An Introduction to Clódhanna Teoranta and An Siopa Leabhar
Clódhanna Teoranta (also Clódhanna Ltd. and An Cló-Chumann) was set up in 1908 by Conradh na Gaeilge to “deal with the growing number of circulars, pamphlets, and books of all kinds” produced by the Gaelic League.
It continued in this role for the better part of fifteen years though largely having ceased publishing by the early 1920s. This saw the beginning of a quiet period in Clódhanna Teoranta’s publishing output (all the while, An Gúm was founded in 1926 as a central, state-affiliated and prolific publisher of works in Irish). In 1948, the literary magazine Feasta (www.feasta.ie) was founded as a unit of Clódhanna Teoranta to provide a platform for discussion of all sorts of topics in the Irish language.
While based at 24 O’Connell Street, Conradh na Gaeilge had a bookshop (see image) for "cross-counter sales" of its own publications. There had also been a shop at Conradh na Gaeilge’s headquarters in Number 6 Harcourt Street since it moved into the building in 1966.
An Siopa Leabhar (then An Siopa Ceilteach) was officially opened on 31 July 1975. This was during Pádraig Ó Snodaigh's reign as President of Conradh na Gaeilge and while Clódhanna Teoranta was experiencing a significant period in production of published works – thanks in no small part to Donnchadh Ó Súilleabháin. A specific outlet for publications in Irish was badly needed by this time, as it was quite difficult to access Irish-language publications in other bookshops. An Siopa Leabhar was set up to give access to Irish-language literature, publications in Irish, and a range of titles about other Celtic languages as they became available.
Since its inception, An Siopa Leabhar has become a central element of the Irish-language literary scene and a reliable source of Irish-language materials for readers and learners of the language, as well as schools and libraries, book clubs, conversation groups, youth groups, and much more.
'An Siopa Leabhar' is still part of Clódhanna Teoranta – and 'Clódhanna' might appear on your bank statement if you've paid by card in the shop. While it is linked to Conradh na Gaeilge and indeed is based in the Conradh’s headquarters, An Siopa Leabhar is itself a limited company and does not have charity status.