Blog posts of '2023' 'August'

What’s in a name? Why we chose Sheelagh na Gig as our bookshop name
What’s in a name? Why we chose Sheelagh na Gig as our bookshop name

We couldn’t agree on any name. 

Mollie hated anything that Liz suggested. And we didn’t like anything Mollie thought of, either. We rejected The Living Room, The Reading Room, The Emporium, Barrow & OShea, The Bookshop, The Cloughjordan Bookshop... .

Mollie said, ‘there must be something mythological that would suit us.’ Morrigan Books? She went through all sorts of mythology books on what was available and looked at the wonders of the 2005 internet. One day at work in the office, possibly inspired by her cubicle mate, whose playlist was laden with PJ Harvey songs, she thought of sheela na gig.

Mollie rang Liz and said, ‘what about sheela na gig?’ Yes, definitely yes – because of PJ Harvey’s Sheela-na-Gig, because in the beginning we also sold music, and because in Galway, fadó fadó, there was a Sheela-na-Gig bookshop where Charlie Byrne’s now lives. Liz bought her copy of Mary Condren’s The Serpent and the Goddess (1989 edition) in Sheelag-na-Gig bookshop Galway. 

We agreed to go with the old-style English-language spelling: Sheelagh na Gig. We don’t remember why – but Mollie says Liz suggested it, and that’s probably true. Exactly why Liz thought that spelling was a good idea is, like so much about sheela-na-gigs, lost to the mists of time.


PJ Harvey: Sheela-na-Gig