Poetry not pints as old pub a new home for publishers after fundraising campaign

Managing director of Salmon Publishing Jessie Lendennie ‘astounded’ by generosity of those who pledged money to her cause via GoFundMe

Commissioned by The Irish Times

One of Ireland’s leading poetry publishers moves into a new home in an old pub in north Clare this weekend after tens of thousands of euro raised on the GoFundMe platform late last year saved it from shutting up shop forever.

The managing director and founder of Salmon Publishing, Jessie Lendennie, said she was “astounded” by the generosity of those who pledged money to her cause and suggested it was proof “Irish society will always come through for the arts.”

Salmon has been run by Ms Lendennie for more than 40 years, with over 700 titles carrying its imprint since the 1980s. Among the poets it has published are Elaine Feeney, Eithne Hand, Fred Johnston, Julian Gough, Gerald Dawe, Rita Ann Higgins and President of Ireland Michael D Higgins.

In 2012 it opened The Salmon Bookshop & Literary Centre in Enistymon, which quickly became a venue for events, writing residencies and workshops, as well as a cultural hub for the local community.


Last September she launched a GoFundMe campaign aimed at securing a permanent home for the centre after being forced to vacate the previous premises, with the owners planning to use it for their own purposes.

Commissioned by The Irish Times

Setting up a GoFundMe wasn’t an easy decision,” she said this week. “It was kind of a desperate move because we had funds toward the purchase of the new building, but not enough to complete the sale and do necessary renovations.”

As soon as the campaign was launched, money started pouring in. “Without this amazing support, we could have lost our crucial place in North Clare,” she said.

She suggested the support was an indication that people still place a value on poetry at a time, she said, when the world is almost exclusively focused on materialistic pursuits.

With €60,000 raised, the poetry house could cover the costs of relocating and renovating the building they were moving to. “It dates from 1870 and was a pub for a good part of its life, and we’ve preserved its 19th century ambience – without the bar, however.”

While it is poetry not pints that will flow from now on in what was formerly Dalys pub, the development means the world to Ms Lendennie and her small team, including Siobhán Hutson and Eleanor Cummins.

The benefits are tremendous. Owning the building means that Salmon can focus on future projects without wondering about whether a lease will be renewed,” she said.

We can schedule events year-round and have a base for our own book launches, and others, putting Ennistymon firmly on the literary map. Our previous book shop and literary centre gained a great reputation in its 11 years, and all of that, and more, will transfer to our very own place.”

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor