Hidden Dublin: Bookshops 1 2 3

If you are a James Joyce fan, you must try to visit Dublin on the 16 June this year. This is Bloomsday, celebrating Leopold Bloom's pilgrimage through the streets of Dublin as described in Joyce's Ulysses. It is over 100 years since the book was set on 16 June, 1904. The National Library have Joyce's Ullyses manuscripts and there are dedicated contemporary art exhibitions at the Irish Museum of Modern Art and at the Royal Hibernian Academy. The traditional Bloomsday processions will take place on the 16th - you'll probably see colourfully-dressed characters drifting through the city centre! NEW

Book tax

Tourists wishing to reclaim Irish sales tax [Value Added Tax or VAT] should note that it is not charged on new books. I'm not sure whether antiquarian books are classified as 'antiques' and therefore qualify for VAT.


Most booksellers whether new or second-hand, encourage browsing. The large high-street chains such as Waterstones even devote space to this pleasurable activity!

Book fairs

You might be lucky enough to visit Dublin when a book fair is in progress. There are at least two large events each year; at the Mansion House on Dawson Street and in the Examination Hall of Trinity College. There is a wide selection of books available, mainly second-hand stock

Did you know?

The scientific community chose the name 'Quark' from a description in James Joyce according to Stephen Hawking in A brief history of time. Romain Guénard very kindly informed me that the source is "Three quarks for Muster Mark!", a line in Finnegans Wake [see The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language for a full explanation]. By coincidence, the 'Mark' referred to by Joyce is King Mark of the Tristan and Isolde legend. See here for a picture of Dublin's medieval Isolde's tower.

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