Saturday, June 6. 2009
I spent most of the last two weeks of May in County Cork visiting my Auntie and Uncle in Kilbrittain along with my Mum and another Auntie. Aside from the family get together one of the main purposes of once of my holidays is the acquisition of books - ideally volumes published in Ireland, related to Ireland or cheap in that order. After arranging a day in Cork City I then began to search online for the best bookshops in order to plan a walking route, though the best information I could find was a few rather sparse looking city guides and an 18 month old discussion thread. Google was also somewhat confused by the subtle distinction between Cork the city and Cork the county with the entertaining side effect that my walking route would suddenly get 80km longer as I innocently added another search result. I eventually came up with a route which I now share with you (slightly modified from the route I took, since now I have some bags with actual addresses and street numbers, see below for an updated route with defunct bookshops removed).
Vibes and Scribes
3 Bridge Street
+353 (0) 21 450 5370
I was dropped off in the Merchants Quay Shopping Centre and then headed over the bridge to my starting destination, Vibes & Scribes. This is something of a treasure trove of bargain and second hand books along with a selection of popular new books and I spent a good deal of time digging around. In the end I bought three books:
Paul Street Shopping Centre
+353 (0) 21 4222224
Other Realms is a Fantasy and Sci-Fi shop, along the lines of Forbidden Planet, rather than a straight bookshop. There were a large selection of US import books, including some by Irish authors. They also had several 'author guide' sheets attached to the shelves which listed the different series by the author and the order they go in which I thought were really useful (I like to begin at the start!). No cheap or bargain books, and, though I was tempted by the complete set of Discworld books in US covers, I didn't buy anything.
Rory Gallagher Pl
off Paul Street
+353 (0) 21 427 5366
Connolly's is a second hand bookshop and features books of all vintages piled floor to ceiling on shelves and any other spare, flat area. I could have spent a long time in here but instead concentrated on the Irish Interest section, and bought one book:
69 Patrick Street
+353 (0) 21 427 6522
A fairly typical Waterstone's, lots of three for two offers and a large section of Irish/local interest books. Since most of what was available I could get at any Waterstone's in London I just bought the one book:
71 Oliver Plunkett Street
+353 (0) 21 427 0899
A small second hand bookshop, also sold second hand CDs, tapes and records. Not the same variety as Connolly's, I didn't buy anything.
Liam Ruiseal Teo
49-50 Oliver Plunkett Street
+353 (0) 21 427 0981
Saving the best till last, Liam Ruiseal Teo has new and bargain books, academic titles and a wall full of Irish interest books including several shelves of books in Irish (not that they were any good to me, of course). I spent a lot of time browsing around and ended up buying three books:
If you're visiting Cork in the near future (and it's well worth a day out) here's my updated bookshop walking route. I didn't have time to make it to the last one on my list, Shelf on Georges Quay, but I'd spent too much money by then anyway! Since I didn't get started until nearly midday I shouldn't think you'd have to hurry to fit it all in if you got started a bit earlier. If you know of any other good bookshops in Cork then please post a comment and I can check it out the next time I'm over.
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