Orna Mulcahy selects a few of her favourites …
Shop local they say and it’s not difficult when just a few steps away from THE GLOSS offices is one of the best village bookshops in the country, RAVEN BOOKS in Blackrock, Co Dublin. OK, so you have to shimmy around tightly packed bookshelves and step aside for fellow browsers, but the selection is always interesting with some pre-owned books and a slight skew towards crime, and plentiful piles of bestsellers.
Dublin Sixers swear by THE COMPANY OF BOOKS which is bright and inviting with a really strong selection of current literature and non-fiction. Excellent website too with free delivery anywhere in Ireland when you spend over €30.
In Dalkey village, the tiny GUTTER BOOKSHOP is a little sibling to the Temple Bar store and while it mightn’t have all the books in the world, you will find the ones people are talking about.
In Wicklow town, the family-run BRIDGE STREET BOOKSHOP has been in business since 1999. Its beautiful storefront and busy interior has tourists flocking to it in the summer months and a steady local trade, with children especially catered to.
Books run in the family too at THE MAYNOOTH BOOKSHOP where Cian Byrne is at the helm. Again, helpful service and a great offering for young readers make this a must-stop on the high street.
Galway’s no village but any list of bookshops outside the capital would have to include KENNY’S, going strong since the 1940s and just as relevant today with its huge stock of books on site and a busy online business too.
In Connemara on a rainy day? Head for the award-winning CLIFDEN BOOKSHOP, which has lots of titles of local interest and all the bestsellers to take back to your getaway cottage. A 15-minute drive away in Letterfrack is the wonderful Books At One.
THE SNEEM BOOKSHOP in Co Kerry has a big table at its centre that’s a hub for community meetings and a place to have coffee while browsing the selection of new, secondhand and antique books. “Tourists have been known to walk out with a brand new copy of Rachel, Again, an old edition of Ulysses, a handturned oak bowl from the Sneem Mens’ Shed and a scarf knitted by Una, the shop’s charismatic owner,” says local writer Amanda Geard. Definitely worth a detour.
While away an hour or two in THE DINGLE BOOKSHOP, which includes more than 6,000 books, with a strong emphasis on Kerry, of course.
Step into THE CLONAKILTY BOOKSHOP in Clonakilty you could easily meet Louise O’Neill, Graham Norton or any of the many writers who call West Cork home. The calm interior will lower your heartbeat in seconds and guide you to the right read.
In Sligo, head for LIBER, an independent bookshop run by the Caliendo family who have owned the premises for almost 100 years. Find carefully curated new titles, a strong poetry selection, as one might expect in Yeats country, and lots of good books for children.
With its sunny yellow exterior and reading nook under the stairs, TERTULIA in Westport, Co Mayo, is a great place to spend time in the company of books, old vinyl and coffee. Proprietors Neil Paul and Bríd Conroy, who have their own Youtube books show, “Tertulia TV”, named the shop from an old Spanish word meaning a social forum and have made it a popular spot for book club events, literary launches and book signings.
Have you discovered any wonderful bookshops? We’d like to add them to THE GLOSS X Shopkeepers.com Best Shops list. See www.thegloss.ie/bestshops for more.