I had heard about Charlie Byrne’s for a long time but just never bothered to look for it. Until today.
I decided to go and check it out because my newly discovered book club is reading Atonement and I didn’t want to buy a new copy. I was hoping I would find a second hand one at Charlie Byrne’s.
I found a little more than I bargained for. It is a beautiful place. It is a difficult place to describe. There are times and places in which Galway seems like a throwback to the nineteenth century. Charlie Byrne’s epitomises that side of the city. It is really very quaint. A book lover’s paradise. A place that I am sure is going to drain me of the little money I have.
When you walk in, you are stunned by the old school decor and the books that are literally falling off shelves. Ireland as a whole feels cramped for space, but this little bookshop takes it to another level. There are rows and rows, tables, stacks on the floor, stacks on shelves, and even books that almost appear as though they are suspended from the ceiling.
It is very definitely what a book shop should be. Don’t get me wrong, I like the well ordered, neat, sterile, more commercial places. I spend a lot of time in Easons and Dubrays. They are great, but they don’t have the magic of an independent, small time outfit.
I can see why it is such a popular place. If you are ever in Galway city, you need to check out Charlie Byrne’s. The only issue I have with them is that the section on African books (history, literature, biographies and current affairs) is dismal and extremely disappointing. That is a real shame considering Galway’s growing African community. Hopefully they will improve in that department.
Other than that, it’s a fantastic place. And no, I’m not being paid to endorse them – but that might not be such a bad idea…
Today is St Patrick’s Day in Ireland. It’s a big deal and people take it really seriously. My wife and I watched the parade in Galway and had an absolute blast! I can’t wait for next year’s.
The photos are of my wife having a shamrock painted on her, a flame thrower, and a celtic dancer. I took all of them. Pretty cool day so far. Off to the local pub now (with my camera) to check out what St Paddy’s eve is like.
The Graveyard of Ambition. What a poetic name! I’m not surprised though, everything about Galway, my new home, is poetic. I could try and explain why it’s such an apt name, but Will Sullivan did a much better job than I could (click on link to read his article).
I can’t afford to have this place be any sort of graveyard as far as I’m concerned. I cannot have my dreams fizzle and be replaced with by some sad state of acceptance. I just can’t have all the sacrifices I’ve made come to nothing.
No, Galway is going to be the place of my rebirth. One day I’ll tell people that it was in this so called graveyard that my dreams came to life. In Galway I’m going to write the first of my articles that gets published by a newspaper – and it will be followed by many more. I’m going to develop my writing here. I’m going to learn how to build clean, sharp, professional web sites. I’m going to conquer my fear of ridicule and my addiction to approval. I’m going to start up my web business and do great things. And I’ve already begun!
It has been about 2 weeks since I started this blog, and although it isn’t the busiest place on the web, I’m grateful to those few people who have begun to drop in regularly. Although it’s still difficult to say exactly what type of blog this is, I know it will take shape and a community will grow around it. And although I’m doing better here than I am on my other fronts, I’m not discouraged. Actually, even if my success on this blog is modest, it motivates me to keep at it on all my other fronts (freelancing, learning web design, photography and ecommerce).
Galway was also at one stage Europe’s fastest growing city. Hopefully, a little of that will flow my way.