The 25th Annual Trinity Secondhand Booksale

Posted on: 28 February 2014

The Trinity Secondhand Booksale is 25 years old this year. Renowned as the largest charity booksale in Ireland, it is remarkable for the sheer quantity of books on sale (all donated), the variety of books on offer (academic, foreign language, text books, fiction, antiquarian, etc), and the inexpensive prices.

This year’s sale will be held from the evening of Thursday 6th to lunchtime Saturday 8th March. Over the three days crowds will gather in Trinity’s Exam Hall in search of bargains and books they never knew they needed. You never know what may turn up among the thousands of books in the Trinity Secondhand Booksale!

The Booksale has raised almost half a million euro over the past 25 years which has been used to support research in the College by providing funds for the purchase of research materials in the Library and departmental libraries.

To celebrate 25 years, the Booksale will publish A Box of Books – The Trinity Secondhand Booksale 1990-2014. The book will give a short history of the sale, mentioning alumni and Trinity staff involved, the funds raised each year, and records the many grant recipients. Three short essays describe some of the books, manuscripts and maps that the Booksale has helped the College acquire. Over 500 donors to the Sale are listed.

 The 25th Trinity Secondhand Booksale opens in the Exam Hall, Front Square, at 5.30pm on Thursday 6th March. Admission charge is €3 for this night only. An auction of rare books starts at 7.00pm and the sale closes at 9pm. The Auction Catalogue may be viewed at The sale continues on ‘Restocked’ Friday, 7th March from 10am to 6pm, when even more books will be on sale, and on ‘Half-price’ Saturday 8th March from 10am to 2pm when all books are sold at half the marked price. Clearance auction at 2.15pm when everything must go.

 Among the 80 lots in the auction of rare books on the Thursday evening are Kavanagh’s Come Dance with Kitty Stobling (1960), Twice Round the Black Church by Austin Clarke (1962), and other works of Irish literature by Heaney, Montague, Myles na gCopaleen and Brian Keenan, amongst others. History is always well represented in the auction, including Lord Longford and T.P. O’Neill’s biography of Eamon De Valera – copy signed by Dev., Keating’s History of Ireland, an 1860 edition of The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell, and an 1703 Memories of the Reign of King Charles I. Books of local interest include Dalton’s History of the County of Dublin (1838), My Clonmel Scrap Book by James White (1907), and a rare copy of The Remains of St. Mary’s Abbey, Dublin (1887). Even keen bibliophiles might be pressed to find shelf-space for the 1500 page Thom’s Dublin Directory for 1941. There are long runs of several journals such as Irish Historical Studies and the Journal of the Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society. One of rarest books on offer is Fox’s Book of Martyrs revised and corrected by Paul Wright (c.1784).

 Art books figure prominently in the auction, including Françoise Henry’s Irish Art in the Early Christian Period (1940) and her splendid The Book of Kells (1974), Crookshank & the Knight of Glin’s Ireland’s Painters 1600-1940 (2002), and Lady Gregory’s Hugh Lane’s Life and Achievement (1921). A de luxe edition of A Gift to the State: The National Stud by George A. Fothergill (1916) is among one of the many unusual or uncommon items in the auction. There are also travel books, biographies, literature, children’s books and illustrated books, several atlases, etc. For the full catalogue of 80 items click here or go to