Second-hand bookshops: my latest discovery

By Lisa Marie Griffith

Like most of our readers I imagine, I love second-hand bookshops especially ones where you are guaranteed a good find and a bargain. I came across a fantastic second-hand bookshop recently while in Midleton, Co. Cork visiting family. It is a particularly well-stocked St Vincent de Paul book shop just off the main street in Midleton on Connolly Street and you can find a map here. Every book is 1 euro with the exception of children’s books which are 50 ce. That said I walked away with so many books the very friendly shopkeeper gave me the book I had purchased for my three-year-old niece for free! Apart from a mermaid book for her, I picked up 3 John Le Carre books (I am becoming a bit obsessed), Diarmaid MacCulloch’s, Reformation: Europe’s House Divided, Sebastian Faulk’s, Birdsong, Ed Moloney’s A Secret History of the IRA and John MacGahern’s, That they May Face the Rising Sun. They have a good selection of history books (particularly for a charity shop) and shelves of good fiction. Some more books to stuff on to my already packed bookshelves!

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15 Responses to “Second-hand bookshops: my latest discovery”

  1. Ciara Says:

    Cork is great for good second-hand book shops. Although prices aren’t as low as your find, there are always bargains to be found at Vibes & Scribes on Bridge Street and The Bookshop at Rory Gallagher Square, both in Cork City. Very friendly staff too.

  2. puesoccurrences Says:

    Thanks for the tip Ciara. The secret book and record shop is one of my favourite secon- hand bookshops in Dublin but it has a new rival I think… The Loft bookshop at the Twisted Pepper mixes both new and second-hand books on their shelves. I love that idea! Its pretty as well…


  3. David Toms Says:

    The Loft is a fantastic place, not least due to the fact that Rob who runs it is a lovely chap – The Winding Stair is a nice bookshop too, and I know of one man who got a book printed in 1533 there for the princely sum of €10 – it was some class of a religious treatise and they patently hadn’t a notion of its value!

  4. puesoccurrences Says:

    Wow! That would be a nice find… maybe i haven’t been doing enough scavanging through the stalls! There used ot be a great book shop on the Quays in Waterrford which I think is gone now. I picked up a few great books on early modern Ireland and print culture pretty cheaply. It seemed to value all of it’s twentieth century history books (specifically those on WWI and WWII) but not much before that.


  5. David Toms Says:

    I know the place you mean – it’s recently been replaced by a small cafe which carries some 2nd hand books but not much… Gladstone’s bookshop used to be around the corner from it too! A great bookshop for history in Cork is Solidarity Books, they have many great titles from Four Courts, the UCD historical texts series all for about ,€5 –

  6. puesoccurrences Says:

    To add to the list, don’t forget Galway, where Charlie Byrne’s mix of new and old books at reasonable prices swallows an hour or two of my time every time I’m in the city. Great spot.

    Then there’s the tiny places, like the weekend book sale in the old hall near the train station in Howth, or there’s one I know on the main street in Youghal (just before the arch, in case anyone knows it) that has the obligatory table of yellowing paperbacks out front. The beauty of those shops is that they’re so hit and miss. You never know what you’re going to get, but ten minutes could find a gem.

    As for the secret bookstore, I must admit I’ve never stopped to have a look. Any time I’ve ever gone in, it’s been to head to Freebird records down the back (great selection of vinyl in particular), but I must stop en route the next time!


  7. Felix Larkin Says:

    That bookshop in Youghal is indeed fantastic. I regularly visit Youghal, and never fail to find something in it to add to my overflowing bookshelves. A most eclectic mix of stuff on offer, but good history and biography sections.The name of the shop, and presumably the name also of the friendly bookseller, is Alan Prim.

  8. Tina Says:

    Belfast also has a great selection of used and independent bookshops if you ever find yourself up north. No Alibis ( and Bookfinders on University Road are particularly worth a look in!

  9. Scoláire Staire Says:

    Also if you find yourself in the north west, Foyle Books in Derry is a great second hand bookshop. It has a great history section as well as plenty of titles on Irish poetry, literature, politics etc. If you ever find yourself really really up north, check out The Bookshop in Carndonagh, Co. Donegal. It can be a bit pricey but they have some really rare stuff in there. Check out there stock here


  10. Budapestkick Says:

    My God. I’ve been living in Midleton for twenty years and didn’t even realise the place existed! Thanks for the tip.

  11. Marie Coleman Says:

    In Belfast go further down Botanic Avenue from No Alibis and check out the Oxfam bookshop and War on Want.

  12. Why do we love books so much anyway? « Pue's Occurrences Says:

    […] we’ve all had our moments on Pue’s to extol the virtues of the printed word: a spring-clean, a penchant for second-hand books, and a re-discovery of those long forgotten. But trawling through my own rag-tag collection set me […]

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  15. roger grimes Says:

    Have you found Vanessa Parker Rare books at some antiques fairs like the RDS or Limerick or been to her shop the old thatch in Mulranny Mayo, it is fantastic with a very large range some of the books are pricey but rare she also has secondhand paperbacks & books for 1euro etc & her partner has real antiques and old prints if you catch him right he makes tea or coffee free they have a website

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