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Welcome to Kennys.ie - the online bookstore of Kennys Bookshop in Galway, Ireland. Fáilte go Kennys.ie. 

We have nearly 1 million new, used/secondhand and rare books available on the site & we offer free delivery within Ireland on all orders. We ship books worldwide to over 120 countries annually.

Our bookshop is located in Liosbán Retail Park in Galway, Ireland, H91 NP58 and is open Monday to Saturday, 09:00 - 17:00. 

Kennys Bookshop was established in 1940. In 2020, we celebrated 80 years in business! We are an independent, family business & together our staff have over 200 years of experience as booksellers between them! We provide a personal customer service from our bookshop. We are also big supporters and users of the Irish language - is féidir séirbhís a fháil trí Ghaeilge le Kennys.

On Kennys.ie you’ll find a huge variety of books – everything from the latest releases and bestsellers, to secondhand paperbacks, to textbooks, to rare and hard to source books. You’ll find books in every genre such as children’s books, cookbooks, history, fiction, non-fiction, leabhair Ghaeilge and much more. We offer very good value and we have thousands of books available at less than €5.

Enjoy using Kennys.ie and please feel free to contact us by email or phone anytime with any book related query and we'd be delighted to help.

Thank you for visiting Kennys.ie,

Le gach dea-ghuí,


Kennys Bookshop, Liosbán Industrial Estate, Tuam Road, Galway
Monday to Saturday, 09:00-17:00
+353 (0)91 709350 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Other services at Kennys 


The Kenny Gallery

The Kenny Gallery is situated in the same retail premises as our bookshop in Liosbán, Galway and also online at www.thekennygallery.ie. The gallery opened in 1968, and specialises in the sale of contemporary Irish art, with original paintings, sculpture, stained glass, photography and more by over 50 Irish and international artists, including Kenneth Webb, Jerry Marjoram, Paul Guilfoyle, John Behan and many more. We also provide a commissioning service to decorate personal, public or corporate locations with works of art. You can view our entire collection at www.thekennygallery.ie and please direct any queries to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Kenny Gallery, Liosbán Retail Park, Tuam Road, Galway

Monday to Saturday, 09:00-17:00
+353 (0)91 709350 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Kenny Gallery, Galway


Special Collections & Archives 

We operate many service to libraries, academic instititutions and private collectors on a regional, national and international level. Services include the sale of Archives and Special Collections, valuation of holdings for insurance, probate and selling purposes; an Approval Plan Services for supply of regular Irish material and more. 
For further information, contact Conor Kenny on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


Kennys Bindery - Printing and binding service

Kennys Bindery is based in Galway and is run by Gerry and Caroline Kenny. Our Book Bindery have been in operation since 1974 when it was opened by Gerry Kenny. We provide a wide range of book binding services from thesis binding to finely bound leather books which make for beautiful gift ideas. Kennys Bindery bindings are in many collections including those of former Irish president Mary Robinson to Pope John Paul II, and former US presidents Ronald Regan and Jimmy Carter.

Kennys Bindery, 1b Addley Park, Liosbán Ind Est, Galway

Monday to Thursday, 07:30-16:00
Friday, 07:30-13:00
+353 (0)87 1208147 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




The History of Kennys 

1940-Present: Eight Decades in the Life of Kennys Bookshop & Art Gallery

Granny and GrandadKennys Bookshop was established in High St, Galway in 1940 by Des & Maureen Kenny. Four of their six children and three of their grandchildren currently work in the family business, which employs over twenty people. In 1994, Kennys Bookshop was the second bookshop in the world to go online, second to a sci-fi shop in San Francisco that closed many years ago.  


Kennys Bookshop opened in 1940. Desmond was a Galwegian, the son of journalist Thomas Kenny who had founded the "The Connacht Tribune" in 1909. Maureen, a native of Mohill, Co. Leitrim won a scholarship to attend University College Galway (UCG) where she studied Commerce. On her first day in UCG she met Desmond, who was studying Arts. And as Desmond was often heard saying "That was that." The couple married on graduating.

