Tale of our times as Waterstone's shuts doors
AT six o'clock yesterday evening, staff and customers gathered to say farewell to an old friend as Waterstone's flagship store on Dawson Street in Dublin marked its final chapter.
The shock closure was announced on Tuesday morning and left many of the stunned staff in tears. Some had worked in the shop for the past 24 years.
"It's as much about losing the people and the shop itself rather than the jobs," said senior bookseller Fiona Nolan, who had been there for 10 years. "We're a very tight group, almost like a family."
Staff sipped wine as they prepared to close the multi-storey shop. At the front door, a tribute book was surrounded by cards left by book-lovers paying their final respects.
"I've been here for quite a long time, 22 years," said Ita McCondrey. "It's a sad day."
Annette Richardson, who was among the last customers to leave, was similarly upset.
"I've been coming here for almost 25 years, since the place opened," she said "I think it will be really greatly missed. It's part of the street and it's very sad to see it going."
Manager Graeme Bailey, who worked in the store for the past two years, said: "I feel disappointed and sad. The support we got from customers has been amazing."
The final hours were busy as people queued to make their last purchases, commiserating with staff.
Frequent customers Amanda and Janet Dillion were in to have their last cup of tea and scone in the cafe. "I know it's cheesy but we wanted to mark the day," said Amanda.
"If you have a passion for books this is the perfect place to come," said Janet.
Luas driver and history enthusiast James Watson from Drumcondra said he would miss the ambience.
"I was very disappointed to hear it was closing. It was a shock. It has a great selection and layout and the staff are so helpful."
The bookshop is part of the HMV group that announced 11 closures in the UK and Ireland but some estimate that as many as 40 HMVs and 20 Waterstone's could close in the near future.