Could this bookshop help you escape the post-Christmas blues?

January 2017 / Bookshop review & much more / reading time: 3 minutes (600 words)

After the terrible 2016 that we’ve had, I arrived at Christmas worn out and frazzled. I then spent Christmas eating too much, not exercising, watching too much tv and this year, like so many others, nursing a cold. By the time it was over, I certainly didn’t want to write a longform blogpost. In fact, I just wanted to get away from everything. Wonderfully I managed that just a few days ago when I visited the most remarkable and perhaps least known bookshop in Dublin, Escape into Books

My godmother, Barbara Byrne, gave me a Christmas present of the book token that was in my coat pocket. My buddy, the artist Philip Barrett, gave me directions, but I still got lost twice before I finally found the bookshop. It didn’t look like much from the outside. The front door creaked loudly as I  ventured in.


Inside the elderly bearded owner was playing jazz on a battered tape deck. He didn’t look up from his book to say hello. It looked like a typically cluttered, if charming, second hand book shop. But it was a lot bigger than I expected. Although thin, it extended right back into the building. I could understand how someone might while a few hours away here although it looked empty.

books-768426_1280But just when I could barely hear the jazz music and thought I was near the back of the shop, there was a sharp turn in the corridor. Going around that corner, I found the other customers and realised  why Phil had recommended this shop.  It was a peaceful and relaxing space. It was amazing really.

books-985954_1280-editedBut I didn’t stay here long even though I wanted to. There was a stairwell at the side of the room that caught my attention. I walked up it into Escape into books‘s vintage book collection. They were in as beautiful a room as I’ve ever stood in.

library-1668174_1280I walked the length of the hall.  No music playing. Just the sound of my footsteps echoing. I don’t know anything about old books, but I looked at the titles. I decided to try out the book on the history of the world and  go back downstairs to that beanbag with my name on it.

aged-1867381_1280-warmerBut  I saw a thin, dirty hallway in the corner of the vintage book room. There was a warm breeze coming under the door at the end. And the sound of birdsong. The door scraped off the floor as I pushed it open. Behind it was an old passageway to the top of the building. I  started up the steps.

stairway-649734_1280I’m tall so I had to be careful to duck my head as I climbed the steps. What was odd was that the higher up I went the warmer it became. By the time, I got to the top steps, I was roasting. As I stepped out of the stairway, I realised why.

italy-1614931_1280-editedI walked out of the cave and took off my jumper and my shoes and socks. I rolled up my trousers.  I sat down on the sand and gazed out at the sea. I put down the book.

beach-1866992_1280I’m still here now. Sitting in the sun. At peace.

I don’t think I’m coming back.

I’ve got my laptop with me so if you drop me a comment I might give you directions to this remarkable bookshop.

And I’d love to know – where would you like to escape to in books or bookshops in 2017?




19 Responses

  1. This post has provided the loveliest escape I have had in weeks. Thank you! Not to mention renewing my belief that printed books will live on – perhaps with increasing reverence. I’m afraid to ask if this place is really real! I love it either way but would love to know where it is, if real, so I can dream of actually going.


  2. Liberty On the Lighter Side

    What fun, my jaw was also dropping a little at the beautiful room but the warm air (Dublin!) gave it all away. Otherwise I’d be on the bus right now heading up the N11. 🙂


      1. Liberty On the Lighter Side

        Depends whether you bring a book on the bus or not…last night I went to the Gulf of Mexico from my sofa but I’m not sure whether I’d like to return as there was such a high body count. Trouble is I’m being dragged along relentlessly by an appealing protagonist!


  3. […] whatever interested me from an account of a social worker’s burnout to a visit to a remarkable bookshop to interviews with fantastic and inspiring Irish authors and, as the ads say, much, much more. Some […]


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