Mary Hanrahan, Chris Nevin, Kittly Delaney, Terry Cunningham, Peter Grant and Doirin Saurus plan the first book fair in 1996.
The 23rd annual Tipperariana Book Fair takes place in the Fethard Ballroom this Sunday, February 11, from 2pm to 6pm in the afternoon.
What started out as an experiment back in 1996 has become the biggest fair of its kind in the country, North or South.
This year there will be up to forty book stalls present with dealers of antiquarian and second-hand books coming from all over Ireland. Irish people always have a special interest in books about Ireland or about their native place and the dealers make sure to bring all their Tipperary and Munster books with them to the Fethard Fair.
Most of the books on the Antiquarian book stalls sell from between €10 and €40, but you can also part with five hundred euro for the odd very rare book should you really want to and add to your library. However, some dealers stock modern paperbacks and these sell for modest prices. Also, the organisers, Fethard Historical Society will have their own stall with thousands of excellent books donated by the public to sell for very small money.
The Society also receive 'book collections', containing rare books from well-wishers, which are then sold on at the fair. As well as generating income for the society this 'clearing house' function of the fair means that wanted books end up finding a good home on the day. Otherwise they may just be dumped in a skip as people may not be aware that a particular book is ‘special’ to someone else.
As usual the Café will operate on the day and the piano player will return to sooth the browsing masses from his perch on the stage. The entrance fee is still €2, with accompanied children going free. This means a family can have a good day out and go home with a bag of books for €10 if they so wish, and some will probably end up having tea and cakes as well!