The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

WoWasis visits the Irish Rover bookstore in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Written By: herbrunbridge - Feb• 01•13

Here at WoWasis, we just love used bookstores. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd here’s a great one we discovered in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It’s called the Irish Rover Bookstore and Café, and sure enough the personable proprietor, John McCoy, is Irish. Here’s what he has to say about his bookstore:

“There are many Chinese tourists here this year. In fact there are as many Asian tourists as Caucasian which must indicate a shift in things. I’ve had many Chinese coming into my shop as besides the books we have a cafe serving fresh fruit juices/shakes, fresh coconuts, local teas and coffee and also now BBQ.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“It’s always been mainly a bookshop, and when I started here back in 1997 there were just two of us here in Chiangmai, me here at Irish Rover and Richard over at Lost Bookshop. Richard became a good friend of mine and would occasionally come here for a fruit shake and I would go to his shop for an afternoon tea, Richard unfortunately died recently and his shop was taken over by another bookshop. There are now so many used bookshops in Chiangmai, the changes here over the last 15 years would take a lot of describing.

“What I have liked most about running the bookshop/cafe is the variety of people I meet, and of course the variety of books and trading and discussing books. I probably don’t have so many books as some of the newer stores that seem to have an endless supply, but because I get all of my books by trading with individuals or from the odd yard sale here from foreigners returning home, I would say my collection is more interesting.

I also have local writers here occasionally, including Sean Bunzick who lives locally, and James G. Cullinane (Biography: Arses & Elbows), C.Woww (Losing the Plot, set in Bangkok), Michael La Rocca (Rising from the Ashes, set in Chiangmai), and Jim Goodman who has written about and taken the most beautiful photos of local hill tribe people both here and in Yunnan, China.”

Location:  The Irish Rover is on Soi 6, behind Somphet Market, a colorful vegetable and fruit market, and is a place to relax and have a drink and meet people, while browsing the books. A big part of the fun is meeting John McCoy.

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  1. John McCoy has an update. He writes: We are concentrating more on the food now than the books. The Irish Rover restaurant is in a traditional teak house run by Jeab and John. The vegetables are organically grown and delivered fresh daily from the King’s Royal Project at Chiang Mai university. All dishes are freshly cooked by Jeab. People love her large portions and her friendly ambience. Some of my favourite dishes are the Full English all day Breakfast at 120 Baht and the Massamun curry at 60 Baht. Accompanied by a delicious range of salads, vegetables and fruit smoothies (not to mention the fresh coconuts and coconut shakes). There is a good Vegetarian Menu, among the most popular being Pineapple Fried Rice, Mango Sticky Rice, Vegetable Jungle Curry and Pad Tai. And last but not least, other most requested dishes include the famous Thai Tom Yum soup and Kao Soy noodle. With seating both inside and outside, the restaurant has a warm and friendly atmosphere with many regular customers.

  2. jim spillane says:

    I’m trying to get in contact with Jim Goodman. We met in 1995 in Lijiang and went to Zhondian together.
    If you know his phone number, please contact me today or call Jim and ask him to call me at the J.J. Guesthouse at 53 208 698.
    I leave Chiang Mai tomorrow, Wednesday.
    Thanks, jim

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