Dec 5, 2017

Five of the Best: Independent Bookshops

Looking for a good read that is not on a required reading list? We've compiled a list of Dublin's finest independent bookshops.

Chloe TaitLiterature Editor
Benedict Shegog for The University Times

For many of us it’s difficult to remember the last time we read a book just for fun, but now that the end of term is creeping ever nearer, it’s definitely the right time to start thinking about the next book to add to your New Year’s reading list. Fill up your Christmas wishlist with wishful thinking, and books that you can read at your own pace. A welcome break from the expanse of literature required to be frantically consumed come the end of this college term.

The Gutter Bookshop, Cow’s Lane, Temple Bar

Winner of this year’s Independent Bookshop of the Year UK and Ireland at the British Book Awards, The Gutter Bookshop offers a great atmosphere in which to choose your next read. The actual layout of the shop is simple and inviting, and features books carefully chosen and recommended by the staff, offering titles not necessarily found on the shelves of commercial bookstores. The shop is very active within the Dublin community, hosting a large number of varied and regular book clubs, readings and launches. The staff are extremely knowledgeable, and the shop prides itself on being able to recommend the perfect book for you.

The Winding Stair, Lower Ormond Quay

The Winding Stair is one of the cosiest places in Dublin, with the perfect combination of an award-winning restaurant and an extensive bookshop. The shop holds a wide variety of new and secondhand books of all genres, along with magazines, zines and stationary. The shop is one of the oldest independent bookshops for a reason, if not for its warm atmosphere, then for the pleasant feeling of buying a book to go with your (delicious) lunch.


Chapters, Parnell St

If you’re on a mission for that one perfect book or looking for some of the best deals in Dublin, Chapters is the place to go. The selection of books is enormous without feeling overwhelming, with everything properly sectioned into genres making it easy to navigate. The shop always has great deals on new books and even better deals on secondhand books. A must visit for anyone interested in expanding their personal library.

Books Upstairs, D’Olier St

An often overlooked gem of a bookshop, located at the end of D’Olier St, this independent bookshop specialises in Irish literature, history and society. There is also a lovely cafe situated upstairs that is perfect for curling up with a good book (which you might have purchased downstairs beforehand). Whilst there you can hear the soft hum of the city moving by whilst enjoying a coffee, soup or sandwich.

The Secret Book and Record Store, Wicklow St

What I’ll say about The Secret Book and Record Store is that, if you’re looking for a specific book, you might be disappointed. The shop is best visited when you have time to explore what’s on offer and find a few, very reasonably priced, hidden gems. The shop itself almost feels like the house of an avid bibliophile, with books everywhere and taking up most of the shop floor, adding to the satisfaction of finding something you love amidst the thousands of titles on offer. The shop, as the name suggests, also has a fantastic music collection, and offers great deals on vinyl records too.

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