From 1969 onwards, we had spent holidays in beautiful West Cork and in 1991 we found what we thought would make a very suitable retirement home, a bungalow in Rosscarbery. We purchased this in 1992 and phased ourselves back to Ireland over the next four years.
In 1996 we opened Pilgrim Books. Many people have asked: Why Pilgrim Books? The old Irish name of Rosscarbery was Ros Ailithir - Ross of the Pilgrim; need more be said? In Summer of 1998, we purchased a restaurant on the Square. The eldest Miss Hyland joined her aged parents in a combination Bookshop/Bistro. While it was very pleasant, it was hard work and, after five years, we had to surrender to anno domini. We sold the premises and took semi-retirement. We are now open by appointment. Do come and visit us some-time.
View some of our stock on the ABE (Advance Book Exchange) site at:
C. P. HYLAND, ROSSCARBERY
Phone: 023 48063 or Fax 023 48658