Yes, it’s older than America, but age isn’t what makes it so amazing.
Hodges & Figgis Bookstore in Dublin, Ireland was founded in 1768 and is the largest and oldest bookstore in all of Ireland and according to some sources, the third oldest bookshop in the world after #1 Livararia Bertrand in Lisbon (1732) and #2 Moravian Book Shop in Pennsylvania (1745).
The history is too involved to detail without sounding like a long research paper, but I can quickly tell you about how it feels to step through the doors of Hodges & Figgis . . . magical.
It took my breath away.
Most modern bookstores only stock the current top sellers, but Hodges & Figgis holds a wealth of real literature. It reportedly stocks over a million books at any given time.
The children’s section is a thick tangle of stories and illustrations that seem to come to life when held in the hands of a child. Tiny red headed Irish tikes were giggling and holding books out to their Mums, pleading for a story. Older customers cuddled in sweaters for the blustery day were following their gliding pointed fingers along the edges of shelves, searching for a title they didn’t know but would recognize it when they saw it.
The staff of Hodges & Figgis emailed with me ahead of time and I was able to bring them a copy of my book, “Bringing Christmas Home,” which has an Irish connection. They made me feel like my book was the best thing they’d ever welcomed to their store. Ireland truly had the nicest people of any country I’ve ever visited, and the best were inside this bookshop.
If you ever visit Ireland, you’ll want to make Hodges & Figgis one of your stops where you’ll find it’s much more than a bookstore. It’s a step back in time to beauty, quality and lovely people who appreciate a good story.
And since I've been home, I just discovered my alma mater, Florida State University will play a football game against Georgia Tech in Dublin Ireland next year! All you FSU fans (and GA Tech too!) run by Hodges and Figgis and give them a Seminole and Yellow Jacket hello! Maybe I’ll be there too – any excuse to visit Dublin again is fine with me.