Tag Archives: swenys

Second Hand, First Class!

Although the city has lost many of its favourite, second-hand bookshops in recent years, it’s good to see that quite a few have sprung up to fill the gap. In these straitened times it’s great news that readers can buy books at the ‘right price’, and long may it continue. These second-hand bookshops serve a growing need  and, in the process, are establishing themselves with their appreciative and growing, customers numbers.

Sweny's Pharmacy

Sweny’s Pharmacy

Some shops sell a range of genres while others serve a niche market. One such shop is Sweny’s in Lincoln Place  which  specialises in Irish books, where you can get anything from Roddy Doyle, Sebastian Barry to William Trevor, James Joyce or Oscar Wilde. The shop was, in a previous life, a pharmacy and it still retains many of the original features. It has its own unique place in Irish literary history as it is mentioned in Joyce’s Ulysses. In fact, they hold weekly readings of the great man’s work, which is worth considering if you, like many others, have trouble in getting to grips with reading the difficult but ultimately rewarding book. And, there’s always a complementary cup of tea on offer!

Sweny's - living history...

Sweny’s – living history…

All these shops have their own unique atmosphere, something which makes browsing all the more interesting. Some are small, almost hidden away upstairs in old shops or markets, all vying for much-needed attention and trade. On the other hand, Chapters (Parnell Street) is probably the biggest of them all, and it has plenty of reduced new titles on sale. Upstairs is the second-hand section and it is well laid out and stuffed with books. The shelves are full and there are a few seats where readers can sit and ‘dip-into’ a  book before buying. It’s a nice feature, and something that I have often taken advantage of. Also, the shop will do ‘trade-ins’ of your old books, either for cash or credit, and that can’t be bad.


Chapters – stuffed with books!

So, check out the second-hand shops, either in town or in your locality, they are worth a visit and, more importantly, worth supporting.


Filed under Dublin, James Joyce

Joyce’s Bloomsday Crawl!

The weather obliged, thankfully, permitting many to dress in Edwardian-period clothes  and brighten up events. From early on people gathered for a breakfast of mutton kidneys in various restaurants and pubs, before starting to make their way along the route set-out in James Joyce’s Ulysses. The celebration of one of the most famous days in literature has grown from a tiny beginning in 1954 to become a worldwide event. From Auckland to Arklow, Sydney to Skibbereen and New York to Nenagh groups arranged events to remember the great writer, something that is growing with each passing year.


Outside Sweny’s Pharmacy


Hats, hats, everywhere…

Around one o’clock I met a few friends and we made our way to Sweny’s Pharmacy on Lincoln Place.  The place was packed with a babel of accents filling the tiny, time-warped pharmacy. The strong smell of lemon soap wafted onto the street where a large crowd gathered to hear  Shane Egan reading The Bloomsday Boys. Having written the short story, I was delighted to see and hear it performed in Dublin on the big day, and Shane certainly did it justice. His strong, clear projection brought the story to life as he moved about the packed pavement.  He was dressed in a black suit, white shirt, black tie and, of course, a black bowler hat – his image neat and convincing. The crowd listened in rapt attention as Shane began; then laughed at the antics of the characters in the story, before breaking into a rousing  version of Cockles & Mussels  at the end. I was absolutely thrilled with the performance, and  I’d like to think that JJ himself would have approved, and  tipped his hat in acknowledgement. It was, indeed, a great Blooming day!


Me & Shane


Bloomsday revellers

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Filed under Dublin, James Joyce

Dublin – Walking With Words 2

Hi there,

Well, after much effort my book is finally finished. Needless to say there were some issues that had to be addressed, and, thankfully, they are all now resolved. The finishing process  just never seemed to end – it was quite an eye-opener.  Click on the image below for a preview of the ebook.

Now it’s time for the next project.

Bloomsday: The city is gearing up for the annual celebration of all things Joycean. There are many events on around the place, and we’re all hoping for some good weather. The James Joyce Centre has plenty on offer, as does Sweny’s Pharmacy which is always lively and well worth a visit.  And don’t forget to buy a bar of the famous lemon soap! But whatever you’re doing, have a great day and raise a glass to Jimmy.

Happy Bloomsday!

Walking With Words  - front cover

Trinity College – front gate

Check out the video below for a quick look at some of the places and people featured in the ebook.


Filed under Dublin, James Joyce