The bright blue-and-gold façade on otherwise unremarkable D’Olier Street lures you into Books Upstairs. This is one of the many independent bookstores that keep Dublin’s credentials as a literary capital alive. Owner Maurice Earls is not catering to the masses with bestsellers, instead, his edit is for the kind of reader who wants to delve into something memorable, some of it new, a lot of it old. It’s not the fanciest bookseller around (the red carpet is a bit jarring), but it oozes the quiet personality of an independent business—posters from Earls’s own collection dot the walls, every surface piled high with titles. Light streams through the original stained-glass windows at the upstairs café, the rickety seats always occupied by bookworms young and old, the occasional writer, and more often than not, Earls himself.

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