There is something magical about independent bookshops, and the staff who know and care about recommending the perfect read

West Coast Rare Books, Westport

Full of personality and passion for supporting storytellers, we’re so lucky to have a wealth of exciting book shops all over the country. Independent bookshops are a haven for booklovers, and there is nothing quite as restful and heartwarming as browsing the shelves until you find the book you can’t leave without. If reading has been your escape these past few months, then take note of these brilliant bookshops. Follow them online for excellent recommendations, and if you can pop by, treat yourself to a new book.

No Alibis, Belfast

This independent bookstore on Belfast’s Botanic Avenue is usually a go-to space for poetry readings and book launches. While those events are on hold due to the pandemic, this colourful little shop is well worth meandering through. Specialising in crime books, you will also find brilliant new releases and the best ini Irish writing.

While the shop is usually a delightfully curated clutter of books waiting to be discovered, but due to the pandemic the interiors have been update to create a more socially distanced open space, with Perspex screens between customers and staff.

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Tertulia Books, Westport

Describing itself ‘as a book shop like no other’, Tertulia is run by Neil Paul and Brid Conroy, who are both fascinated by books. Tertulia is a spanish word for a circle of people who meet regularly to discuss literature, art and what’s happening in the world, and Neil and Brid envisage Tertulia as a space to reach out to people over coffee and chats about books.

You can also shop their extensive collection online, with everything from children’s books, history, Irish fiction, local books and a category simply called Neil’s favourites.

Books Upstairs, Dublin

Located on D’Olier Street in Dublin, Books Upstairs is a charming space with an excellent café. Their thoughtfully curated offering includes new releases, essayists and an excellent poetry and history selection.

During lockdown they started creating bundles which were wildly popular with customers, and they are set to continue this lovely idea.

Kenny’s Bookshop, Galway

This independent bookshop and online store is known nationwide for it’s excellent selection of new, secondhand and rare books, and it also offers free delivery in Ireland.

With decades of experience, as well as being oup to date on the latest and greatest in new Irish writing, your only challenge will be deciding what not to buy.

Vibes and Scribes, Cork

With a huge selection of second-hand books, as well as niche interest titles in art, architecture, design, gardening and erotica, Vibes and Scribes is a book shop to lose yourself in.

Known for initiaitves like book clubs for teens, adults and bargain hunters, as well as a variety of readings, this is a lovely shop for biblipophiles. You will also find a range of crafts and textiles on sale too.

Updated: Readers’ favourite bookshops

We asked you if there were other bookshops that deserved to be on this list. Here are some that you love around the country:

Bridge Street Books, Wicklow

Known for the friendly welcome when you walk in the door, Bridge Street Books is run by mother and daughter Hilary and Joanna Hamilton. With an excellent knowledge of books and lots of recommendations for younger readers, this is a firm favourite in the local community.

The Book and Coffee Shop, Kilkenny

Stocking rare second hand books, gourmet treats and locally roasted coffee, this shop is a bookworm’s haven.

Dingle Bookshop

The westernmost bookshop in Europe, Dingle Bookshop is small but well curated. They are great celebrants of Irish writing talent.

Book Centre Waterford

The Book Centre in Waterford is a spacious bookshop you can browse to your heart’s content, with a café and lots of gift ideas in store too.

O’Mahony’s, Limerick

With shops now also in Ennis and Tralee, this family-run bookshop is a space for booklovers to discover great new releases as well as brilliant local writing.

Fitz Gerald’s Bookshop, Macroom

Jackie Fitz-Gerald bought Macroom Bookshop from its previous owner before reopening the shop in a new disability freindly space in 2008. Parents will appreciate the thoughtful section dedicated to young ‘reluctant’ readers, to encourage those with reading challenges to fall in love with books. There is also a wool section for knitters and space to enjoy a coffee too.

Halfway up the Stairs, Greystones

This children’s bookshop in Greystones, Co Wicklow is a fun space for younger readers. As well as bestsellers, there are also interesting and diverse books for children and teens to discover.