The Best Independent Bookstores in Limerick, Ireland

Photo of James Hendicott
3 November 2017

Get bookish in Limerick, as you explore their specialist, local-loving independent bookstores. The salesman in these places know their stuff: you’ll drift around the stacks on an endless enthralling browse, or be handed the perfect gift on a plate as you describe your tome of choice in amongst the reams. There’s a refreshing – if not total – lack of chains in this western Irish city, which makes for a pleasant shopping experience and some unusual buying options. Here are our favourite indie bookstores in Limerick.

O'Mahony's Booksellers

O'Mahony's booksellers get behind local rugby team Munster
O'Mahony's booksellers get behind local rugby team Munster | © Paul O'Mahony/ Flickr
The biggest of Limerick’s independent bookstores, O’Mahony’s is a high street institution in the city, and certainly the store you’re most likely to stumble upon on central O’Connell Street. Its style is a bit of a catchall, ranging from novels via an absolute heap of knowledgeable staff recommendations, as well as plenty of texts exploring the history of the area, and how to dig into any Irish roots you might have. You could almost get lost amongst the shelves here, but the staff’s willingness to go above and beyond to help you find what you’re after (or order it in) is what most customers rave about.

Quay Books

It might be tucked away in one of Limerick’s biggest shopping centres, but despite the commercial location, Quay Books is still a little bit of a hidden gem, often bypassed by less-knowledgeable visitors. A tiny store filled with imaginatively curated texts, they take a boutique approach at reasonable prices and are particularly great at grabbing last season’s fashionable hardbacks and selling them for a comparative pittance. You can check their latest stock and explore their love of the written word via their Facebook page – expect to be having a thorough rummage through enthralling stock when you arrive.

Crescent Book Store

A historic drawing of King John's Castle, Limerick, taken from an Irish history text
A historic drawing of King John's Castle, Limerick, taken from an Irish history text | © The British Library/ Flickr
Initially set up as a specialist in rare and second hands books, Crescent – located in a suburban shopping centre – has become a little more straightforward in its tastes in recent years, leaning towards practical educational material and mainstream novels. With long opening hours, regular book signings with local and international authors, a love of children’s texts and really knowledgeable staff, it’s very much worth exploring if you’re heading to the south side of the city.

The Celtic Book Shop

An absolute treasure-trove of Irish-themed writing located next to the informative Hunt Museum, the Celtic Book Shop is packed to the rafters with local journals and history books, ranging from the Revolution to the origin of old coins. A must-see for anyone with niche Irish interests, as you’ll find books that simply don’t show up in ordinary stock (some of them clearly decades old). Check their website for a rundown of some of the rarer history books they have on offer.

Castle Antiques

Naturally, Castle Antiques is a little bit of a pot-luck location when it comes to picking up books: they stock pretty much anything old and classy, in book-form or otherwise. In a beautiful location close to the Shannon River and King John’s Castle, it’s also next door to the fantastic ‘faux castle’ of the Toll House, and an enticing spot to explore. This is the kind of place you’ll want to dig through, and the ideal spot to pick up an unusual souvenir.

Castle Street, King’s Island, Limerick, Ireland. +353 61410535

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