Tertulia Bookshop, Westport, Co. Mayo
How it started
We moved from London and Dublin in 2000, to refurbish an old school house. In that time we have been actively involved in community development and micro enterprises.
We wanted to create a social space where people could engage in meaningful conversations about life, literature and the contemporary world. And what better place than a bookshop? We believe sustainability starts locally, and we are part of this.
How it’s going
Our shop invites people in and promotes the importance of engagement and participation in our communities.
We host a monthly on-line Philosopher’s Hat Club. We have hosted many events with authors, with Westival (Westport Arts Festival), story time for children, visits from schools, Sunday Afternoon Tertulias (a circle of people who meet regularly to discuss literature and life), book clubs, and many conversations over a cup of coffee. We won Best Independent Bookshop of the Year in Ireland in 2021 along with awards from Spot-Lit EU and from Three Ireland.
We are sponsoring a short story competition for young adults with Paper Lanterns Literary Journal and are offering €250 to the best story in each category: 12-15 years, and 16-18 years.
The Booksellers Association is lobbying for bookshops to be recognised as places of culture and art, which of course we actively support.
Now post-Covid, we are back planning events, initiatives and collaborations. We aim to connect with other bookshops and cultural activities across Europe.
We want to develop our model of community philosophising (Philosopher’s Hat Club)—which allows people to engage in thinking together about what matters to us as a community.
We continue to fly the flag of reading books as essential to developing the way we think and live in the world, for all ages. We believe local businesses are crucial—their very presence gives back to the community.
A book recommendation
I have just finished Devotion by Hannah Kent. It is extraordinary historical fiction by an Australian author which has a beauty to it. I hated finishing it.