Dublin has an important tradition with writers; while some Irish writers may not have been born in the city, they invariably ended up there. There were a few exceptions such as Oscar Wilde, James Joyce and Samuel Beckett but they all had their own reasons for leaving! It's an excellent place for bookshops, and bargains may be found for the discerning buyer.
Kennys bookshop [www.kennys.ie] in Galway used to be a super bookshop but for various reasons, they are now web only. They hold a fine stock of Irish books, rare books and art.
A visit to the childhood home of George Bernard Shaw at 33 Synge Street [see map, M 55 between Grantham St and Harrington St] was recently recommended by the Irish Times. Shaw, famous for such books as Pygmalion [ = My Fair Lady] was also friendly with James Connolly and other republican figures (several of the Irish Protestant ascendancy took an active role in Republican matters). The Shaws lived here from 1852 and the house has been restored. Synge Street is also noted for a famous Dublin secondary school where Irish business, broadcasting and other personalities were educated.
While there is a branch of Waterstones in Dawson Street, and there are other mainstream booksellers, the interesting bookshops specialise in second-hand and remaindered books. The long-established Hodges Figgis is around the corner at 56-58 Dawson Street, Dublin 2 and contains an informed selection of books, particularly those on Irish topics. Yet another unusual bookshop on Dawson Street is Murder Ink, specialising in US crime fiction, reprints of classic authors of that ilk, and featuring fresh new writers.Before you walk to Chapters (directions below), you must visit the charming Books Upstairs at 36 College Green, between Trinity College and the Ulster Bank. They have an eclectic collection of new books and it is worth the visit, just to experience the quirky and charming arrangement of the "upstairs". Their staff are most helpful and will order something if it is not on the shelves. Sincere thanks to Fiona Fitzgerald for those updates.
The largest selection of second-hand books is probably available at Chapters, 108/109 Mid. Abbey Street [see map O 47] (Tel: 8723297, 8720773, 8783024). Prices are good although much of the stock tends to be remainder stock. Chapters have a megastore on Parnell Street - Fiona says "the owner welcomes enquiries if you can't find the book you really came in for. I've never left there with less than three! Very handy when you're a student, they exchange books and have a broad range". While you're walking that direction, you could browse at the recently opened Hugh Lane Gallery's bookshop at Parnell Square north.
The Winding Stair Bookshop, 40 Lower Ormond Quay (Tel: 8733292) has both new and second-hand stock and is worth a visit, especially if you are in the vicinity of the boardwalk. Even if you don't buy a book, they have a very good restaurant according to Fiona.
Near: O'Connell Bridge