The prolific Wexford author Nicky Rossiter has published another book, just weeks after the release of ‘Looking Back’, recalling local events during his lifetime.
In the new hardback book of 280 pages titled ‘A Companion to the History of Wexford Town’, he has distilled 30 years of research into a volume that can be dipped into at random.
The publication is in for the format of an alphabetical reference including short entries mixed with longer pieces originally published in journals but revised and updated. “It is an A to Y rather than Z because I decided not to include Zorro”, he said.
It opens with A for Abbey Cinema which is described as follows as part of a longer entry: “It was built in 'Red Pat's' field which was a popular circus site in 1945/46. The land was bought from the Mercy Nuns. Originally it was to be called The Ritz. It had 1000 seats and was air-conditioned. It opened on January 18, 1947. Like most newly built cinemas of the era it had a stage and therefore could accommodate live performances.
”Radio Éireann’s Question Time was broadcast from there on April 20, 1947 with 'double or nothing' quiz and the 'yes, no' competition. It held a Pioneer Rally on April 27, 1947. Ben Hur was shown in 1963 with postal booking forms printed in papers.”
It concludes with Y for “Yuletide Dance” of which Nicky writes: “When you finally reached the age of 18 years, you were old enough at last to go to the Yuletide Dance in the Parish Hall. This was the big one, the night when you would be dancing with girls for the first time. Well, you went with that intention, but some of us hadn't the courage to even look in the general direction of the girls, let alone dance with them.
“I knew a couple of lads who spent a lot of money getting dressed up for the big event but spent the night sitting up in the balcony too terrified to come down. Even if you did get up to dance, the local priest made sure you didn't dance too close - this was against the rules.”
In between, there are entries for Cromwell in Wexford, Slaughterhouse Lane, when nylons were advertised in Wexford, Lancaster House, dancing classes in the town and dance protests, The Dead Poultry Show and the gentlemen’s clubs of old Wexford.
The book includes over a hundred illustrations of all aspects of the history of Wexford.
Nicky said he has published the book to give the reader a handy dictionary of the history of the town. “From it you can pluck pieces of information to educate, amaze or just simply annoy your friends and relations. It was also a chance for the author to decant items that are interesting in themselves but not of sufficient import as to develop into an article, chapter or story.”
A major portion of the print run was pre-ordered and only a limited number of copies remain which are on sale in Red Books in Peter’s Square.