By Joe Kenny
The 22nd annual Tipperariana Book Fair, held in the Fethard Ballroom last Sunday, was again a resounding success for all concerned.
The 34 book dealers who set up ‘shop’ were happy because the crowds came and spent money and the punters were happy because they had a huge selection of books from which to choose in very pleasant and relaxing surroundings, wonderfully enhanced with the gentle piano playing of Eamon O'Malley on stage.
The book dealers buy and sell second-hand and antiquarian books that they mostly source at auctions around the country. The dealers then bring books that they think will sell in Fethard, i.e. books on sport, horses, Tipperary local history, but they also bring books on war, cooking, exploration, famous people and the list goes on. Most of the books on sale were in the €10 to €40 range, but prices of €150 and more were also to be seen scribbled in pencil inside the front covers of some books.
Why do people buy expensive old books?
People buy old books for a number of reasons. Some people actually want to read an old book for the information it contains, because that particular information will, more than likely, not be available on the internet. Then, people buy books because they may have some connection with the book, the people mentioned in the book, the places featured in the book or maybe some famous person signed the book. Other people – men for the most part - collect books on certain topics; from cars and motorbikes to fishing, horse racing, history and again the range of topics is endless. Others buy as an investment. Rare books in good condition will hold their value and if one is a good judge of future ‘collecting trends’, then books can be a very wise investment indeed.
Another feature of the Book Fair was the presence of authors of ‘Tipperary Books’ published in 2016. Donnchadh Ó Cinnéide was there with his very popular 1916 book ‘In Song and Story’ as was his fellow Cashel author Mark Fitzell, with his beautifully produced book, ‘The Many Faces of Cashel’. Pride of place went to Gerard O’Meara with his Tipperariana ‘Book of the Year’ for 2016 ‘Lorrha People in the Great War’.
Cheap day ‘in out of the rain’
The Book Fair is always held on the second Sunday in February, when of course the weather may be poor, but the spacious Ballroom is ‘weather proof’ and at €2 entrance fee it is a very cheap afternoon’s entertainment. The Ballroom committee are really to be commended for maintaining such a large building that can accommodate big events like the Book Fair.
The in-house Café is a huge addition to the event and again was really appreciated by punter and dealer alike. So another successful fair is over and the organisers, Fethard Historical Society, thank everyone who made the event such a positive day for the town.