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Hull celebrates 100 years of its little public library, once home to Irish poet and radical

Hull Public Library’s director, Daniel Johnson, examines a book in its cozy reading room.
Hull Public Library’s director, Daniel Johnson, examines a book in its cozy reading room.Colm O’Molloy for The Boston Globe

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Walking into the Hull Public Library is like entering someone’s home — albeit one with a checkout desk tucked under the stairs — and it’s been that way for the last 100 years. That’s because the library building is the former summer home of Irish poet and radical John Boyle O’Reilly.

While additions in 1987 and 2003 added space and handicapped accessibility, the stone and wood building far out on the peninsula on Main Street in Hull Village is relatively unchanged since O’Reilly died there under mysterious circumstances in 1890.

Town Meeting voted in 1913 to buy the property for use as the public library, and the town has been celebrating that 100th anniversary all year.

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