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New chapter for Red Books as Wexford bookshop doubles in size

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Red Books owner Wally O'Neill (centre) is flanked by fellow booksellers Anton O'Broin and Kieran O'Brien.

Red Books owner Wally O'Neill (centre) is flanked by fellow booksellers Anton O'Broin and Kieran O'Brien.

Veteran bookseller Anton O'Broin performing the official opening of the new extended Red Books.

Veteran bookseller Anton O'Broin performing the official opening of the new extended Red Books.

Anton O'Broin cuts the ribbon on the new Red Books extension.

Anton O'Broin cuts the ribbon on the new Red Books extension.

The official opening of the new Red Books extension.

The official opening of the new Red Books extension.

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Red Books owner Wally O'Neill (centre) is flanked by fellow booksellers Anton O'Broin and Kieran O'Brien.

wexfordpeople

HAVING become one of the best loved bookshops in the south east, Red Books in St Peter’s Square has now doubled in size after taking over the premises next door.

When news broke that The Little Geek Shack was closing its shop, Red Books owner Wally O’Neill couldn't let the opportunity pass him by. With books piled floor to ceiling in most parts of his current shop, he took the plunge and decided to extend.

“Our extension doubles the size of Red Books and increases our stock to a quarter of a million books,” he said. “It also affords us much needed space for book launches, writer groups and the many other events that happen around bookstores like ours.”

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Having started life in a converted bulls shed in Bridgetown five and a half years ago before moving to Wexford town in 2019, Red Books has enjoyed a rapid growth and has almost become a place of pilgrimage for many readers. This growth has come despite lockdowns, pandemics and rising inflation.

Nearly 200 people arrived at the shop for the official opening of the extension last week, with veteran bookseller Anton O’Broin performing the honours and cutting the ribbon.

“Its gone from being the smallest bookshop in Ireland to being one of the largest independents,” Kieran O’ Brien, another local bookseller and MC for the launch, said.

As well as being a bookshop, Red Books is also a publisher of local books, recently launching two new anthologies, the third issue of The Wexford Bohemian and the latest copy of Wexford Women Writing Undercover. At least five more publications are due before Christmas. 

“Wexford is certainly going through a literary renaissance,” Wally said. “You can’t throw a stone in this town without hitting a writer, poet, historian, artist, or musician, and all of them are contributing to the rich culture of the locality. We’re very proud to be part of all of this. John Updike said that bookstores were lonely forts spilling light out onto the sidewalks. Well, thanks to our wonderful bookshop community, we’re a not-so-lonely fort on a hill, spilling books and poets, quare-hawks and visionaries out onto the footpaths of Wexford.”


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