Published March 27, 2008
Passing of Maureen Kenny
Closes chapter in life of renowned Galway family
ThE founder and driving force for so long behind one of the country’s best known family run bookshops - a woman who was best known for her love and knowledge of books - has passed away.
Mrs Maureen Kenny was still working behind the counter of the shop in High Street, Galway City, well into her mid-eighties until she retired a few years ago to be cared for in the Pointe Boise Nursing Home in Salthill.
She and her husband Des opened up shop in 1940 (originally opening onto Middle Street) and though the bookshop is no longer at that location it is now the Kenny Art Gallery run by her son Tom. The books are now sold and exported online, in keeping with modern trends.
When Kennys first opened at the height of World War II, there was little money around for luxuries like books, but against all odds, the business thrived, first as a private lending library with books donated by friends. This evolved into the second hand book side of the business but a growing demand for new and antiquarian books of Irish interest turned Kennys into a landmark. Today it is the largest exporter of Irish books worldwide.
Maureen Kenny, nee Canning, was originally from Mohill, Co. Leitrim and met Des at UCG. She died peacefully, surrounded by her family, Tom, Jane (Hogan), Dessy, Gerry, Monica (Rigney) and Conor.
She will be buried in the New Cemetery today (Thursday) after 1pm Funeral Mass in the Augustinian Church.