Exploring Dublin: Bookshops

Whenever I travel there are three places I always try to visit: museums, bookshops and cafés. It’s a classic, my trinity of happiness. A few weeks ago I finally had the opportunity to travel to Dublin and Galway (West Ireland) and, how rare, these three things were marked on my map.

Even though a city is only well known when living for a time there, my trips usually are shorts and quite intense regarding visits (for lack of budget, not motivation), so I usually search for places off the beaten track to see on my time there. However, no matter where I go nor the small my suitcase were, I always visit the local bookshops, and end up buying something.

One of these magic places is The Winding Stair, an independent bookshop, café and restaurant situated in 39 Ormond Quay Lower, near the Ha’penny Bridge. The bookshop space is small but it has many titles to regret about not taking a bigger suitcase… it has a feeling of a typical old bookshop, with wood shelves, cosy space and chairs, one of those places where you feel at ease and want to spend hours and hours.

The Winding Stair
James Joyce

The Winding Stair takes its name from a poem by the Dubliner poet W.B. Yeats.

A little bit further from the city centre and in the other bank of River Liffey, in district Dublin 8, inside The Liberties, which is living a urban revitalisation, it’s located the bookshop Marrowbone Books (78 The Coombe, really close to Teeling whiskey distillery, where by the way there is a really nice painted wall in the alley). Opposite to The Winding Stair, Marrowbone Books is a second-handed bookshop that worths the visit. It’s quite small but has many good books at an excellent price; a feeling of an old bookshop emerges also from it, with some chairs and shelves completely filled, its yellow door won my heart.

Books books books
Marrowbone Books

Here I bought A portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce (how in the world was I going to leave Dublin without a book by its favourite author?) and The Meaning of Art, an essay by Herbert Read.

Last but not least, a very curious bookshop called The Secret Book and Record Store, which is indeed secret as it is quite hidden in a street near the Molly Malone sculpture (15A Wicklow St), so that I almost go past it without noticing. It’s at the end of a corridor with thousands of ads, from plays to concerts, classes… The inside is at least really curious.

The Secret Book and Record Store
The Secret Book and Record Store

That’s all for today about Dublin, a city that has so many things to offer.


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