Irish poet celebrates his new pub space following a successful crowdsourcing effort.

A well-known Irish poetry publisher’s bookstore and arts centre was about to close, but thanks to a GoFundMe effort, almost €60,000 was raised, which was sufficient to purchase new space in a former bar.

In 2012, Salmon Poetry, which has published over 300 poets from Ireland and abroad, including as Elaine Feeney, Carol Ann Duffy, and Rachel Coventry, opened a literary centre and bookstore in a rented building in Ennistymon, County Clare. The publisher had intended to purchase the building in the future, but the owners ultimately chose to occupy it, and they informed Salmon in March of last year that it would need to leave the space by the end of August.

“We were frantic,” said the publisher’s founder Jessie Lendennie. “Property prices here are astronomical.” A cousin of Lendennie’s had died and left her some money, but it “wasn’t enough”. Lendennie had a look at a couple of alternative locations, but they “would have needed tons of work”. At this point, she was becoming “more and more desperate”.

After some time, the publisher discovered a potential new site: a historic Main Street bar. The owners “hung in there” until the publisher got the necessary money to close the deal because they wanted Salmon to have it.

Lendennie was concerned that some people might believe that salmon has to beg before she started the GoFundMe campaign. Nevertheless, she launched the campaign on August 28 and in less than a week, it raised €20,000. She remarked, “I just couldn’t believe it.” Kenny’s Bookstore in Galway contributed €1,000 as one of the initial gifts. It was really moving. We’ll always have your back, the note said. Approximately seven hundred people contributed €60,325 (£51,892) during the duration of the campaign.

According to Lendennie, the former bar was built in the middle of the 1800s and still has a 19th-century vibe. The bar counter did take up too much space, so the publisher was forced to eliminate it. Salmon intends to host a range of activities at the new venue, which senator Martin Conway officially opened on Saturday, including poetry, music, and workshops.

Since its founding in 1981, Salmon Poetry—which is led by Lendennie and co-director Siobhán Hutson Jeanotte—has published over 600 volumes of poetry, with an emphasis on up-and-coming female poets.

People who had never heard of Salmon but wished to support small bookshops donated to GoFundMe, according to Lendennie. Although eBooks are practical, many people still value having the actual physical product.

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