Saturday, May 27, 2017

European Vacation - Northern Ireland - Belfast

The next stop on our European holiday was Belfast in Northern Ireland.  It was certainly strange to go from metric street signs to imperial ones as we crossed the soft border in our rental car.  And the same freeway from Dublin suddenly contained tractors, public buses and even garbage trucks stopping beside houses with their driveways adjoining the road.

As we had arrived late into Belfast, due to our stop in Newgrange, the book stores I intended to visit were already closed.  We visited the Giant's Causeway the next day so it was only on the morning before we caught our ferry from Belfast, NI to Cairnryan, Scotland that I was able to visit the three stores all located on Botanic Street.

The first was the charity book store War On Want, where I spoke to Tony, a volunteer, who was running the store today.  The store was really well categorised but to save time I asked him if he knew if there were any Bonds on the shelves.  He replied that they were not very common and he hadn't seen a Bond book in a while.  There were plenty of other great books to buy though. 

I then crossed the road to Oxfam Books, another charity store (if only we had charlty stores in Oz that specifically sold books!), and spoke to the volunteer there.  This time he told me they did have some Bonds and I took some photos but unfortunaly I had them all.

Finally I visited the new kid on the block.  No Alibis Bookstore has only been open for couple of months and is a great little store.  It sells crime, noir and thrillers (my words not theirs) and the books are both new and second-hand.  I found the owner very friendly and I hope he does well with his new venture.  This street seems to be a very lively and happening part of Belfast and the location of the three book stores so close together won't hurt either for other book collectors like me.

And finally some more photos from our holiday:

The Giant's Causeway (this place is amazing !)

Ulster memorial to "The Troubles"

Thursday, May 18, 2017

European Vacation - Ireland - Dublin (again)

After visiting Galway for a couple of nights we then returned to Dublin.  Here I was able to visit several book stores I'd previously missed.

The first was Chapters on Parnell Street.  This book store is huge.  The ground floor sells new books...

... while on the first floor there are literally thousands of second hand books for sale.  This store is very impressive and has to be visited when in Dublin.

I also managed to visit this small second hand book store at the other end of Parnell Street.  But after I asked the owner if he had any James Bond novels he explained that Ian Fleming's books are "too old to stock them".  His accent was so strong I actually thought he said he had "two on his shelf" and stood there like an idiot waiting for him to point them out to me before I realised what he'd said.

Every Saturday at Temple Bar Square there's a book market.  However as we arrived late from Galway they were just packing up and only one stall remained.

And finally, here's some more photos from our trip:

Trinity College including the fantastic Long Room containing thousands of old books.  This building was used as an inspiration for the Jedi Archives in Star Wars.  We also saw the Book of Kells which was amazing considering it was written around the year 800

Another building in Trinity College

And some photos of the ancient tomb in Newgrange between Dublin and Belfast  The centre chamber is approx. 6 metres tall, covered in tonnes of rock.  Although no photos are allowed in the tomb it is possible to take photos of the entrance and the giant engraved stone. The tomb was built prior to Stone Henge and the pyramids of Giza

European Vacation - Ireland - Galway

Next stop on our holiday in Ireland was Galway, just two hours drive from Dublin.  We stayed near the Spanish Arch which is the touristy part of town.

My wife identified several book stores in Galway prior to arriving however we only had time to visit one; Charlie Byrne's Bookshop on Middle Street.

This is a fantastic store with heaps of second hand books all well organised.  I took these photos as well as finding six Bond novels.  Unfortunately I had all the covers.

We also saw this book store selling new books but it was closed.

And finally here's some more photos from our time in Galway:

Small lake on the way to Kylemore Abbey
Kylemore Abbey and the little Gothic Church
View from Connemara National Park
Dunguaire Castle
The Cliffs of Moher
Galway Cathedral