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The newspaper opened up channels or used existing ones to convey other print media, such as monthly magazines and book catalogues offering books, pamphlets, schoolbooks, subscription editions, expensive books sold in parts, as well as stationery, patent medicines and fancy goods.
Customers could order from catalogues and books would be delivered to the agent’s shop with the newspapers.
Raymond Gillespie has noted 120 merchants importing books from Bristol to the south of Ireland between 15. Books were imported at Youghal and Dingle from England, Holland and France in 16. In 1723 the chief coastal trading towns were Cork, with 690 ships, Waterford with 176, Limerick with 71, Youghal with 51, Kinsale with 44, Baltimore with 38, Rosse with 27, Wexford with 21 and Dingle with 6. Waterford was described as ‘wealthy, populous and well situated for Trade’ where ‘Ships of a large Burthen may come up to, and safely lie at the Kay.’ Limerick too was considered ‘an elegant, rich and populous city, whose trade is very considerable; for though its Distance from the Sea is about fifty miles, yet Ships of Burthen may come up to the very Walls.’ The extensive international trading networks built up by merchants in the ports meant a steady flow of information and foreign news coming in which could be harnessed to provide newspaper content.
By the early decades of the eighteenth century newspaper enterprises were initiated in many port towns.
Variations in trading patterns can be discerned from one county to another.
In some counties, such as Carlow, Clare, Kilkenny, Limerick, Waterford and Wexford, evidence shows the main activity is in the county town, with general traders in other towns acting as agents for newspapers and books.
The agents were the local newspaper proprietors: John Ferrar in Limerick, Edward Collins in Clonmel, and Edmund Finn in Kilkenny, the bookseller Ellis Chandlee in Cork, and merchants or other business people in towns that had no specialist bookseller.
It is notable that agents were established particularly in towns that did not have a local newspaper at this period.
Merchants were not solely reliant on Dublin for the provision of printed matter, trade could be carried on independently with England and the continent.Couriers may not have worked exclusively with the newspaper, in 1754 Swiney’s courier to Kinsale was robbed of a quantity of sugar outside Philip Stacpole’s grocery shop, in Barrack Street, Cork, which ‘he had bought for persons in Kinsale’. William Flyn established his newspaper, , in Cork in October 1769.