This sounds like a dreamy little jaunt west.
One of Cork’s most picturesque book shops is inviting some of the world’s most influential antiquarian book dealers to a three-day fair this August.
The event will be run by Holger Smyth of Inanna Rare Books and Readers Garden, a quiet oasis nestled in the woods near Skibbereen.
Described as a real treat “for readers, collectors, lovers of rare and unusual books, art, photography, ephemera, comics, vintage maps from the 16th to the 19th century, rare vinyl, records, coins and postcards” the inaugural West Cork Rare Book Fair will continue for three days in August (12th to 14th).
It all takes place on the stunning Inish Beg Estate in Baltimore, West Cork, which boasts 97 acres of birdsong-filled woodlands as well as a pirate trail, fairy trail, and gardens to explore during your visit.
Notable items to check out
Among the treasures that will be arranged for viewing throughout the Rare Book Fair will be a signed copy of Ulysses and a rare photo of Ernest Shackleton and Tom Crean.
Both items will be presented at the fair by Maggs Bros. Ltd., one of the longest-established antiquarian booksellers in the world.
Laurens Hesselink of Antiquariaat Forum, easily one of the world’s most exciting book dealers, will be bringing the second edition of the first-ever book printed on football (Italian ‘calcio’), first published in 1580.
Hesselink brings a beautiful version of the 1615 edition, printed in Florence by Cosimo Giunti. The book explains the mechanics of the game, provides its historical background and describes actual games played in and around Florence shortly before 1580.
Meanwhile, book dealers Hinck & Wall from Newport Rhode Island will be in West Cork on the day with a collection of historical garden architecture books (get a preview of the full catalogue here).
The first and only Dutch edition of Joan Blaeus great terrestrial atlas will also be on display (and for sale if you can find the €750,000 price tag).
Often considered the greatest atlas of all time, the book boasts 610 engraved maps, mostly double-page and all coloured by a contemporary hand, just one of a number of landmark publications of cultural world history that will be available to view in person in Skibbereen.
Jim Hinck will showcase how private collectors or people who inherit rare books can educate themselves and assess their commercial value using a special platform designed to help amateurs and professionals alike.
Visitors can explore the catalogue of Coracle Press, a small publishing press directed by writer and artist Erica Van Horn and poet, artist and editor Simon Cutts, from what was a small farm between the hills of South Tipperary, Ireland since 1996.
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Among the international book dealers are also six professional Irish book dealers who are exhibiting wonderful Irish literature, local history, and Irish and international maps.
You can also browse rare children’s books and old books on medicinal plants, herbs, food, and drink.
A vegan feast
If you work up an appetite on the spin to Skibb, you’re in the right place.
Nicola Smyth and her team from West Cork’s first strictly plant-based coffee shop and deli Antiquity Vegan Bookshopcafe are handling all the catering.
Throughout the three-day West Cork Rare Book Fair, visitors will be able to enjoy environmentally friendly, healthy food, from savoury lunch options to baked goodies, snacks and drinks.
Day tickets for the West Cork Rare Book Fair are just €5 with weekend tickets available from €10 (kids under 16 are free). Opening times are:
- Friday, August 12th from 10am – 5pm
- Saturday, August 13th from 10am – 5pm
- Sunday, August 14th from 10am – 5pm
Reserve your ticket by contacting Inanna Rare Books Ltd. Woodley House, Castletownshend Road Skibbereen by text on 087 – 102 5412 or email [email protected] More information about the Book Fair can be found on westcorkbookfair.com.