In 1940, they rented two rooms on High St. They set up a bookshop in one room and lived in the other at the back. They had to be very innovative and adventurous in order to make a living:

  • They started a lending library
  • Desmond went on the road selling books to County Libraries
  • They had a stall at the Galway Agricultural Show
  • Kennys had their first ever "Book Sale,' a concept which was very novel at the time
  • In 1944 they published Walter Macken's "Oidhroacht na Mara" - a literary landmark
  • They sold signed limited editions of contemporary prints
  • They placed display cases in hotels and factories in many different parts of Ireland
  • They moved to a family home in Salthill and were thus able to expand the bookshop.

Old First Shop

Des Kenny Senior at Kennys Stall at the Galway Agricultural Show in the 1940's


In order to develop the business, Des and Maureen turned their attention to Irish Crafts and Art. There were few shops selling craft products such as rugs, sweaters, baskets, ceramics and even leprechauns at the time! Artists began to arrive with paintings and sculpture. For example, Kenneth Webb first showed his paintings here in 1953. Exhibitions held in the tiny art space included a contemporary French painting exhibition, "Interpretations of Dante's Divine Comedy" an exhibition by 43 living Irish artists sponsored by the Italian Cultural Institute, press photographs entitled "Germany 10 Years After The War", a solo exhibition by Charles Lamb and one by Mabel Young which was opened by her husband Paul Henry. They hosted the first Caltex Children's Art Exhibition, and subsequently a number of one-man shows by its first winner Michael Anthony Little.

The first Book Catalogue (100 copies) was printed in 1959, the beginnings of the development of an export market.


Shop Exterior 1960's

The business continued to expand in the sixties. Desmond started going to the UK where he began to buy extensively. In the summer of 1960, Des and Maureen converted the living room of their home in Salthill into a craft shop for the summer. In 1965 Kennys opened an antique shop in Cross St., just down the street from the bookshop. While Desmond was busy buying libraries, he also purchased many valuable antiques which he sold in the new shop. In 1966, Kennys published their first Irish language book-catalogue.

From the start, Art had always played a very important role in Kennys. Exhibitions were hung among the books and, more often than not, on top of the books! In 1968 it was decided that the art deserved an exhibition area of its own. Once again, Maureen and Desmond looked to their own home for the expansion of the business. They converted their own living room into an art gallery and provided the West of Ireland with its first Art Gallery, opening their home to art lovers from all around the world. The first exhibition was by artist Sean Keating - the gallery has hosted several hundred exhibitions since.

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During the 1970's, the family started drifting into the business. All, with the exception of Jane, who went on to study psychology and became a teacher in Galway, found their niche within the business. In 1973, Kennys opened the Seán Desmond Gallery in New York and, in 1974 the Book Bindery opened in Salthill. Gerry Kenny had completed a bookbinding apprenticeship in Dublin and then set up on his own, adding a very valuable dimension to the business. The bookbindery produces an extensive range of products from thesis binding to hand crafted, fine-tooled leather bindings.

Among the exhibitions held in the art gallery in Salthill during the seventies were ‘Rose’ - a Jack B. Yeats centenary show, an international women's exhibition, and solo shows by George Campbell, Arthur Armstrong and John Behan.



In 1980, the Taibhsín - a small experimental theatre - came on the market and Kennys managed to purchase it. Shortly afterwards they bought the High Street premises. This turned out to be a large medieval building with carved stone fireplaces. In 1984, the Kenny Gallery moved back to the city centre to Middle Street. Export began to take on a new meaning with frequent sales trips to the US. The United States Library of Congress appointed Kennys as their Irish suppliers. This started a trend and the bookshop now supplies some three hundred libraries throughout North America.

Among the artists introduced to Galway via exhibitions in the eighties were Gertrude Degenhardt, John Coll, Peter Fitzgerald, Joseph Quilty, Susan Webb and Mick Flaherty.


