Monday 18 February 2019

The heart of Wexford

Frankie Thomas and Nicky Rossiter
Frankie Thomas and Nicky Rossiter
Tom, Tadhg and Caitlin Rossiter at the launch

Brendan Keane

A new book by local author, Nicky Rossiter, was launched recently in Wexford town detailing historical aspects of the town's main thoroughfare.

The book, titled 'Main Street - the heart of Wexford', is the 13th to be written or co-written by Mr Rossiter and it follows on from a previous publication in which he outlined the history, stories and characters associated with the older streets in the town.

The launch took place at the Book Centre which was fitting because that is one of the buildings featured in the book and the author signed copies for people in attendance.

With regard to the launch premises Mr Rossiter wrote in the book: 'It first opened in Wexford beside the current Hassett's, in what was earlier Fortes Café renowned for the chips and sausage teatime treat on a Saturday'.

In the book he also highlighted how the shops used to stay open until 7.30 pm on Saturdays and how dessert was an 'Orange Soda' comprised of a dollop of ice cream in a glass of orange crush.

At the launch Mr Rossiter commented on some of the significant events touched on in the book including the occasion when the late Frank Hall, from Radio Telefis Eireann, officially opened the Book Centre on June 13, 1975.

The first celebrity author to appear in the shop was Eilish Dillon who visited the shop three days after it opened.

Mr Rossiter spoke about Boston House which was a shop on the corner of South Main Street and Allen Street that offered fancy goods with a 'quality high, prices low' approach.

He spoke of the different places in which he himself worked throughout his career including Joyce's, the Book Centre and MABS. A significant aspect of his talk was how he focussed attention on the fact that up to the 1700s a lot of Wexford was residential and that fact is reflected to this day in the plasterwork visible on 2nd and 3rd floors throughout the town.

There was good interaction between the author and the audience and Mr Rossiter said the Main Street had been one of the most difficult areas of the town to research to-date due to the changes of shops and numbers down through the years.

He commented on the thoroughfare being relatively unique in Ireland having everything from shops, printers, a church, theatre and cinema along its length. Mr Rossiter also highlighted the fact that down through the centuries Wexford's Main Street has lost many well established businesses and the families associated with them.

Mr. Rossiter thanked everyone who turned up at the launch and those who helped him in his research.

Wexford People

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