Here’s what Sandra Hall, Book Fair Organiser, had to say about The 2018 Phoenix Spring Book Fair…

“What we needed was a warm sunny day and while we were setting up the fair that is what we got. Sadly on the morning of the fair we awoke to wall to wall rain. Fearing the worst we were heartened by those amongst us who were predicting it would clear mid morning.

Although the weather was damp we opened on time and books started rolling in at the front of the Hall and people began arriving in dribs and drabs but by late morning the weather had cleared a little and the Hall was buzzing with people searching for their favourites, amongst the 1000s of books already sorted, and those queuing for the lovely food on offer.

There were friends from all over meeting up with old friends, some of which had not been seen since the last fair. There were new friendships being made, e.mails being exchanged and casual conversations over tea and cake, showers permitting.  Many conversations were about how well people had wintered.

Those manning the stalls outside mopped up as best they could. Sadly some books were lost to the rain, but generally, everyone was keeping cheery and welcoming and only too willing to find a particular book or point people in the right directing for books, CDS, DVDs, and jigsaws. Inside the hall people rummaged through the books with lists and bags bulged with their finds.

There were 1000s of books of all kinds, carefully sorted and boxed by the book team over the last 6 months. People were very generous with bric-a-brac this year. Someone even said it was like bric-a-brexit as some people, unsure of their future, moved back to their old countries, but we just thought it is good to recycle and left it at that.

The catering team worked like Trojans to keep everyone fed and watered and we have to thank many people who donated cakes and savouries. I saw plates piled high with the bounty on offer. Perhaps the inclement weather made it more important to eat to keep warm.

The representatives of Phoenix and SPA were on hand giving advice re homing of pets and animal welfare. The work they do, in conjunction with other animal organisations, saves hundreds of our furry friends every year. It was lovely to see the dogs from SPA in their smart yellow jackets. There were lots of oohs and aahs. Book buyers had also brought their own animals, many of which had been adopted from Phoenix and SPA.

The Phoenix Book Sales mean so much to so many people. Over the years it seems to have become a bit of an institution not just for collecting much needed reading material but also knowing we are helping the animals in our small way. Following last year’s appeal by the committee for new sorters we amassed a good team to join the sorting regulars. Many of the tasks have been handed out over a greater number of people whereas before it was falling on the shoulders of 1 or 2.  We have such camaraderie within the teams it is a joy to be there. At the Fair we were given more names of people wanting to help.

If you have books to donate (clean and undamaged please) or bric-a-brac, CDs, DVDs, etc, please contact our collections organiser Geoff Hall on He will be only too happy to make arrangements.

Takings were slightly down on the last fair but having regard to the weather we still raised over €10,000 for the Phoenix Association.

We thank you for all your support. Please keep it up – the animals need you.”

Photographs taken by Mike Farrow