Work is expected to begin in the coming weeks for the latest shop in Enniskillen.

Book retail giant Waterstones has confirmed it will be opening its first-ever store in Fermanagh, in Erneside, with the opening date to be some time around mid-September.

Since the closure of Easons in the town centre during the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been no bookstore in Enniskillen, so the news of Waterstones’ anticipated opening will be welcome news for avid readers across the county.

Speaking to The Impartial Reporter, Fiona O’Hare, a manager with Waterstones, said they are very excited to be opening a store in a town with such a strong literary history.

“Customers that come into [our] Belfast [store] ask, ‘Why haven’t you got a branch in Enniskillen, you should have a branch in Enniskillen’.

“And we have been saying, ‘Yes, we really should!’,” said Fiona.

She continued: “People from Enniskillen seem to be big readers. There is such a rich literary heritage there, with Samuel Beckett, and Oscar Wilde having gone to school there. I think it is a perfect fit, really, Waterstones in Enniskillen.”

The company has put out advertisements to recruit staff for the new store, and Fiona says the interest has been strong so far, and she has encouraged anybody who is interested in a role to get in touch.

And as well as CVs and applications, people have been getting in touch to express their delight that Waterstones is coming to Fermanagh, she said.

“As well as people emailing me for jobs, I have had emails from people just saying they saw the ad and how fantastic it is we are coming to Enniskillen – they can’t wait to be there on opening day, which I thought was lovely, as well as them saying this community really needs this bookshop.”

Fiona says the bookshop will have plenty to offer, from books for children right through to books for all ages, and she hopes it will become something of a cultural hub, as well as a place where people can take part in events such as writing groups, children’s storytime, and the shop is not all just about buying books.

But for now, the people of Fermanagh will have to wait until the work to transform the old Clinton Cards shop is completed.

Fiona believes the shop will be a huge success, whenever it opens: “We are so excited! We opened a new shop in Londonderry last year and it was so successful that I think, as a company, they were really seeing the value and that opening more shops [in Northern Ireland] is really the way forward.”

Anyone interested in working for Waterstones can send a CV and cover letter to fiona.o’ The closing date for applications is July 16.