Dublin is a UNESCO City of Literature and one of the top cities to visit if you are a book lover. Many great writers are associated with Dublin, most notably Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde and James Joyce and the city is rich in literary landmarks. For bookworms who want to surround themselves with the written word, here are some of the best bookshops in Dublin.
The 7 Best Bookshops in Dublin
Chapters on Parnell Street is a Dublin institution. Founded in 1983 it is Dublin’s largest independent bookstore. The shop is huge with floors and floors of books, graphic novels, music, stationery and a whole lot more. Staff are friendly and knowledgeable and go above and beyond to help you find what you are looking for. The secondhand book section is a treasure trove and you could easily spend hours here browsing the shelves. Time well spent we say!
The Gutter Bookshop opened up in 2009 in Cow’s Lane in Temple Bar and since then another branch has opened in the seaside village of Dalkey, in South Dublin. The shop takes its name from Oscar Wilde’s quote, ‘We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars’. The shop stocks new books and often holds events like readings and book clubs. There’s also a great selection of cute stationery and greeting cards.
Alan Hanna’s Bookshop in Rathmines has been in operation for over four decades. It is packed to the brim with all kinds of reading material with a specialisation in Irish literature and history. You’ll also find academic textbooks and books on art, travel, fiction, drama and more. To fuel your browsing there is a coffee shop inside selling delicious drinks and snacks. Book buying certainly does work up an appetite.
Located in the middle of busy Dublin city centre, The Winding Stair is a welcoming haven from the chaos of the streets. Warm and inviting, the bookshop is one of the oldest surviving independent bookshops in Dublin and it retains its old-world charm. As you peruse the bookcases you’ll discover an exciting range of fiction, including Irish authors, non-fiction and a brilliant children’s section. You can also stock up on literary magazines and beautiful cards, notebooks and tote bags.
Now part of the Waterstones family, Hodges Figgis was founded way back in 1768. It was mentioned in James Joyce’s novel Ulysses and its other claim to fame is that it is Ireland’s oldest bookshop. This large bookshop on Dawson Street is staffed by knowledgable book lovers who are only too happy to help you navigate the rows of shelves and tables piled high with books. The shop always has beautiful window displays highlighting some interesting reads.
In the vibrant village of Ranelagh, you’ll find The Company of Books, an independent bookshop selling an eclectic mix of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books. The beautiful space is well laid out but if you can’t find what you are looking for, the friendly staff will gladly help you search the shelves. The shop’s full catalogue has over 3,000 books and you can also purchase notebooks, diaries and boxed card sets.
Books Upstairs is Dublin’s oldest independent bookshop. It used to be located on College Green but is now housed in a beautiful Georgian building on D’Olier Street across from Trinity College. This literary venue not only sells new and used books but also has a cosy cafe. Grab a table and get lost in a good book whilst sipping good tea and coffee. There’s a great selection of children’s books as well as a wide range of literary and political journals.