Only last month I had wrote about our new hand bound Celtic Notebook Collection and what a great reaction we are getting from them but to top it off we were absolutely delighted to have been shortlisted in the gift category of the inaugural IRISH MADE awards by Irish Country Magazine.
With numerous award categories Irish Country Magazine said that their judging panel went through hundreds of entries to decide who would make it through to this years short list. Judging is now open to the public at www.irishcountrymagazine.ie/irishmade and we would appeal for people to get on and vote for us, and for all those who already have, a big thank you from all at Duffy Bookbinders.
It's just over two years since we started our own range of hand bound notebooks and even though we were confident that we were producing a quality product, we were happily still blown away by the huge response and the constant positive feedback. Apart from our own five lamps version, there are a number of different bespoke options for sale to the public through different organisations and shops. In fact it has even been brought to our attention that the quest to own one of each and every available design is being actively sought by 'stationary addicts' from this country and beyond (yes, stationary addicts do exist, just look online). So I'm delighted to say that your notebook buying options have just got even bigger with the launch of our new Celtic Notebook Collection. The notebooks feature a blind debossing of four different Celtic symbols on the front with the endpaper giving a little explanation of each Celtic design.
The four designs are:
THE DARA CELTIC KNOT
The word 'Dara' comes from the Irish word 'Doire' meaning oak tree. It is believed the Celtic artistic origins of the Dara Celtic Knot symbolised the root system of the oak tree. The Celts viewed the oak tree as a symbol of power, strength, leadership, wisdom and endurance
The Celtic Cross, comprising of a regular cross with its intersection surrounded by a ring or circle is recognized the world over. Although now a common Celtic Christian symbol, the cross has pre-Christian origins. Legend has it that the cross may have been introduced to Ireland by Saint Patrick.
The Celtic symbol of the Triquetra interlaced with a circle is popularly known as the Trinity Knot. The circle is believed to convey longevity as it represents an in interrupted life cycle. It is commonly used in Celtic art and design and can be found in the Book of Kells.
The Celtic and pre-Celtic symbol of three interlocked spirals is known as a Triskele. Commonly used in Celtic and pre-Celtic art and carvings, the Triskele is famously carved on the entrance stone to Newgrange.
All notebooks are of course hand bound in our bindery on Seville Terrace. The first delivery of notebooks have only just hit the shops and are available in most current stockists and some new. If you own a craft, book or gift store and would be interested in stocking the notebooks please email firstname.lastname@example.org
On this Easter Monday, 28th of March, as part of the centenary celebrations to mark the 1916 Rising, RTE, in partnership with Ireland 2016, will transform the city as they seek to recreate the sound and sights of Dublin during that momentous year that would change this island forever. Dublin city will become a hive of activity with a wide scale of events ranging from the theatrical to the educational with a strong emphasis on family entertainment themed throughout. As part of this extravaganza there will be a number of tented craft villages throughout the city centre highlighting the skills and craft people found more common in 1916. At one such tented village, situated at St. Stephen's Green, Tom and Patricia of Duffy Bookbinders will be found, in period costume, showcasing the ancient skill and craft of Bookbinding. We were delighted to have been asked to participate and never hesitated in accepting an opportunity to not only promote bookbinding but help mark 'The Rising' in the city, an event that has always had a prominent position in our own family history. What makes our 'posting' at St. Stephen's Green even more emotionally significant is the fact that on Easter Monday 100 years previous, Patrick (Paddy) Duffy, my great grandfather, and the first bookbinder in the family that now reaches four generations, would enter St. Stephen's Green, armed, along with other members of The Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army. Under the command of Michael Mallin and Countess Markievicz they had planned to dig themselves in for the long haul but British machine gunners were moved into the Shelbourne Hotel, giving a significant height advantage over the green. The constant raining of machine gun bullets forced the order to evacuate and the order was given to take over the College of Surgeons, adjacent to the green. At the same time, over at City Hall, a young nurse and member of The Irish Citizens Army, Brigid Davis, was attending to the dying Seán Connolly. Brigid's blood stained apron can be seen at the museum in Kilmainham Jail. After Pearse's surrender, Brigid herself was brought to Kilmainham Jail before being released. Paddy was sent to the Welsh prison camp of Frongoch. Upon his release Paddy returned in ill health. Brigid, under the orders of Dr. Kathleen Lynn, was assigned to Paddy to nurse him back to full strength, and it was during this time that they would fall in love. After an active part from both in the war of Independence they would get married and start a family. Paddy would complete a bookbinding apprenticeship and would eventually become the bindery overseer of Alex Thoms. His son Tommy, my grandfather, would come to work along side him. Tommy would go on to start up Duffy Bookbinders, now owned by Paddy and Brigid's grandsons, Tom and Patrick and working along side is Tom's wife Patricia and myself, their great grandson. So a century later from that Easter when Paddy dodged the constant machine gun fire and Brigid bravely maneuvered along the copper domed roof of City Hall under sniper fire, Duffy Bookbinders will play their small part to help the city of Dublin to remember and celebrate all the brave men and women of 1916, but forgive us if we selfishly reflect on our own family history and how 'The Rising' would bring two active participants together in life. This would lead not only to a family but a family craft in bookbinding started by Paddy and still going strong four generations later.
The Lilliput Press have recently published a collection of essays commemorating the life and work of Irish poet and Nobel Laureate, William Butler Yeats and at Duffy Bookbinders we were delighted to have bound seventy six specials as a limited edition consisting of fifty numbered 1 - 50 and twenty six lettered A to Z. Titled Yeats 150 and edited by Declan J, Foley, this book while celebrating the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the birth of W.B. Yeats, honors not just the poet Yeats but also those who have lectured and tutored across the world on the man. The books were quarter bound in navy Savanna book cloth with light grey Hahnemuhle Bugra Butten paper on the sides. They were silver foiled on the spine with a blind embossing on the front. The books are contained in a hand made slipcase that is also blind embossed on the front. The Lilliput Press, www.lilliputpress.ie, founded in 1984 by Anthony Farrell,is one of Ireland's most prestigious publishing houses specializing in Irish interest.
Sentiment is quite common in the book world and often the author or a title of a book taken from a dusty shelf can bring a smile as the handler is instantly taken to a special time or childhood memory. Sometimes it may be the edition or printing that excites but recently for myself it was because of the bookbinder. Last year we were given a number of boxes that had been in storage by the Irish Manuscripts Commission since the 1950's. It was common for books to be printed in larger numbers than required for binding with the remaining book blocks put into storage for a later time if required or if stock was running low. What brought a smile was that these books had been printed and bound in the 1950's by Alex Thoms of Botanic Road. In the 1950's in Thoms, Paddy Duffy (my great grandfather) was the bindery foreman and also working in the bindery was his son, Tommy Duffy (my grandfather). This is where the imagination can run but it is not impossible that under the instruction of his father, Tommy, after binding the agreed run, packed away the remaining book blocks only for them to be given to his sons and grandson over sixty years later to bind, in a family business that he would begin. There cant be two many titles published, of the same print run, where it is possible that four generations of Bookbinders from the one family worked on the one job, hence a sentimental smile from this bookbinder.
Welcome to THE BOOK PRESS, a blog that should appeal to all book lovers as well as bookbinding enthusiasts. With our new blog we will keep you updated with any new bookbinding projects we are working on as well as looking back at our past.