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Dublin: 14 °C Tuesday 4 August, 2015

17 Irish independent bookshops you must visit before you die

These shops are just as special as the books they sell.

BOOK LOVERS WILL know how it feels to enter a brilliantly stocked, cosy bookshop and feel immediately at home.

These days, independent bookshops are rare. There’s not many of them left, so they should be treasured.

Here, in no particular order, are 17 of the best and most beautiful independent bookshops on the island of Ireland.

1) Charlie Byrne’s, Galway

Our-location-wide Source: Charlie Byrne's

Probably the daddy of all Irish bookshops, Charlie Byrne’s has been supplying the people of Galway City with their reading material since 1989. Claiming to stock over 100,000 books, you’re bound to find something good in here.

2) The Book Centre, Waterford

1507654_612140802155995_459552313_n Source: Facebook/The Book Centre

Formerly a cinema, this beautiful building in Waterford city is now home to a larger-than-life bookshop. Choose a tome and curl up with a hot drink in the store’s gorgeous coffee shop.

3) Vibes and Scribes, Cork

563601_552266198134696_784427781_n Source: Facebook/Vibes and Scribes

Owned by Joan Lucey, Vibes and Scribes is the place to go for second-hand and bargain books in Cork. The shop also holds free book groups and craft demonstrations in its separate arts and crafts department.

4) Chapters, Dublin

chapters_bookstore_dublin_in Source: Wikipronto

The self-proclaimed largest independent bookstore in Ireland, you could definitely get lost in Chapters. The cavernous shop has two floors bursting with new and second-hand books at amazing prices.

5) O’Mahony’s, Limerick

563442_472873906101089_857522130_n Source: Facebook/O'Mahony's Booksellers

One of the oldest bookshops on this list, O’Mahony’s was founded in 1902 by J.P. O’Mahony, grandfather of the current owner Frank O’Mahony. It has stayed in the same location on O’Connell Street since it opened over a century ago.

6) O’Donovan Bookshop, Skibbereen

bookshop_exterior02 Source: Skibbereen Bookshop

Sitting pretty on the main street of Skibbereen, Co Cork, this beautiful blue bookshop carries a wide range of books, stationery and art supplies.

7) The Gutter Bookshop, Dublin

30408_10150224198600002_8123552_n Source: Facebook/The Gutter Bookshop

A relative newbie on the scene, The Gutter Bookshop’s bright, airy store in Temple Bar is a firm favourite with Dubliners. Taking its name from an Oscar Wilde quote, The Gutter aims to provide something a bit different from the chain bookstores.

8) Crannóg Bookshop, Cavan

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Founded in 1996, the Crannóg Bookshop is run by husband-and-wife duo John McEvoy and Anne Connolly. The shop won the inaugural Bord Gais Energy Bookshop of the Year award in 2011 after 15 years in business, and continues to cater to Cavan’s literary needs today.

9) No Alibis, Belfast

1627999_12215854 Source: Geograph.ie

No Alibis is Northern Ireland’s only specialist crime bookstore, and probably the only one on the island of Ireland as a whole. The shop is decorated to match the content of the books it sells, with posters of crime fiction covers adorning the walls.

10) Dubray Books, Dublin

dubray Source: GraftonStreet.ie

Situated slap bang in the middle of Grafton Street, Dubray Books is an oasis of calm on the busy shopping thoroughfare. Well stocked with interesting staff recommendations, it’s hard not to stop in for a browse every time you pass by.

11) Bridge Street Books, Wicklow

1378804_10151640857886485_1286296506_n Source: Facebook/Bridge Street Books

This small, family-run bookshop has been serving the people of Wicklow town since 1999. Their altogether too-charming ‘mascot’ is a fairy called Blue, who lives behind a tiny blue door in the shop and recommends books for children.

12) The Company of Books, Dublin

31869_134750399871870_4417240_n Source: Facebook/The Company of Books

The Company of Books is a cosy bookshop nestled in the heart of Ranelagh. The shop prides itself on its ‘eclectic mix’ of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books, and hosts a book club every month.

13) The Big Bang, Dundrum Town Centre

317024_165819266828858_397179_n Source: Facebook/The Big Bang

The Big Bang is THE shop for lovers of ‘all things geek’, stocked with the best new comics and out of print rarities. There’s also a host of comic book merchandise and memorabilia to get your hands on. Psst – New Comic Book Day is every Wednesday.

14) The Clifden Bookshop, Galway

The-Clifden-Bookshop Source: Irish Book Awards

Run by the lovely (and brilliantly knowledgable) Nicole and Maire, The Clifden Bookshop places an emphasis on the local Connemara history and Irish literature. If you ever find yourself in the capital of Connemara, stop in.

15) The Winding Stair, Dublin

315771_10150280566543182_8232706_n Source: Facebook/Winding Stair Bookshop

One of the oldest independent bookshops in Dublin, The Winding Stair has been selling new, second-hand and unusual books for decades. It was revamped as a restaurant in 2006, but you can still potter around the shop on the ground floor.

16) Foyle Books, Derry

969405_763982560294777_886356027_n Source: Facebook/Foyle Books

This quaint shop located in the city’s Craft Village, and was home to a couple of Other Voices events when the music gathering made its way to Derry. It sells mainly second-hand and antiquarian books, which are stacked in a charmingly hodge-podge fashion around the store.

17) Whyte Books, Schull

Whyte-Books-exterior-776 Source: Whyte Books

This lovely bookshop in west Cork boasts excellent staff and excellent reads, as well as a little coffee and cake shop. Watch this short video and join us in wishing we were there already.

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