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IRELAND’S HAY-ON-WYE?

Yesterday evening I went to an opening of the extension to my favourite local independent bookshop, Red Books, in Wexford town. There was a great crowd and a fantastic atmosphere, with speeches and cutting of the red ribbon followed by music and spoken word. Wally O’Neill, the owner, has done huge work supporting local writers including launching two periodicals and publishing novels and poetry.

Wally O’Neill speaking

We were within a sprawling labyrinth of books: new, second-hand and antiquarian – I’d want to be locked in overnight!

When I lived in the suburbs of Birmingham my nearest bookshop was Waterstone’s (a chain) in the city centre. I’m so fortunate to have this within a 15 minute drive, as well as a number of other bookshops in the town including The Book Centre, Reader’s Paradise, Selskar Bookshop, and Byrne’s. Wexford’s emulating Hay-on-Wye, and will rise to fame for its bookshops and literary festival.