Your bookshops #8 Stone House Books

Having visited Ireland at the start of the year I've become a big fan of Irish hospitality, in particular that offered in bookshops. Which is why I was pleased to hear from author, blogger and social media advisor Lorna Sixsmith, who introduces to one of her favourite bookshops: Stone House Books in Kilkenny.

St Kiaran's Street, Kilkenny, Republic of Ireland
Tel: +353 (0)56 779 0780
Published: 26th November, 2015

Kilkenny is a lovely city to visit. It can be a bit of a nightmare for parking but boasts narrow shopping streets full of atmosphere linking main streets (reminiscent of Diagon Alley according to my children), a castle, a cathedral, High Street shops as well as independent boutiques and of course, bookshops. It has at least four bookshops, three of which are independent so bookshop lovers are spoiled for choice. 

Stone House Books, owned by Liz Walsh, is located on Kieran Street right beside the magical Butterslip which links this street with the High Street. The front window is always inviting with a display of numerous books, you’re greeted with a wall of bookshelves as you walk in and Liz and Laura are always on hand to answer queries, recommend books and order any not in stock.

I first met Liz at a Readers’ Event within Kilkenny Library two years ago so I often call in for a chat while book browsing. On this particular day, I was delighted to see that the children’s area had been totally refurbished following Liz’s successful application for James Patterson funding for independent bookshops. It has a new carpet, new mini chairs, new bright red display space for children’s book and (not visible in the photograph) a charming canopy over the children’s area which can be changed with the seasons. 

I have to admit I buy books like some women buy shoes and handbags and rarely leave a bookshop without purchasing. I had plenty of books on my wish list to choose from but on this occasion I picked Asking For It by Louise O’Neill. I had heard mixed reports on it, some claiming the ending fizzled out, others that it was unrealistic but on hearing an interview with Louise, I knew it was a must-read. It’s also a book I will be getting both my children to read in a few years and discussing it with them. It tells the story of a popular and beautiful teenage girl who is working hard to remain popular and be considered desirable by the boys in school. Following an unsupervised party, she wakes up on the front step of her home and later discovers that photographs from the party are being circulated on Facebook, photographs that suggest that she was raped by a number of boys. The issues of “what’s real rape” and the implications of this on a small community not to mention friendships are explored in a read that I couldn’t put down. And no, it doesn’t fizzle out in the end but emphasises the difficulty of the situation for all concerned. 

All good bookshop owners know their books and work really hard to offer something extra to their customers and Stone House Books is no exception. Liz runs many events in the bookshop: a monthly book club, book launches, readers’ events, reading parties for children and more. 

If you visit Kilkenny city in Ireland, do pop into Stone House Books on Kieran Street and say hello to Liz.

Thank you to Lorna for providing such a great introduction to what sounds like a wonderful bookshop – and also for adding another book to my must-read list. One of Lorna's books is pictured on the shelf next to Liz, alternatively if you'd like to read Lorna's blog about farming and writing click here, or her social media website here.

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