High Street

Pictured are members of the Kenny Family, L-R: Tom Kenny, Gerry Kenny, Monica Rigney, Des Kenny, Jane Hogan, Maureen Kenny and Conor Kenny

Kennys first computer, an Atari 286, was purchased in 1990. Their first website was launched in 1994, only the second bookshop in the world to do so. At this time there were approximately 40,000 books on Kennys on-line catalogues and orders arrive daily from all over the world. Another export opportunity identified by Kennys was Japan, a country we visited for the first time in 1995.

In 1994, Karen (the first of the third generation of Kennys to join the business) opened "An Dámhlann", a contemporary art gallery in Spiddal. In 1995, she began a framing service as well as the wholesale supply service of antiquarian maps and prints. The 1990's were also years of celebration: 

  • 1990 - Kennys celebrated 50 years in business with a major exhibition of portraits of 101 Irish writers by contemporary artists entitled "Faces in a Bookshop". The exhibition was opened by President Hillery
  • 1990 - Desmond & Maureen were presented with a special commemorative piece of Royal Tara China by the Galway Chamber of Commerce & Industry. This was the first presentation of its kind by the Chamber
  • 1991 - Bord Fáilte presented Kennys with the Ambassador Award
  • 1992 - The RTÉ programme, Cursaí, produced a film documentary on Kennys
  • 1993 - A new bookstore for second-hand books was opened on Merchants Road in the city centre
  • 1996 - The Bookshop & Art Gallery closed for some time to facilitate major renovations
  • 1998 - In April '98, the extended Kenny family celebrated Maureen Kenny's 80th birthday with a big family party. The Irish Times published an article on this titled ‘Mother of all the Kennys’
  • 1999 - In September, Kennys opened a dedicated Export Centre in Liosbán Estate, Galway. The Export Centre was established to develop the growing Collection Development and Library Services market 

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  • 2000 - In January, Kennys opened an office in Tokyo
  • 2000 - In May, Mrs. Kenny was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of Law from National Council for Education Awards
  • 2000 - Kennys were the winner of the DHL Exporter Of The Year award. "Kennys Book Export Company was awarded title of DHL Exporter of the year because it was one of Ireland's true exporting pioneers." Peter Lomax - Managing Director DHL Worldwide Express
  • 2003 - Kennys begin cataloguing their stock using OCLC records. To date, we have 350,000 books catalogued to US Library of Congress standards and on sale, viewable at www.kennys.ie
  • 2004 - Kennys introduce a shopping cart to their website. Customers can now shop online for new or out-of-print books and original art
  • 2005 - St. Patrick's Day - Kennys launch Kennys Irish Bookshop, a new site dedicated solely to our online bookstore with a particular focus on books of Irish interest
  • 2005 - Arts Week - Kennys launch The Kenny Gallery, a new site dedicated solely to our art gallery
  • 2005 - In September - Kennys announce moving their High Street Bookshop completely online and unveil plans to relocate the Art Gallery
  • 2005 - The announcement generated considerable reaction from customers and the general public alike including the following article from Apollo Gallery in Dublin: Kennys Bookshop To Close its Doors and Move Online on their website
  • 2006 - January 14th is the end of an era as Kennys move their High Street Bookshop online. Rosita Boland's article in the Irish Times Magazine - The Next Chapter says it all
  • 2006 - March - The entire High Street/Middle Street building is transformed into the largest commercial Art Gallery in Ireland
  • 2008 - Maureen Kenny passed away peacefully on March 25th. There were many tributes to her 65 years behind the counter in Kennys:
    • RTÉ - Michael D Higgins TD speaks on the News at One
    • The Irish Times - Maureen Kenny Obituary
    • The Irish Times - Writers and artists at Kennys' bookshop founder's funeral
    • The Sunday Independent - Maureen Kenny - Pioneering owner of Bookshop that became a must-see for Galway visitors
    • The Galway Advertiser - Sowing seeds for 1,000 artists
    • The Galway Advertiser - Remembering Mrs Kenny
    • The Galway Advertiser - Maureen Kenny - the doyenne of Galway booksellers passes away
    • The Connacht Tribune - Passing of Maureen Kenny
  • 2008 - July - Kennys open new Bookshop in Liosbán
  • 2009 - January - The Kenny Gallery relocates to Liosbán Retail Park
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Kennys Bookshop  Bookshop Interior


