Vintage Irish Book Covers

October 27, 2010

I’m a vintage book cover fiend.

I have stacks of books brought home from car boot sales,charity shops,second hand shops and markets which I’ve bought mainly for the cover.It’s not as expensive as you might think.I’ve very rarely spent more than €6 on a book and the average cost of a book is much lower than that,about €3-4 if you haggle or go to the right places.Considering that 98% of the books I buy are books I’ll read anyway it doesn’t work out too bad.

And then there’s my father’s collection.Dozens of books dealing with 20th century Irish history fill the shelves in the living room.Ernie O’Malley,Tom Barry and Dan Breen were all names I learned early on in my life,by flicking through these books and studying their covers.The pulp inspired painted covers of 50s and 60s Anvil Press publications like Guerilla Days in Ireland by Tom Barry were a regular sight when I was a younger lad and looking back,it may well have been my father’s collection of vintage paperbacks that lit the spark in my little noggin and made me want to draw.

Being surrounded by vintage Irish book covers for many years before I even knew what a vintage Irish book cover was,I was delighted to see the fantastic Vintage Irish Book Cover blog run by Niall McCormack.I’ve learned a massive amount from reading this blog.I’ve even learned some things about books in my own collection!It’s important to have people like Niall who know what they’re on about to enlighten us about that often forgotten,but vital,component of Irish publishing history:the cover.Needless to say it should also be of great interest to all my illustrating peeps as well.

So inspired by Niall’s work,and feeling more than a little guilty about keeping some of these gems to myself,I’ve decided to post up a few vintage book covers(this first batch will be completely Irish interest,but I’ve plenty of foreign goodies as well which I’ll post up soon).I’m no expert on this stuff in terms of identifying individual designers so any information would be welcomed.



October 16, 2010

AY-YI-YI…I’m a happy little man.

If you’re in town anytime soon,swing by The Winding Stair or any of these other fine places and pick up the October issue of Punt Magazine.For €2 you get a deaaaaaadly cover by Steve McCarthy, loads of  well written pieces, a fishtful of good illustratin’ by people like Pablo Meyer and Eoin Ryan…and a sappy cartoon by Luke Fallon (a handsome young devil,by all accounts).Liam Geraghty of the Comic Cast did all the Comics editing so buy it and let the man know he did a good job…

Sure what else would you be doing with €2?Well,you could be a nice person and give it to charity…

But if you’ve bought it already and you’re walking around with a fantastic issue of Punt under your arms and you feel guilty about NOT giving the two quid to charity,why not head on over to Smithfield and lend some support to Maser and Damien Dempsey’s excellent They Are Us exhibtion?All the proceeds go to the Simon Community.It ends this Sunday so hurry up

So you can buy Punt and THEN give money to charity in exchange for a nifty Maser/Damo print.


Punt cover by the excellent Steve McCarthy