Some of the happiest places in the world are bookshops. I’ve spent large chunks of each of my pay package in some of my favourite book shops across the world. Forget Disney, bookshops are the happiest place in the world.
The Winding Stair, Dublin
Walking into The Winding Stair feels like walking into a shop in Diagon Alley. It’s small and cosy, and quite dimly lit which gives the impression of standing in Flourish and Blotts looking through the shelves.
The Winding Stair, which is on Dublin’s Ormond Quay and a very short walk from Jervis Shopping Centre, also has a restaurant upstairs, so you can head for some food after browsing the shop below.
Dubray, Dublin area
Dubray books is one of Ireland’s best independent book chains. There are branches across Dublin, in locations such as Grafton St, Stillorgan, Dun Laoghaire and Bray. The Grafton St store is a lovely and calm oasis from the busy shopping street outside, and I love wandering through the shop and losing hours there picking up some new tomes. It’s also played host to a number of book launches and author talks.
The Book Centre, Waterford
Of all book stores, The Book Centre is by far my favourite. It’s located in an old cinema building right in the centre of Waterford city, and sprawls three floors of books, book merchandise, and school supplies and stationery. There’s a café on the middle floor for a quick coffee while you browse, but the best part? You can just take a book off the shelf, find one of the vacant chairs dotted around, open up and start reading it right there and then.
Vibes and Scribes, Cork
Vibes and Scribes has found a new home on the quays, down near the Opera House. It’s a trove of both new and second hand books, and if you bring in some of your own pre-loved books, you can make back some more money to spend on more new books. Helping someone to expand their bookshelf while you do the same thing? Win win.
Chapters is one of the country’s biggest bookshops, and a mecca for book lovers who come to the capital. It’s the kind of place that seems to stretch on forever – there really does seem to be no end to the expanse when you’re standing at the front door. The upper floor holds a second hand book shop too, so you’ll never be stuck to find something to read – Chapters covers pretty much everything.
Wild Card: A bookshop I’d love to visit
The Strand bookshop, New York
The Strand is a little outside where I stayed when I went to New York 10 years ago, but if I’d known about it I would probably never have left. It’s got a total of 18 miles of bookshelf, so you can bet that’s enough to satisfy the appetite of even the fussiest readers. There’s a section with some rare books too that definitely needs to be checked out. (Also, it’s just a few streets away from the building used for the exterior shots in Friends. That certainly cinches a visit.)