Kilkenny People of the Year - Town of Books

Tourism: Sponsored by O’Neill Foley

Shauna Mc Hugh


Shauna Mc Hugh


People of the Year - Town of Books

Town of Books

The idea of turning a whole town into a book shop may have seemed like a massive undertaking when it was first mooted, but 15 years later and the Graignamanagh Town of Books festival is a runaway success with its highest ever attendance this year.
Visitors flock to the South Kilkenny town from all over Ireland, and further afield, for the now annual August weekend-long book festival. It’s a huge boost to the local economy, with visitors basing themselves in the town for the whole weekend. There’s also the knock-on economic boost to all local businesses, pubs, cafés, restaurants and accommodation - everybody benefits.
Juliet O’Shea, a member of the organising committee, says that the town-wide benefits encourage them to make the festival bigger and better each year.
All kinds of books are there to be discovered in Graignamanagh during the festival - from children’s favourites to adults’ pageturners; fiction; reference; from pocket-money purchases to rare finds.
The festival has developed over the years and is not just about book selling. This year Graignamanagh library hosted talks from well known Irish authors Helena Duggan, a children's’ book author from Kilkenny, and Patricia Gibney, a crime writer from Mullingar. These are part of the ‘fringe’ events to make the Town of Books  family friendly.
A core organising committee of eight to ten people are the driving force behind the Town of Books festival but they couldn’t do it without the people of the town who row in behind the festival and the many local volunteers who give their time over the weekend.