Week 5: Favourite Bookshops
Our Book Crawl takes place this week, leading you all to the best bookshops around the city centre. Don’t forget to bring your membership card to make use of our wonderful discounts! As an introduction, Sadbh Kellett takes on a journey through Dublin’s best bookstores.
Founded in 1768 (before MURICAW was an independent thing or people knew dinosaurs existed never mind were possibly giant puffballs), Hodges Figgis was located at 10 Skinners Row which sort of sounds like a street I expect Jack the Ripper to live on. Agreeing that Skinners Row sounded a bit shady, Hodges Figgis relocated to 56-58 Dawson Street so they could better serve bumbling students like mise. If you’re looking for books related to Ireland, HF have the largest stock of Irish-related books in the world whilst also stocking all your book lists. Essentially Flourish and Blotts, they have the most beautiful editions of classics and ridiculously friendly staff! Check out their 10-stamp deal too. For some reason, I always find myself inclined to whisper in Hodges Figgis; it’s a whispery place but also incredibly cosy. Interestingly, Hodges Figgis makes an appearance in James Joyce’s Ulysses so therefore it’s Dublin-Gold.
Dubray – Dublin – Bray… get it? Originally set up in Bray in Wicklow, the shop was so successful they could afford the ridiculous Grafton street rent competing against Mac and Victoria Secret to name a few. The family run business has extended all over Ireland and are popular for book signings and launches. Definitely worth the visit and I recommend keeping an ear open for whose visiting next!
The Secret Book and Record Store
A secret bookstore in a UNESCO city of literature?
Behold! There lies the X-marked spot. As difficult to find as Neville’s toad Trevor, this secret bookstore’s location shall be revealed on our bookcrawl on Wednesday. ooOOOOoooo. The Secret Book and Record Store is a cornucopia of second-hand books I once spent two hours tracking down with our treasurer Deirbhile back in our embarrassing Fresher days *smokes pipe and fixes monacle*, why, when I was your age kiddoz I had hardly a notion of what lay beyond Easons!
In competition with Hodges Figgis for best window display, Books Upstairs is Dublin’s independent literary hotspot with a gorgeous literary café. Specific tastes but a good place for writers interested in living out that author trope of writing in cute cafés.
The Winding Stair
They are aesthetic goals. Aspire to be the human form of The Winding Stair. The Winding Stair is the oldest independent bookshop in Dublin with both new and second-hand books on offer. They deal in the quirky, the unusual, poetry and claim to have a great children’s section. One can also find literary magazines, zines and fabulous stationery as well as offering tea, coffee and wine for those not interested in drinking the Liffey water across the road. Situated on Ormond Quay, the picturesque shop also has a connected restaurant next door, albeit pricey, but to die for. Oscar Wilde would approve.
Originally founded in 1819 as Johnston and Co. it is the leading bookstore in Ireland. According to their website, “it was in the heady days of Parnell and the Land League that Charles Eason and Son acquired the business from W.H. Smith in 1886.” Irishmen and Irishwomen, aside from their republican (Irish republican) inclinations, I recommend Easons for their Department 51. One of the rarities, (the fools, the fools, the fools!), Easons realise that the young people of today are reading more than ever and decided to cater towards them! *GASP* Towards *woman wailing* Millenials? *Violin string snaps* *The Earth implodes* With super merchandise, a massive YA and children’s section as well as comics and graphic novels galore, Easons is a haven for those interested in such genres and categories.
Easons also host Dept. Con (Ireland’s Bookcon) in October where world-renowned authors of YA and children’s literature, such as Patrick Ness, Sarah J. Maas and John Boyne do signings and Q&As. They also provide great platforms for new Irish authors in the field as well as having a good online presence. This is what Padraig Pearse died for.
Despite being so far away from college you age a year by the time you get there, no list of bookstores in Dublin is complete without dear old Chapters.
So big you lose phone signal precisely upon passing the classics section. Ireland’s largest independent bookstore seems a bit of an understatement – if you haven’t been there make sure to bring enough crumbs to create a trail to find your way out. Their stationery section will make you salivate and they have a fantastic upper-floor entirely dedicated to second-hand books. Believe it or not, Chapters was once located on Wicklow Street when set up in 1983 only to move to Parnell Street in 2006. Would recommend for their deals on gorgeous editions of classics and that pack of tarot cards I’ve been eyeing up for five years now.
“Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone,
It’s with O’Leary in the grave.”
R.I.P to the greatest bookstore in Ireland. The most painful death of the Recession, we will never forget you. Long live Borders of Blanchardstown; our love lives on. “Death ends a life, not a relationship.”