Day's Bazaar auction at Usher’s postponed until 21st September

The majority of the contents of the home of the late Jim and Miriam O’Donnell, Prospect, Mullingar, former owners of Day’s Bazaar, in the town, will be auctioned by Usher of Kells on Monday 21st September, following the rescheduling of next Monday's auction.

Monday's auction was due to be conducted from the Headfort Arms Hotel, Kells, with lots being shown on screen, but new guidelines brought in by the Irish Hotels Federation on foot of Government coronavirus restrictions caused this to change.

From 1973 to 2007, Jim and Miriam O’Donnell, ran Day’s Bazaar, the Mullingar Bookshop. It became a landmark bookshop in the midlands, holding many thousands of titles. Innovations such as celebrity signings and costumed book launches helped build its brand. Jim and Miriam hosted local, national and international personalities and the queues for Gay Byrne, Garret Fitzgerald and Brian Lenihan stretched down Oliver Plunkett Street.

The O'Donnells were very involved in the local literary scene, organising launches of books such as ‘The Boer War’, ‘The Scramble for Africa’ and ‘Meetings with Remarkable Trees’, by Thomas Packenham, who resides in Tullynally Castle. They also supported many local historians and authors including Leo Daly, Ruth Illingworth and Rex Beaumont.

Jim’s family have a long history with Mullingar. Jim’s mother, Doreen Macken, grew up on Dominick Street where her father, John Macken, had a solicitor’s practice which still exists today, J J Macken & Co. Jim grew up on Oliver Plunkett Street, where his father had a drapery business which is now Tom Birmingham’s menswear. Jim and Miriam raised their three sons and a daughter over Day’s Bazaar, just across the road. Jim died in April 2018, and Miriam shortly afterwards in January 2019.

As befits their trade, Jim and Miriam had a wide collection of books, many of which were signed by the authors. Some late 19th and early 20th century watercolours by RHA artists will be included in the auction along with Georgian and Edwardian furniture pieces, including a Grandmother Clock, a large bookcase, glass cabinets and card tables.

Viewing in Kells is from Thursday to Sunday, and morning of sale, which will be in the Headfort Arms Hotel, at 3.30pm, with lots appearing on the screen, and Covid restriction in place. See advert on Meath Chronicle, page 10.

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