A new chapter for Kenny�s
Kenny�s reopens its bookshop in the Liosbán estate today.
From the Galway Advertiser. July 3rd, 2008
By Kernan Andrews.
When Kenny�s closed its bookshop on High Street it was the end of an era, not only in Galway business life, but also in Galway literature and bookselling.
The Kenny Gallery remained in High Street and expanded throughout the entire building, while the storeroom and successful website - www.kennys.ie - joined the bookbinding business at the Liosb�n Industrial Estate.
Kenny�s were still selling books world-wide via the internet, but the absence of the bookshop was keenly felt by readers, collectors, and book enthusiasts. However, Kenny�s, both as a brand and as leading booksellers, were not content to remain solely an online business and moves have been afoot over the last year to reopen a bookshop.
Today, Kenny�s opens its new bookshop, at Kenny�s Bookshop & Art Galleries Ltd in the Liosb�n Industrial Estate. The good news for Galway booklovers is that the new store has everything the bookshop on High Street had - only more.
�There are a lot of people for whom, if it�s not on the computer, it doesn�t exist,� Des Kenny tells me. �However if a person�s curiosity becomes stimulated, that curiosity becomes insatiable and they have to find out more and a book will give you that more than any TV programme ever will. That�s what we�re here to cater for. People talk about technology overtaking the book, but the fact is that the more technology dvances, the more we see books being published.�
The bookshop has two main areas. One room is given over to antique, rare, and first editions of Irish and international literary and political interest. These are housed in mostly antique book cases, and a browser can find such treasures as an edition of Oscar Wilde�s Salome and The Sphinx, featuring colour illustrations by the great late 19th century graphic artist Aubrey Beardsley; a 1921 edition of Four Plays For Dancers by WB Yeats, featuring a beautiful Art Nouveau cover, and a collection of debates from the Irish Houses of Parliament from the 1780s and 1790s, published in that period.
While historians, specialists, collectors, and die-hard fans of Wilde, Yeats, etc, will be kept busy here, the general reader and booklover will find much to explore in a vast new bookstore - featuring 50,000 titles over 70 metres of retail space - towards the rear of the premises.
This is very much a booklovers� haven. There are rows and rows of second-had, rare, and out of print books - novels, classics, sci-fi, philosophy, World War I, World War II, Irish, Russian, German, British, American, and African history, economics, art, cartooning, sport, Irish language, poetry, literary criticism, bound editions of Punch going back to the 1870s, children�s books (including some wonderful Victorian era books with their somewhat imperialist but still charming illustrations), and even a stall of comic books, including 1970s editions of Whizzer and Chips.
After you are finished browsing or buying there a number of sofas and confortable chairs where customers can read and coffee is served all day.
Almost everything is available at the click of a button these days. A song can be downloaded in seconds, a book can be ordered from the internet and be at your house in two weeks. However in this �instant gratification� era, the joy of the search and thrill of the find of something that�s been previously elusive - a feeling all true music and booklovers relish - is lost. Kenny�s however want to bring that back.
�There are people who still want to see, feel, and smell the books and we have the space and the know how,� says Des. �What a book store like this gives is the element of surprise. You could finally see a book that you have been looking for for years. You could be looking for something in a particular field, not find it, but come away with something in that field which you know is a better find. We have an instinct for books and we back it up with the Kenny ideals and personal service.�
Photo of Des Kenny of Kenny�s Bookshop by Mike Shaughnessy.