Looking for something good to read? Check out our guide to the best bookshops in Galway city.
#1 Charlie Byrne’s, The Cornstore, Middle Street
Illustration credit: Shona Shirley MacDonald
Charlie Byrne’s is a treasure trove for bibliophiles and bargain hunters (aka Swuite STUDENTS!), with titles on a vast selection of subjects. Charlie started out as a bookseller in 1989 when he sold antique books from a market stall in Galway. He then went on to lease a small shop unit (where sometimes the local seagulls would even drop in to peruse a book and summon passers-by to pop in for an aul browse!) Alas, soon there was no room to even swing a cat (especially the well-known curious cat with a penchant for Penguin books, that lived next door).
Charlies expanded over the years and after several moves settled in Middle St. In 1996 they ventured over a new and exciting threshold, to a world inhabiting works on local Galway characters, endeavouring to preserve their spirit, celebrate what it means to be a Galwegian and welcome the blow-ins from other counties and further a-field. Charlie Byrne’s is not just a bookshop – it’s a hub for the people of Galway to meet and have a catch-up, discuss new book titles and curate book launches & live music events.
#2 Bell, Book & Candle, Small Crane, Sea Road
It’s the bookstore that we’re talking about (and not the 1950s romcom featuring Kim Novak who plays a kooky witch, casting spells on Jimmy Stewart!) This unassuming gem is within walking distance for Swuite Students in Galway city is behind the Crane bar also sells records, and really supports Irish artists, labels and collectives. They’re essentially a second-hand shop; they also supply comic books and old Hi-8 and super-8 video cameras, and they support local bands and record labels. A lot of the records, CDs, DVDs and books have never been reprinted or reissued, so you might find some collectors’ items in there if you’re lucky! Pop in during your lunch break between lectures to see for yourself. Who knows, Paul might let ya have a spin in this beauty!
Check out this interview with the owner, Paul Deacy.
#3 Kenny’s Bookshop and Art Gallery, Liosban Business Park, Tuam Rd
Kenny’s is just a hop, skip and a jump away from Swuite Galway, over on the Tuam Road. They specialize in antiquarian books, and they have an online shop over on https://www.kennys.ie/. They have over 1 million new, second-hand and rare books available on the site, and they offer free delivery worldwide on all the orders. There is a huge variety of genres to choose from, and they have thousands of titles for €5 or less.
Kenny’s provide a personal customer service from their bookshop. They also have a book club and blog (which features diary entries and staff recommendations).
Watch this video of Mike McCormack at Kenny’s, reading from his award-winning Solar Bones.
#4 Dubray Books, 4 Shop Street
Dubray Books prides themselves in stocking specialty books. They’re a family run business, if you pop into the Shop St. branch in Galway for a browse you’ll be greeted by their friendly and knowledgeable booksellers, there are staff recommendation notes below some of the book titles, and they regularly host book launches. They sell a wide variety of books and should cater for your needs. If they don’t have what you’re looking for they will take your name and number and order in the book for you, and when it comes in they will notify you of the collection time. In store you can register your Dubray Card.
Also, details for Dubray Books’ book club can be found over on https://www.dubraybooks.ie/bookclub.
#5 Book Exchange, 23 Abbeygate Street Lower
This shop is around the corner from the back entrance of Eyre Square Shopping Centre, on Lower Abbeygate St. If you pop in for a browse you’ll meet the wonderful kooky (or cookey!) Helen Cooke, the owner of Book Exchange. Helen is very well-read and knows a lot of the local authors and publishers in Galway and the west of Ireland. Downstairs you will find some quirky vintage books, as well as old law books, encyclopaedias and travel books. Worth a browse next time you are looking to take a wander from Swuite Bohermore this should be on your book list!
Facebook page: @thebookexchangegalway
So, there you have it! If you have any book recommendations or suggestions for Swuite Students arranging to meet up at one of the book clubs in Galway (or any literature-related events), drop into reception. We can also post the literature events on Facebook. Please like our Facebook to see more updates on events and discount offers! Happy reading 😊