The Galway Advertiser
Published March 27, 2008
Maureen Kenny - the doyenne of Galway booksellers passes away
Maureen Kenny, “the doyenne of the bookselling tradition in Galway”, has died, but the legacy of what she and her husband created will live on in The Kenny Gallery, Kenny’s Bookshop and Art Galleries Ltd, and Kennys.ie.
Maureen Kenny (nee Canning) passed away on Tuesday March 25 in Pointe Boise, Salthill.
For many years - decades - she was an essential part of Kenny’s Bookshop, sitting behind her desk and dealing with the customers, always eager to talk about books with anyone who came by.
I remember going into Kenny’s to buy John O’Donoghue’s first collection of poems Echoes Of Memory in 1994. I went to the counter and as soon as Mrs Kenny saw it she exclaimed “A treat in store! A treat in store!” I told her he happened to be my local priest and she could not say enough good things about his sermons.
Kenny’s Bookshop was a Galway institution, but one with an international reputation, not only among book buyers, but also among authors - as the photographs of everyone from Allan Ginsberg to Thomas Kinsella testify. It is a testament to the work of Desmond Kenny and his wife Maureen who founded the shop and gallery and made it such a centre and lauchpad for, as well as icon of, Galway business and culture.
Galway Advertiser chairman Ronnie O’Gorman this week paid tribute to Mrs Kenny.
"I used to love to see her sitting in her chair in the shop,” he said, “she was part of the old tradition of bookselling in Galway and was the doyenne of that tradition. She and her husband Des opened the first art gallery in the West of Ireland and made every art exhibition an occasion and they would serve tea, coffee, and sandwiches."
“Maureen Kenny’s death marks the end of a more genteel style of business which Galway was famous for - when buying a book was a chance for social interaction and chat, when shopping was more than just shopping.”
With the kind permission of The Galway Advertiser