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19th Sep 2023

‘Time for a new chapter’ Gutter Bookshop owner to sell business after 14 years

Katy Thornton

“We have accomplished more than I ever dreamed of.”

Any Dubliner who loves to read, or simply loves to browse bookshop and add to their ever-growing TBR pile, will surely know of the recognisable, almost Shrek-green exterior that is The Gutter Bookshop. There are two stores in Dublin, one on Cow Lane in Temple Bar, and another in Dalkey, and named after an Oscar Wilde quote – “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars” – this feels like one of the most quintessentially Irish bookstores in the country.

I have personally spent hours perusing the shelves, own mugs and tote bags, as well as countless books from both stores, which is what makes this news so bittersweet.

Bob of The Gutter Bookshop has released a lengthy statement revealing his plans to sell the business after 14 years of trade.

You can read the entire statement on The Gutter Bookshop website, detailing the store’s humble beginnings in Cow Lane, its launch during Ireland’s recession, how word of mouth and their loyal customers led to the success of their book club events, and how four years in they opened a pop up that never popped down in Dalkey. It’s a really lovely read for anyone who has frequented either bookshop for as long as I have.

“Time for a new chapter”

As for the decision to sell, Bob said the following:

“When you start a small business you just hope that you can make it survive. You hope that you can keep it going, whatever the world throws at you, and you hope that someday you will actually make a profit and be able to pay yourself a decent wage. You also hope that, when the time is right, you can find someone who will continue to make it work and continue with all that effort that you put into building your business. For me, that time is now.”

Bob revealed this was always meant to be a decade long project, and after years of working 6-7 days a week, on top of feeling burnt out, covid restrictions leading to lockdowns, and huge amounts of stress, he has decided it is time to move onto a new chapter – literally, as he hopes to return to working on his novel.

Luckily for us bibliophiles, The Gutter will continue on as Dubray Books are officially taking over from Bob.

Although we are gutted to hear this news, we’re glad that both stores will keep their name under the new ownership. As per Bob’s statement, Dubray will “retain [the] name and brand, so ‘The Gutter’ [can] continue to exist.”

So those gorgeous little trips to Gutter don’t have to end. As for Bob, we wish him all the best for the future, and look forward to reading his novel one day.

Header images via Twitter & Instagram / Gutter Bookshop 


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