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Location: Dublin, Republic of, Ireland

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

More bookshops in Dublin

I'm reading Frank O'Connor's selection of classic Irish short stories. The thick book spots a shiny cover with its nostalgic picture of wagons and horses, and its soft full weight rests quietly in my hands, even as I intently browse through the lyrical folk tales of ramshackle farms and taverns.

At 12 euros, it proved a handsome find.

I had picked it up at Hodges Figgis on Dawson Street; it is Ireland's biggest bookstore situated on the south-side of the river, and just opposite another splendid Waterstone's branch. They lie, bestowed with a friendly rivalry on a quiet road, that's peppered with quaint, interesting cafes and designer boutiques. You'll find Trinity College at the top of it all.

What an engaging time, I had.

A bookshop on a street differs from a bookshop in a shopping mall, to me. It conjures up pleasurable secrets like a towering house, full of mysteries. You could hide behind a shelf or in a corner and never be found. You know you're behind doors that have no openings leading into other noisy plances. Besides, Eason's (and there's another branch here as well), Hodges Figgis is huge (think a cluttered but hushed art gallery) and I haven't yet had time to explore it all.

But the ground floor, houses one of the most extensive displays of classical stories and odes, I've seen anywhere in the world. Shelves with nothing but Green literature, another decked only with ancient dramas from Rome, if you get my drift. Irish literature is famed and vast and many of its famed storytellers, take prominent pride of place, near the front door.
I'm (not talking about the basement which houses bargain books - a novel or poetry-book going for just 2 or 3 euros or the different displays on the top floors).

The silent reverence amongst the inspecting audience is always remarkable. The cosy welcoming intimacy made me want to hover about all day but I'll have to be back for more.
Customer service is excellent here and at Waterstone's.

Waterson's across the road exhibits a stylish cafe on the balcony. Perfect for eleveses, lunches and traditional afternoon teas. It attracts a good quiet crowd and the service is glorious. Here is where I finished my morning with a slice of cake and a delicious hot chocolate mixed with indian spice.

I also had a peek at Reads, on an adjacent road. It's a bargain bookshop announcing generous discounts even for new novels; plus its famous for its large assortment of quirky book ornaments.

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