Dundalk Bookbinders: precision and quality

Dundalk Bookbinders: precision and quality
Steven Jimenez editor@dundlakdemocrat.ie @DundalkDemocrat

One of the last traditional bookbinding companies in the country goes about it's daily business almost unnoticed down the side gable of a row of houses just off Wolfe Tone Terrace here in town.

Dundalk Bookbinders is a family run business with 11 employees, with five working between full and part time, and has been providing its services to many universities and organisations nationwide for years.

They have also worked on various documents for government departments. Speaking to family member Colm McEvoy, he explained the different types of work the business carries out.

"We can cater for one to five thousand book print runs depending on the type of work it involves. For example one digitally printed run could take about forty to fifty minutes, whereas the more traditional type could take a week".

Mr McEvoy explained that the traditional printing type known as lithography, or litho printing is a method that his father, Frank McEvoy began when he first came to Dundalk from Dublin after learning the trade as an apprentice. He set to work in McGowans printing on the Ramparts, where the Marshes currently lies.

His father began as a floor worker in that business which employed around 450 people at the time.

Later he started his own printing in the shed at the back of his family home in York Street where they operated for 21 years.

In 2001 they moved to their current premises at Wolfe Tone Terrace. They produce books, do old traditional hand work preservation and newspapers.

They also bind books for publishers, and when the Democrat was speaking to Colm he added that 2016 has been a busy year, due in part to the centenary celebrations for the 1916 Rising.

Colm explained that one of their main lines of work would be in the religion sector and the educational sector.

“We also make specialist cases for books and have bound work for the Irish Defence Forces who produced work for the centenary of the 1916 rising.”

When visting their premises in Wolfe Tone terrace an employee, Diarmuid Warran explained what work he had to do on a stunning-looking map he was working on.

“First we’ve to iron it, then repair it with a special amount of care. It will then be mounted to a board and laminated."

Diarmuid also displayed a weather-beaten old bible that he had to be repaired and restored. When asked about the time it would take to repair it he replied: “I honestly don’t know”.

Like so many things with their trade, Dundalk Bookbinders value quality above speed.