Carraig Books, a long-established bookshop in Blackrock village, is to close soon, certainly before the end of the year.
It is one of the few second-hand bookshops that carry a large stock of philosophical and religious books, but as the owner explained to me recently, these subjects do not sell as well as they once did. Much of his trade is in other areas of literature, and Irish history, and these will in future be sold online from a warehouse.
For customers this will provide a continuing service, but for wandering and curious bibliophiles – let along restless philosophers – the tactile sensation of old books will be lost.
Long-time customer and bibliophile poet Louis Hemmings laments the shop’s demise. – Books Editor
Slightly stiff opens windowed door;
worn linoleum reveals wooden floor;
hesitantly many enter this bookshop
tentatively on tiptoe, silent pin-drop.
Dream-delightful, sentimental scent,
thoughts slowly over time ferment;
full calf covers, sunned pages:
book lover bounty from differing ages.
Hidden train tickets, often old stamps,
some books pristine, others foxed-damp,
some underlined or margin annotated,
autodidacts pencilled opinions stated.
Piled passages, book blocked,
some texts slightly worm-pocked,
covers warped, spines detached,
imperishable authors unmatched…
Wooden ladders stand angled,
there’s little in this shop new fangled
but books galore, differing typefaces,
stories to transport us to distant places.
Opulent leather scents, pungent old ink,
paper perfume, gilt edges wink;
phrases underlined, pencilled persistence,
books celebrate our very existence.