Three Irish bookshops on shortlist for Independent Bookshop of the Year

Brid Conroy, co-owner of Tertulia

The shortlists for the Independent Bookshop of the Year (sponsored by Gardners) have been announced.

According to the Bookseller, included in the nine regional and country lists are three ‘first-timer’ Irish bookshops, something which hasn’t happened since the award began sixteen years ago.

The bookshops will now go on to a second round, with regional and country winners announced on 17th March—the St. Patrick’s Day date perhaps bringing some good luck to the Irish contenders.

The three bookshops on the Ireland shortlist are: Bridge Books in Dromore Co. Down; Tertulia Books in Westport, Co. Mayo, and The Company of Books in Ranelagh, Dublin.

The Company of Books opened at 96 Ranelagh Village in November 2009, and since then has acquired a devoted following, hosting a bookclub, and going the extra mile for customers.

Owner Gwen Allman said that everyone in the bookshop is delighted with the news: “In what’s been an exceptionally challenging year, it was a real boost to the team here at The Company Of Books to be shortlisted for Independent Bookshop of the Year. It’s our first time to make the shortlist and we are thrilled.”

Bridge Books in Co. Down, owned by Lesley Price, was the recipient of a Bookseller Bookshop Hero award in 2020, and would be the first ever winner from Northern Ireland if they were to take the prize.

Run by Neil Paul and Brid Conroy, Tertulia Books gets its name from the Spanish word, which means ‘a circle of people who meet regularly to discuss literature and art’—or to also have a bit of a gossip and a cup or glass of something. Speaking of what the shortlisting means, Brid Conroy said they were delighted and humbled to be included in the shortlist:

“Bookshops play such an important role in developing community, be it a small rural town or city. This award facilitates us and other bookshops in raising the profile of books and the enormous contribution reading makes to the way the world thinks. We have only been open since July 2019 (and closed for 6 months of this due to Covid) but we feel even in that short time, we have made a positive impact upon the world of bookselling and its mission.” 

The shortlists in full are listed here.