A ‘Bookshop Airbnb’ In West Cork – Quaint, Unique And Dreamy!

Did someone carry out a survey after the hit 1999 romantic comedy Notting Hill that starred Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant? For if there was a survey, I reckon it would have registered quite an increase in the number of people wanting to turn booksellers, if not dating someone who owned a bookstore outright! Now, if you’re the sort of a person who thinks heaven is a bookstore or a bookshop with a café, where good coffee (or chai) is served all day long, while a dog lies at your feet – you’ve hit the lottery.

For this lovely bookshop in Skibbereen, West Cork known as ‘Antiquity Plant Based Café & The Timetravellers Bookshop‘ is offering you a perfect opportunity. It has announced that it is now “both an Airbnb rental and a bookshop/coffee-shop.” And that it will let travellers from around the world live out their bookseller fantasies.

The interior of the bookshop - with books, café and a woman behind the counter
The café with plant-based-food & juice-bar at the Antiquity Bookshop.

Intrigued? Here’s more information. The Skibbereen-based bookshop is offering travellers an apartment that is located above the bookstore, and those who rent it out can also opt for an experience that gets them behind the counter. Guests will have volunteers helping them run the shop!

What they promise certainly sounds unique and one of its kind. Sample this. You can spend a week or two in the beautiful West Cork market town of Skibbereen and dip into the world of running a bookstore – without having to commit to becoming a business owner.

Nicola J. Smyth, antiquarian bookdealer and the owner of the bookstore tells travel2ireland that ever since she put up the announcement, the response has been overwhelming: “We have got inquiries from the world over – from the US, Canada, Australia, Italy, Israel, France, and Germany to name a few. There are so many bibliophiles, and travellers who are looking for unique experiences like these.

The apartment is being renovated and will be available from December 1. What we will be offering will be two distinct experiences. One is about being able to rent the apartment above the bookshop on its own – basically giving people the experience and charm of what it is to live above a working bookshop. Another is about having the additional opportunity to run the bookstore. Everyone who books that experience will receive relevant training.”

Plus there’s more, says Nicola. “We have partnered with another lovely bookstore called Inanna Rare Books. So that our guests can enjoy an additional bookstore, browse the shelves here as well at Inanna, and benefit from what Inanna offers as well. There’s a book fair that is organised every first Sunday of the month, and every thing put together – the stay, the book fair, the book shop tours – is going to be a book heaven for bibliophile travellers.”

The experience starts at 150 Euros per day, and those eager for more information can contact the bookstore and Nicola at [email protected].

You see a woman behind the counter of a café and coffee shop of a bookstore - there are cups and kettles and boards - all very colourful and bright
Nicola says that her café is the first strictly plant-based (vegan) food-place in West Cork with a wonderful following of local people and regular visitors from abroad. People come here for the atmosphere, the food and the books.

More details, including the exact pricing, and how to book the apartment and the bookshop experience will be up on Antiquity’s website soon.

If you are in West Cork, it would also be a good idea to attend the new monthly West Cork Rare Book Fair event – the one with which Antiquity Bookshop is partnering with. At this fair, Inanna Rare Books and several other professional bookdealers (varying from Sunday to Sunday) will be offering for sale a large selection of rare books, secondhand books, maps, art and photography, manuscripts, ephemera, vinyl records, postcards and more.

The sound of this bibliophile holiday that is infused with the scent of books has certainly caught my attention. And I am all sold on the prospect of leaving ‘happy, healthy and with a book’ as Nicola says on her website: “You can spend time browsing our shelves while drinking a cup of tea, coffee or a fresh juice. You will leave here healthy and happy and I would be very surprised if you would not also find a nice book you want to take home!”

If you’re equally excited by what’s on offer, you know where to plan your next holiday to. And when you do, remember to send us pictures!

Prerna Shah
Prerna Shah
Prerna Shah is a media and content professional with over a decade of experience in both print as well as digital. She pursues her love of a good story and storytelling by writing features, blogs, essays and interviews.

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