County Tipperary’s biggest book fair gets ready to celebrate 25 years

It’s amazing how time flies, and a ‘book fair in the Ballroom’ that began on the second Sunday in February in 1996 is still going strong after twenty-five-years.

The organisers – Fethard Historical Society – did not know what to expect all those years ago as it was a ‘new idea’ for everyone involved. But, it did take off from year one and has not looked back since.

One contributory fact was, that good advice was sought and taken, from knowledgeable ‘book dealing people’, in particular, the late Rudi Holzapfel who ran a great second-hand and antiquarian bookshop in Tipperary town at that time. In fact, the formula worked so well that it has not changed much in the past 25 years; as the Americans say, ‘If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.’

So, it is still held on the second Sunday in February, with an in-house Café and a piano player on stage to add more ambience to the event. The presence of the large Ballroom space makes such a venture possible and it is also wonderful that the Fethard Ballroom is also very much a going concern twenty-five-years later.

People sometimes ask where the name ‘Tipperariana’ came from, and like most things it happened by accident. For the second fair in 1997, Rudi Holzapfel compiled a forty-page booklet, listing all the better known ‘Tipperary books’ produced in the last two centuries. He also gave ‘guide prices’ that antiquarian book collectors would pay for all the books listed. ‘Tipperariana’ was the title he gave to his booklet and ever since the organisers have called the annual fair ‘The Tipperariana Book Fair’.

The Tipperariana Book Fair has now been adopted by all Tipperary people as ‘their’ county book fair and this has added to its continuing success.

The book fair is the one fund raising venture of the Fethard Historical Society during the year, and the sale of donated books at the fair forms a big part of the overall income. Anyone wishing to donate books can contact any member of the society or email: or phone 087 9305232 / 087 9009722 and arrangements will be made to receive the books in the coming weeks.

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