Take a look at some of the best and most beautiful bookshops in Dublin.
In our latest giveaway, we received a ton of recommendations for independent bookshops that offers a more unique experience when it comes to buying books. We'll put together an international list soon, but meanwhile here are a few of our own favourite places to visit in Dublin:
One of the most popular independent bookshops in Dublin is The Winding Stair Bookshop. Located just across the iconic Ha'Penny Bridge, this charming bookstore has become a staple of the literary community in Dublin. Although the space is not big, it carries a carefully curated selection of books that includes both new releases and old classics. There is a shelf in the back for secondhand books and a section for children.
When Chapters, Ireland's largest independent bookstore, announced that they would be closing in early 2022, there was a public outcry that led to its re-opening shortly after. And no wonder! This bookstore is beloved by visitors and locals alike for its massive collection of books, including a whole upstairs floor for secondhand volumes.
This bookstore has two locations, one in Temple Bar and another in Dalkey. The Gutter Bookshop specializes in contemporary fiction, with a particular focus on Irish authors. The store has a great section for children and young adults, as well as bookish gifts and stationary, making it a perfect destination for book lovers of all ages.
The Secret Book and Record Store is another hidden gem in Dublin's independent bookshop scene. This store is located in the basement of an antiques store in Temple Bar and it's an excellent place to hunt for a good deal. They carry a wide selection of used books, records, and CDs.
A charming independent bookshop located on D'Olier Street near Trinity College. The store carries a wide range of books, including an impressive selection of translated works, and holds regular events and readings. Go here to discover books that you might not find in larger bookstore chains. There is a cafe hidden upstairs that serves delicious coffee and cakes, making it the perfect spot to enjoy your latest book purchase.
Behind a bright yellow storefront in the Liberties, you can find this small gem of a bookshop. The store's collection includes both new and secondhand books which covers a range of genres, including fiction, poetry, memoir, history, and philosophy. The friendly and well-informed staff is always happy to have a chat and provide reading suggestions.
The Company of Books is located in in heart of Ranelagh and has been shortlisted multiple times for best independent bookshop in Ireland. Praised for their friendly service, customers can enjoy an eclectic mix of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books. If you can't find the book you need, they will even order it for you!
With its collection of first editions, signed copies, and rare books, Ulysses Rare Books is must-visit for book lovers and collectors. They carry a large selection by Irish authors, as well as many classic children's books. Though some of the prices might stretch your budget, it is still worth the visit just the have a browse through the shelves and see what treasures you can find.
Hodges Figgis is Ireland's oldest bookshop and has been selling books since 1768. In fact, it's thought to be the third oldest bookshop in the world. Although it is no longer independent (it was bought by the UK bookseller chain Waterstones), it is still worth a mention for the beautiful storefront displays and the vast collection of books spanning multiple floors.
While technically not a bookshop anymore, Howbert & Mays is located in the former Greene's Bookshop on Clare Street. John Greene started it as a lending library in 1843 and catered to customers such as James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and Seamus Healy. It remained a bookshop up until 2007, but is now oasis of homeware, greenery and books covering two floors. Well worth a visit just to marvel at the beautiful architecture and elaborate staircase, and conveniently located near the National Gallery and Merrion Square.
Dig through haphazard piles of secondhand books and uncover hidden gems. Walk through the shop and out the back, and you'll find the wonderful Cake Cafe serving brunch dishes and sweet treats to anyone who manages to find their way there.
A family owned bookshop specialising in Irish interest titles, plus general fiction, kids' books and exam papers. There is a cozy cafe hidden at the back of the bookstore that serves both sweet and savoury options.
Other places and bookshops to visit
There are many other fantastic bookshops and places worth visiting in Ireland. While many do offer delivery and online shopping, we strongly recommend going in-person to experience the atmosphere and enjoy a few hours away from the screen.
- Charlie Byrne's Bookshop (Galway): Located in the heart of Galway city, Charlie Byrne's is a labyrinthine bookshop with a vast selection of new and second-hand books. An iconic store that you could get lost in for hours.
- The Book & Coffee Shop (Kilkenny): A gem in the heart of Kilkenny. Quality secondhand books at great prices, coffee and cakes, and a lovely atmosphere.
- The Book Centre (Waterford): A bookshop located in a converted cinema, with 4 floors of books and a coffee shop upstairs.
- Chester Beatty (Dublin Castle): Both a museum and library, Chester Beatty is home to a collection of ancient texts and religious manuscripts from all over the world. A gem for anyone interested in history and culture. On the ground floor you can find a gift shop stocked with stationary, books and gifts, and a cafe that serves hot dishes, cakes and beverages. If you want to treat yourself, there is even an option for afternoon tea.
- MoLi - Museum of Literature Ireland (Dublin): One of Dublin's newest museums, MoLi opened its doors in 2019. It features rotating exhibitions on Irish writers, events and workshops, as well as a private library for members. In the basement you can find a shop stocked with books and locally made gifts, and a cafe with a secluded garden.
Independent bookshops are more than just places to buy books. They are cultural hubs where people can come together to share their love of literature and engage in lively discussions about everything from the latest bestsellers to the classics of literature. Whether you're a local or a visitor to Ireland, be sure to check out some of the fantastic independent bookshops the country has to offer.
Enjoyed this article? Consider signing up here (it's totally free)! You'll receive our monthly newsletter with bookish news and latest shop updates, as well as 10% off your first order.