  • 2020 - Kennys are celebrating 80 years in business! 
  • 2020 - February: President Michael D. Higgins launches the first exhibition of the year at Kennys, John Behan's 'Migrants', also part of the calendar of Galway 2020 events 
  • 2020 - March: Kennys feature on RTÉ Nationwide 
  • 2020 - March: Due to Covid-19, Kennys retail bookshop and art gallery close to the public for 3 months, and reopen when restrictions allow
  • 2020 - June: As Covid-19 restrictions ease, the bookshop and art gallery reopens to the public
  • 2020 - August: Kennys partner up with Tramp Press to launch a Special Limited Edition of Doireann ní Ghríofa's book, 'A Ghost in the Throat'
  • 2020 - October: A movement into Level 5 restrictions means the shop and art gallery must close again to the public
  • 2020 - November 29th: Kennys celebrates its 80th birthday - 80 years to the day since Maureen and Des Kenny first opened the doors
  • 2020 - December: The shop reopens again to the public for the month of December, before the country moves into lockdown
  • 2021 - May: Kennys Bookshop & Art Gallery reopen once again to the public, as non-essential retail is allowed to reopen
  • 2021 - November: Tom Kenny's book, The Old Galway Diary, featuring a selection of the Old Galway columns from The Galway Advertiser, and which he co-wrote with Ronnie O'Gorman, is launched
  • 2021 - November: Kennys Bookshop wins the An Post Irish Bookshop of the Year 2021 at the Irish Book Awards - in the inaugural year of this particular award
  • 2022 - February: Kennys launch a Limited Edition of Colm Tóibín's first collection of poetry, Vinegar Hill, with publishers Carcanet
  • 2022 - February: Kennys listed as a finalist for the Independent Bookshop of the Year in the region of Ireland, for the 2022 British Book Awards 
  • 2022 - March: Tomás Kenny shortlisted for Individual Bookseller of the Year, for the 2022 British Book Awards
  • 2022 - March: Kennys launch a Limited Edition of Sara Baume's Seven Steeples with Tramp Press and of Louise Kennedy's Trespasses with Bloomsbury
  • 2022 - October: Tom Kenny awarded the University of Galway Alumni Award 2022 for Arts, Literature and Celtic Studies. The annual awards celebrate leaders who have demonstrated impact and excellence in their fields on a local, national and international level 
  • 2023 - March: Entire bookshop fitted with new shelving 
  • 2023 - July: The Kenny Gallery celebrates 55 years holding exhibitions
  • 2023 - August: Tom Kenny's Old Galway exhibition takes place in The Kenny Gallery - over 40 photographs of Old Galway city - in celebration of his 50th year writing on Old Galway for the Galway Advertiser 
  • 2023 - September: Kennys celebrate 70 years of working with artist Kenneth Webb, with a new exhibition of paintings 'Webb - 70 Years at Kennys'

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Kennys Bookshop Infographic

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Welcome to Kennys.ie - the online bookstore of Kennys Bookshop, Galway, Ireland. Fáilte go Kennys.ie.

We ship books to over 120 countries every year, with free delivery within Ireland on all orders!

Find over 1 million new, secondhand and rare books on our website – including all the latest bestsellers and most popular books, kids books, fiction and non-fiction books, biographies, cookbooks, history, leabhair Ghaeilge and much more! We also have thousands of cheap books for less than €5!

Plus, if you’re looking for book recommendations and ideas on what books to read, take a look at Des Kenny’s Book Club. We also provide a service in Irish - is féidir séirbhís a fháil trí Ghaeilge le Kennys.

Get great value, huge choice and personal customer service from our staff when online book shopping on Kennys.ie!