•Visit a historic independent bookshop named after a William Butler Yeats poem
•Don’t miss a seasonal lunch at the café upstairs, with views of the Liffey and the Ha’ Penny Bridge
The Ha’Penny Bridge is possibly Dublin’s best-known landmark—so called because when it was opened in 1816, people who wanted to cross it had to pay half a penny. Shaped in an elliptical arch, it spans the Liffey River from the cobblestones of Temple Bar to the busy thoroughfare of Ormond Quay. And right there on the waterfront at the end of the bridge is the wonderful Winding Stair Bookshop. Named after a William Butler Yeats poem, the Winding Stair holds a dear place in many Dubliners’ hearts. For decades it was a bookshop and café spanning two floors where writers, students, and creative types (the office of the popular In Dublin magazine was in the basement) would hang out amid the dusty hardbacks and savor the quintessentially Dublin view of the bridge and river beyond. In 2005 the place was revamped and a lovely restaurant opened on the second floor, serving food straight from local producers. The independent bookstore is still there (now just on the ground floor), with floor-to-ceiling shelves filled with titles—new books at the front, second-hand tomes in the back. Grab one of the two tables beside the window and settle in with a cup of coffee to people-watch, or climb the stairs (they are indeed winding) to the restaurant and pore over your new book purchases with a glass of crisp white and a dish of whiskey-cured salmon, pickled cockles, and fennel-and-apple salad. The shelves in this room may now be filled with wine bottles rather than well-thumbed books but that view of the bridge is exactly the same.
The Winding Stair Bookshop is on Ormond Quay Lower, a street that follows the banks of the River Liffey. You’ll find it on the corner where Liffey St. Lower approaches the river. You’ll easily be able to spot the bright yellow building and green storefront from a distance.
WINDING STAIR BOOKSHOP: 40 Ormond Quay Lower; +353-(0)1-872-6576; winding-stair.com