Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Tin House Coffee and The Little Free Library

"The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library." So said Albert Einstein. I would add bookshops, especially second-hand bookshops, to this sentiment. Fortunately I have a built-in radar and compass, which invariably lead me to these wonderful places when I visit new locations.

For instance, when I was in Northern Ireland a few months ago, I enjoyed coffee with my family at Tin House Coffee in Porterdown.

 The friendly staff and congenial customers made us welcome. My husband had an interesting chat with a missionary who had worked in Malawi. And when we knocked over a caffè latte, making a milky puddle on the floor and strewing glass splinters everywhere, a smiling member of the staff cleaned up the mess and replaced the latte free of charge.

Sophie and Emma rendered excellent service.

Our coffee was delicious too, and, as if that wasn't enough, a board displayed other benefits of drinking coffee.

Quotes from the Bible and one of my favorite authors, CS Lewis, decorated the walls. Old doors, full of character, were crafted into tables which added to the charm of the coffee shop.

Our table

Beautiful old lock on our table

Students chilling at a door table
 So what has this coffee shop got to do with libraries? Well, my compass, true to form, had led me to a library. The delightful little library, pictured below, sat on one of the counters.

I really liked this little library
Of course I couldn't resist the temptation, so I borrowed a book—Secret Believers—autographed by the authors, Brother Andrew and Al Janssen. What an amazing find!

I agree with Albert Einstein that libraries are absolutely important, but as I read through this post again, it struck me that coffee shops are also important happy finds for me. If I lived in Porterdown, Tin House Coffee would be my favourite haunt for writing, inspiration and good coffee.

What do you look for when you visit a new location? Have you found any unusual libraries, bookshops or coffee shops?


  1. Loved this, Ruth. What a lovely place to visit, and what super photos to accompany the article!

  2. In Korea we found a resort that had little libraries like this on the playground, in your room, in the restaurants and even in the public bathrooms! Too bad they were all in Korean. Never saw such a commitment to books in life.

    1. Wow that is amazing! Thank you for sharing thisw.

  3. Love these photos. Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. Lucky you--a great coffee shop, books, and Ireland, too! Thank you for this wonderful post!

    1. You're very welcome. I see you have a lovely Irish surname.

    2. Yes, my husband's ancestors are from Donegal.