Customer Reviews and Testimonials

views of shop10Although sales are important, we prioritize a high-quality customer experience above all else. Charlie Byrne’s isn’t a shop you can pop into for a quick visit (though many have tried and failed!) It’s a shop that’s made for rainy Saturdays, lazy Sundays, and days when there’s all the time in the world to browse, or to grab a comfortable seat and sample a book before you buy it. Unthreatened by the digital age and the advent of the much-dreaded Kindle, Charlie Byrne’s keeps up with current trends in the book industry while remaining faithful to the original ethos upon which it was founded: a simple love for the written word. In that sense, we offer our customers a precious opportunity to step back in time and focus on the unique connection between reader and book.

Here are some reviews from our customers:

“What to say about Charlie Byrne’s? One can talk of the books – thousands and thousands of books on every conceivable subject – covering walls and tables and over flowing into the arcade. The Claregalwaywindows dressed to suit every city or national occasion, but above all it’s the people – the natives and the tourists marvelling at their discovery of such a place, the children sitting rapt in their own special section and then there are our helpful smiling friends, Charlie and his people tending to all our literary needs, what a heaven!” – Dr. Noel O’Neill

“I love Charlie Byrne’s because of its once a month book club. It also has great cook books if you like to cook. I myself go in there a lot and it is by far the best in the world. The best staff there are Ruth, Michaela and the tall guy with the beard.” – Fiona Molly MacAskill, aged 10

“I feel like I’m in book heaven! Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop is unbelievable; I have never seen so many books at one glance!” – Alex from Germany

“I love the sense of new and old books. Very perfectly displayed, very friendly and polite staff and the minute you walk in the store you forget about the rest of the world. It’s a wonderful place here -  I don’t know what we would do without it!” – Yvonne Barrett

“I used to go to Easons and look at the top 20 but it was always about the latest soccer players, celebrities etc.  So now I come to Charlie Byrne’s and see the REAL books that are recommended!” – A. Matthews

“I was never in a book shop like this before, choices, choices, choices.” – Nat, Dublin

“Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop is not just a bookshop; it is a Galway institution. As a student I would get lost for hours in the wonderful mix of books. I could always afford something to bring home with me, as their prices are so reasonable. Now that I am a parent my daughter’s weekend is not complete without a visit to the wonderful story time with Ruth and Michaela. We always bring back another book for the shelves, building her love of reading and creating memories to treasure.” – Fiona McNulty

Cuirt bookshopTo all at Charlie Byrne’s, this is just a small gift to thank you for the wonderful opportunity you’ve given me, and to all the staff who have made my week so enjoyable. I have been so lucky to work with such great people. You were all so friendly and witty and I will miss working with you. I was too awkward to say a lot of this in person, but you’ve made me so happy in letting me work in one of my favourite places in the world. Thanks again.” -  Laura, work experience student

“My son is a member of the children’s 9-11 book club and it is easily his favourite hour of the whole month. We are so grateful to Ruth for instilling such a wonderful gift in him, the love of the written word.” – Camilla and Alan Hussey

“It’s like the tardis, bigger on the inside than you would think possible and capable of some strange type of time travel, hours can go by in the blink of an eye.” – Catherine Bleahan

“I wouldn’t mind being locked in Charlie Byrnes for a night – cosy and lots of books about everything!!!” – Angela Duffy

“Comfy chairs, vintage comics, second-hand treasures, titles you don’t see anywhere else, the Saturday warehouse is a warren of discovery…I could go on and on…” – Ester Kiely

“Cycling to Charlie Byrnes on a sat morning for story time with my son Fionn singing on the back of the bike. This year Fionn will be cycling himself and my son Dara will be on the back of the bike singing his way into Charlie Byrnes bookshop.” – Geraldine O’Rourke

“I nearly always find what I want in Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop, but if I don’t, I usually find something I didn’t even know I wanted! It’s a labyrinth of literature!” – Sue Bradley

“I used to bring in books when I ran out of room in my house, only to find on more than one occasion I wanted to reread something and ended up buying back books with my name in them.” – Geraldine Marten

lib“I come every few years from the US to buy stacks of Yeats critiques. Charlie Byrne’s is the best bookstore in Ireland!” – Lisa Pierce Knight

