Wednesday 7 December 2016

Eason celebrates 125 years in business

Anne-Marie Walsh

Published 29/09/2011 | 05:00

No Repro Fee.Pictured here today is renowned Irish author Cecelia Ahern as Eason, Irelands leading retailer of books, stationery and magazines officially marks its 125th anniversary. To mark this significant milestone, Eason has planned a host of special events including special celebrity book signings, book club evenings and author evenings, which will be open to the public and free of charge. Eason has also planned to re-introduce a limited edition retro bag with the recognisable blue and green stripes in celebration of its 125th anniversary.The pair is joined by the Viking and the Spanish Dancer, recognisable characters from iconic Irish brands current marketing campaign Whatever Youre Into, Get Into Eason. Pic: Robbie Reynolds/CPR
No Repro Fee.Pictured here today is renowned Irish author Cecelia Ahern as Eason, Irelands leading retailer of books, stationery and magazines officially marks its 125th anniversary. To mark this significant milestone, Eason has planned a host of special events including special celebrity book signings, book club evenings and author evenings, which will be open to the public and free of charge. Eason has also planned to re-introduce a limited edition retro bag with the recognisable blue and green stripes in celebration of its 125th anniversary.The pair is joined by the Viking and the Spanish Dancer, recognisable characters from iconic Irish brands current marketing campaign Whatever Youre Into, Get Into Eason. Pic: Robbie Reynolds/CPR
28/9/11 Paul Howard aka Ross O'Carroll Kelly, Cathy Kelly and Maeve Binchy at Eason's 150 year celebrations at it's store on O'Connell Street, Dublin. Picture: Arthur Carron/Collins
An Eason newsstand from the last century

INovelist Cecelia Ahern joined the celebrations for the landmark store that helped her become a besteller

  • Go To

IT'S a week of milestone birthdays for Cecelia Ahern. Yesterday, the novelist paid tribute on its 125th birthday to the landmark bookstore that helped her become a bestselling author.

The 'PS I Love You' writer posed for photos at Eason on O'Connell Street in Dublin, sporting her new cropped haircut, to mark the celebrations.

And tomorrow she will celebrate her own birthday when she turns 30.

Cecelia left before the start of a big party at the shop last night but other famous names who are regulars on its bookshelves joined the in-store event.

Maeve Binchy, Cathy Kelly, Paul Howard (aka Ross O'Carroll Kelly) and Sheila O'Flanagan were more than happy to reminisce about the bookstore where they whiled away many hours before they shot to fame.

During the day, customers took home their purchases in limited edition retro bags with the wide blue and green stripes that were the company's trademark for many years.

A table on the ground floor bears an inscription saying it had been given to Mr Eason by staff to replace one that was destroyed during a fire in 1916.

"Eason is 125 years old today but I haven't been here for all those 125 years," laughed Maeve Binchy. "Some people think I have. I have nothing but fond memories.

"It's the biggest wholesaler in the country and if Eason liked you, you were grand, and sometimes they took a risk on someone who was unknown.

"I was in that category. I was 42 when I was successful, but they were always very nice and welcoming. I have fond memories of booksignings.

"They were very posh here in Eason. I used to always, as I do now, write with a chewed biro and your man who was running Eason, Harold Clarke, was very posh. I could see a look of pain come across his face when he saw me and he said 'Could somebody get Ms Binchy a proper pen?'

"He was a very suave man."

Paul Howard, who was inspired by Ms Binchy to eavesdrop on conversations to help him write his books, recalled trying to dodge a security man who policed customers to prevent them having a free read of magazines in the shop.

Eason marketing head David Field said Charles Eason signed the lease for the first Eason store in 1886, and the company also ran libraries over the years.

Today, there are 60 stores in Ireland employing more than 1,000 staff in total.

The bookstore counted the playwright Sean O'Casey as an employee. He was sacked for refusing to remove his cap when collecting his wage packet.

Another memorable event took place in 2004, when Eason sold its most expensive book, Muhammad Ali's 'Greatest of All Time', for €2,980.

It has held numerous celebrity book signings but has only closed its doors for three -- U2, Tony Blair and Bill Clinton.

Irish Independent

Read More

Promoted articles

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment