Charlie Byrne’s: Bookshop of the Year

IMG_20130105_154657It’s great that the Irish Times has recognised Charlie Byrne’s bookshop as the Bookshop of the Year. With its excellent selection of new and used books, covering history, literature, politics, art and many other topics, Charlie’s is haunted by NUI Galway historians. The reader-friendly layout and the knowledgeable staff are of great assistance to the browser.

But if Galway is now well provided with bookshops, it wasn’t always so. Henry Inglis, who visited in 1834, complained as follows:

‘Literature is at a low ebb in Galway. No regular bookshop is to be found… there are shops indeed where books may be ordered and where some books may be purchased; but the demand is not sufficient to support a shop which sells books solely. I need scarcely say that the town contains no public or circulating library, and I could not learn that in the town, or its neighbourhood, any private book society existed.’

The novelist William Thackeray, who passed through in 1842, commented:

‘A man who sells hunting whips, gunpowder, guns, fishing tackle, and brass and iron-ware, has a few books on his counter, and a lady in a by-street, who carries on the profession of a milliner ekes out her stock in a similar way, but there were no regular book-shops that I saw…’

 – John Cunningham

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: