Your bookshops #4 The Salmon Bookshop and Literary Centre

Freelance editor Sally Vince lives in County Clare on the west coast of Ireland. I've often been grateful for her bookshop recommendations and so I was thrilled to receive an email from her, introducing The Salmon Bookshop and Literary Centre.

The Salmon Bookshop
9 Parliament Street, Ennistymon, Co Clare, Republic of Ireland
Tel: +353 (0)65 7071856
Published: 17th September, 2015

Ennistymon is my favourite local town – the people are friendly, the buildings are attractive, the atmosphere is welcoming, and best of all it has a bookshop. Even better, each year booksellers from around Ireland gather over a weekend for the Ennistymon Book Town Festival (in 2016 it’s 3rd and 4th June).

The permanent bookshop in the town is Salmon Bookshop and Literary Centre. Salmon Poetry publishers is run by Jessie Lendennie (a poet herself), has been in existence for thirty-four years and has published over 400 volumes. Three years ago Jessie took over the bookshop, expanded it and moved her publishing business upstairs.

They sell their own books of course, and a selection of new books from local authors. But most of the shop is given over to shelves of second-hand books.

It is everything you could want from a second-hand bookshop: a chair in the corner so you can be comfy while you chat to the bookseller or make your decisions on what to buy; attractive floor lamps to light the shelves; different rooms to explore; a scented candle in the fireplace; and two big, friendly bookshop dogs (who will go outside if you aren’t a doggy person, or will let you fuss them if you are). There is also a fabulous little garden at the back of the shop, where you can sit and read and where (Irish weather permitting) author events are sometimes held.

As you walk in, you will be greeted by whichever bookseller is in charge for the day – they will help if you need it, or leave you in peace to browse for as long as you want. Children’s books are immediately inside the door on child-height shelves, Irish interest books are to the left, books by Irish authors are on shelves taking up the whole of the wall on the right. A small room beyond has second-hand general interest books, and a big, wooden display stand with Salmon Poetry’s own publications. Another doorway takes you to a long corridor lined with shelves of fiction, which leads into yet another book room. Foreign-language books are tucked under the stairs.

I visited on the third anniversary of Jessie taking over the shop – which was great news for me as everything was half-price. Jessie and her dogs were on duty, so we had a bookish chat and I asked for her recommendation for a purchase. I’m afraid I don’t have Erica’s restraint for buying just one book, and I bought two – but as they were half-price it’s kinda the same as buying one. I decided to get two of Salmon’s own publications, one poetry book (Night Horses by Ilsa Thielan) and one fiction book (The Night Game by Frank Golden) – both by local authors.

Right opposite the shop is the Courthouse Gallery, which is free to visit and has some fabulous exhibitions. Just down the road is the Guru Tea House – which as well as a huge range of teas also does great sandwiches and excellent chocolate fudge cake. The bank is next door to the bookshop (just sayin’).

A bookshop next to a bank sounds dangerous, especially when there's cake nearby. Thank you Sally for giving me yet another reason to want to visit County Clare. And if anyone would like to find out more about Sally's editorial services you can view her website here.


  1. Thank you for including the Salmon Bookshop, Erica. I hope you manage to get over to visit it yourself one day - leaving yourself enough time to have a cuppa and cake at the Guru Tea House of course!

    1. My pleasure. Historic family connections mean I've wanted to visit County Clare since I was a little girl, so reading about the Salmon Bookshop gives me yet another reason to hurry up and make the trip.


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