Brought to you by Inanna Rare Books.
For a book lover, this is the day trip of dreams.
Nestled in the West Cork town of Skibbereen, a handsome historic building has been given a careful makeover, readying it to become home to stacks of incredibly rare books from all over the world.
The latest outpost of Inanna Rare Books opens at The Masonic Hall in Skibbereen on Saturday, December 16th, 2023, revealing the storied interior of a building that has been under lock and key for decades.
Built in 1863, the building was once known as The Lecture Hall. Interestingly, it was the setting for the great unveiling of the Magnetic Telegraph in October of that year; Frederick P.E Potter printed telegrams for a captivated audience as they came in from Cork.
Now that the space is about to be filled with books and curiosities once again, it’s creating quite the buzz about town; even the local tradespeople who helped to complete the project had never set foot inside the place.
Here’s a sneak peek at the space, which you can be among the first to see this weekend:
With near 7ft ceilings, the building has been fitted with more than a kilometre of custom shelving created by carpenter JP Simpson from Big Man Tiny Homes, who has worked with Inanna Rare Books for almost two decades, bringing the brand’s bookshop-building dreams to life.
Each shelf will be filled with rare and secondhand books on philosophy, poetry, literature, travel and exploration, Irish history, law, economics, rare cookery books, books on natural history and science.
It’s another triumph for bookseller Holger Smyth and his business partner Andoni Aboitiz, who together have created some marvellously characterful buildings for their portfolio.
Inanna Modern, the bookshop’s new art department, is housed in The Still Mill in Skibbereen, where a special marketplace and meeting spot for readers interested in art books awaits.
Holger and his partner Nicola, who runs West Cork’s first strictly plant-based coffee shop and deli The Time Traveller’s Bookshop at Antiquity Vegan Café on Skibbereen’s Bridge Street, are rolling out a plan to entice off-season visitors to the town.
“Skibbereen now has three bookshops, it’s Ireland’s secret rare book town and we’ve been working to make it possible for book lovers to visit on long weekends, Sundays, and evenings,” Holger told us.
Planning for the annual West Cork Rare Book Fair in August is also underway, with three locations all over town to explore during the growing event.
Their fabulously unusual bookshops will be open seven days a week all year ’round, keeping late hours on Thursdays so more customers can nip down at a convenient time.
Inanna Rare Books at The Masonic Hall, Skibbereen opens this Saturday from 10am to 6pm. It’s open late on Thursdays (until 9pm) and also on Sundays from 11am to 4pm all year ’round.
Inanna Rare Books – Modern Art Department is open from Monday to Friday between 2pm and 6pm, Thursdays until 9pm, Saturdays from 10am to 6pm and Sundays from 11am to 4pm in The Still Mill (P81 DY75), Skibbereen.