|Hodges Figgis on Dawson Street|
Browsing through bookshelves to find new gems has brought me to bookstores wherever I go. A recent escape to Dublin provided my latest treasure hunt. Over five days, I visited several familiar shops, as well as a few that were new to me. My adventures blended research for a new story with a wonderful sightseeing tour.
From Kildare Street I turned down Dawson Street. Once upon a time, Eason, Waterstone’s, and Hodges Figgis were there in a neat little triangle. Now only Hodges Figgis, one of Dublin’s oldest bookstores (est. 1768) remains. After exploring their famous bargain basement without success, I went upstairs and found a new history of the Battle of Clontarf and a couple of poetry books.
|The Tara Brooch|
|Monterey Cypress in Phoenix Park|
|Phoenix Park Visitor Centre|
|Gate to the U.S. Ambassador's Residence|
|Áras an Uachtaráin|
On my way back to the hotel, I visited the small but fabulous Books Upstairs, opposite the entrance to Trinity College. This bookshop has one of the best selections of poetry I’ve seen on either side of the Atlantic, and the owner said she prides herself in keeping her stock up-to-date. Good for me! I added four books of contemporary poetry to my rapidly growing hoard.
On Wicklow Street, I hunted down the Secret Book and Record Store, hidden in a little mall and well worth seeking out. It’s stocked with tons of previously owned books, scattered on tables and shelves all over the place. A browser’s dream, it would have required more time than I had that day. I planned to return before I left town, but the agenda didn’t allow it. Next trip for sure!
|Interior of Kilmainham Gaol|
I’ll say nothing about the silly Leprechaun Museum on Jervis Street, except that I took the tour.
One of my best discoveries was Chapters, a fantastic bookstore at the Ivy Exchange on Parnell Street. So many books, so little time. I found an amazing account of the history of Ireland’s coinage, along with a few other treats. By now, I had started to worry that my new acquisitions wouldn’t fit in my suitcase, which I’d underpacked to leave room for books and Lyons tea. I’ve mailed books home from Ireland more than once, but I wouldn’t get to the post office before Monday morning. I decided I could throw my clothes away if necessary.
Saturday’s tour involved a train ride on the DART to Malahide, a delightful seaside community north of Dublin. I paid a return visit to Manor Books on Church Road, preceded by a first-time visit to Village Books on Townyard Lane. Both shops left my backpack heavier, and I would have loved having tea in the village. However, that agenda of mine put me back on the train, this time to Howth, another seaside village, one I’ve blogged about often.
A chilly October day near the sea made me glad I’d brought my gloves and earmuffs. A small building on the main road sported a Book Sale sign, but the tables had been picked over pretty well. I headed to the old Abbey Tavern for lunch and a magical turf fire that warmed me up nicely. From the DART station back in Dublin, I strolled through the Merrion Square area and found a bookstore near Stephen’s Green that wasn’t on my list. It’s called either Robert’s Wholesale Books, or Books Books Books. It looked like a store that won’t be there the next time I visit, but I found a few goodies.
I’d walked a minimum of five miles each day. Rambling all over town was no hardship, and I’d really lucked out with the weather. Sunday morning, I returned to Temple Bar and checked out the open air book sale run on weekends. Then I explored the "new" end of Temple Bar, stopping by The Gutter Bookshop on Cow’s Lane and coming away with a two new books. A few more joined them after a stop at the Oxfam Ireland Bookstore on Parliament Street, a neat little place for secondhand books. On I went to see Fishamble Street, where part of the opening chapter of my new story takes place. From there I strolled to Lord Edward Street, over to Dame Street, and back through the City Centre, enjoying my last full day in Dublin.