“A favourite memory of mine was buying a Ken Bruen book (in which the shop featured) from Vinny (who’s an occasional character in his Jack Taylor series), while Ken Bruen himself was chatting to somebody in the corner. A tad surreal/meta…” – MacDara De Búrca

What Writers, Publishers, and Arts Professionals Say:

“This is the best bookshop in Ireland. My friends from Dublin and Cork always say ‘the thing I want to do in Galway is get to Charlie Byrne’s’. I find things here – new, remaindered, secondhand, that I have been looking for or wishing I had, and more that I didn’t know about. The staff are brilliant; knowledgeable, enthusiastic and friendly. There is a great atmosphere. Sometimes I think it would be good to just move in permanently.” – Prof. Catherine LaFarge

“Charlie’s is a unique institution, a bookshop that gives books if you can’t afford them. A place of utter friendship and warmth. A store that is so much of the Galway landscape that even the swans are turned in its direction.” –Ken Bruen, Edgar Award-winning crime writer

“Charlie Byrne’s was the only bookshop in Galway I could find my novel in when I was there attending the writers’ festival [Cúirt 2014]. Not only had I heard from the bookshop on social media months before that visit, when I went in there, I was uplifted by the engagement from the staff and their passionate interest in the literature they sell. Charlie Byrne is my favourite bookshop in the entire world and since I live in North America and go to many writers’ festivals I have encountered many, many bookshops. The staff are wonderful and they actually give a feck about quality literary work and poetry. This is much rarer than we realize. It’s practically extinct. I would be perfectly happy to be buried in Charlie Byrne’s after my time is up.” –Anakana Schofield, author of Malarky and Martin John

book club“Charlie Byrne’s is more than a bookshop. It’s a community. It supports local and emerging writers, with loads of events. Their Culture Night reading is a particular favourite of mine. The staff have such a wealth of friendliness and knowledge. It’s like a massive sitting room, and is a place where people meet and browse and find new homes for old and new stories alike. They’d been so supportive of my books from very early on. It’s a resource Galway is blessed to have.” –Deirdre Sullivan, author of the Prim Improper series and Needlework

“The outside world falls away when I enter this labyrinthine book-world… I found some of my most important books here – an essay on Rodin by Rilke published in 1946, Winter Pollen by Ted Hughes, Camus’s essays – all come upon unexpectedly. The staff know books and readers intuitively and they simply place in our paths gems that beckon to us as we move along the hushed aisles and passageways.” – Mary Costello, author of Academy Street

“As a customer growing up in Galway, I always loved the range of books on offer in Charlie Byrne’s, and never came out of the shop with fewer than six at a time. I never felt bad because they were such a bargain and I sold on lots of my old books too in their brilliant credit system, so it felt like I was part of a cultural exchange. As an independent publisher, Tramp Press sees Charlie Byrne’s as an important cultural nexus. We know readers see it as more than a shop, and that recommendations from the Charlie or his team have more clout. The staff are knowledgeable and friendly, and have always shown us incredible support, from stocking our titles before anyone had heard of us, to window displays and posters now that we’re established.” – Lisa Coen, publisher, Tramp Press

“Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop has been in partnership with the Cúirt International Festival of Literature since 1989. The team at Charlie’s act as advisors, ambassadors, and hosts for the festival. During the festival, part of the bookshop relocates to the festival venues, making sure our audiences have access to books by visiting authors. Outside of festival times, Charlie’s is a hub where authors read and where the literary world of our city meet, talk, and debate the merits of books and reading.” –Paraic Breathnach, Director of the Galway Arts Centre

IMG_20140115_102221-1024x768“Being a writer, I really appreciate Charlie Byrne’s bookshop. When my first novel was published in 2015, Charlie’s were right there beside me through the entire process. They organised the launch, told people about my book and generally waved a flag for me. Later on, my book featured at their book club for young readers. It made me feel very supported. I have been going into Charlie’s since it opened. As a reader, it is everything I could ask for in a shop. I took my children there from the moment they could hold a book. It it fantastic now to see my own books there. Charlie Byrne’s shop has become part of the fabric of Galway society. We wouldn’t be the same without it.” – Patricia Forde, author of The Wordsmith