Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

Kennys Bookshop and Art Gallery

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Type  Private
Opened  1940
Industry  Bookselling
Founders  Des Kenny, Maureen Kenny
Founded  1940; 77 years ago (1940) in Galway, Ireland
Similar  St Nicholas' Collegiat, Galway City Museum, Spanish Arch, Eyre Square, Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed

Kennys Bookshop & Art Gallery is a longstanding bookshop in Galway, Ireland. The business was established in 1940 by Des Kenny and Maureen Kenny, firstly as a bookshop and lending library, and later as a bookshop and art gallery.



Though originally established as a bookshop in 1940, the Kenny family later developed the business by turning to Irish crafts and art - as there were few shops selling items such as rugs, sweaters, baskets, and ceramics at the time. Artists brought paintings and sculpture. For example, Kenneth Webb first showed his paintings there in 1953. In 1968, the artworks were given a dedicated exhibition area. The Kenny family converted their own living room into an art gallery and provided the west of Ireland with its first art gallery, opening their home to art lovers from around the world. The first exhibition was by artist Sean Keating and the gallery has hosted several hundred since and has held works by artists such as George Campbell, Louis le Brocquy, John Behan, Paul Guilfoyle, Bernadette Madden, Pádraic Reaney, John Minihan and Kenneth Webb. Artworks by Andy Warhol and Salvador Dalí have been exhibited. Over the years, various literary figures have visited Kennys Bookshop - including Allen Ginsberg, Andrei Voznesensky, Margaret Attwood, Jung Chang and Thomas Keneally. In 2006, Kennys moved their bookshop to a larger premises outside of the centre of Galway city. The High Street/Middle Street building was developed into the largest commercial art gallery in Ireland for a time. In 2008, the Kennys re-launched a large bookshop in Liosban Retail Park, Galway, joined in 2009 by the art gallery branch of the business. As of 2016, both the bookshop and art gallery continue at the Liosban location. Journalist and local historian William Henry noted:

"In 2009, Kenny’s realised they were selling more books online than they were in the High Street Shop. Because of this they decided to move to Liosbán Retail Park about a mile away. While this outlet may not have had the character of the inner city building, it certainly is a labyrinth of treasures in books and wonderful art. The Kennys are still retailing in books and have done a great deal to capture the atmosphere of the old shop with a host of book launches and readings."

In November 2015 Kennys Bookshop & Art Gallery celebrated its 75th birthday. The occasion was celebrated with an exhibition of photographs, artworks, artefacts and ephemera entitled '75|75', and curated by Dean Kelly.

Kenny Family

Desmond was a Galwegian, the son of journalist Thomas Kenny who had founded the "The Connacht Tribune" in 1909. Maureen, a native of Mohill, County Leitrim won a scholarship to attend University College Galway where she studied Commerce. On her first day in UCG, she met Desmond who was studying Arts. Though both have now died, their family continue to run the business. Their children include Tom Kenny, Des Kenny, Monica Rigney, Karen Golden, Conor Kenny, Maureen Kenny and Jane Hogan.


Kennys Bookshop & Art Gallery Wikipedia

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