Shopping in Dublin City
I grew up in Athy, a Heritage Town in County Kildare, a town that could cater for all you needs but when it came to shopping there was nothing more exciting than hopping on the train whose final destination was the ‘Big Smoke’ otherwise known as Dublin City. As a young teenager, I went shopping in Dublin City a handful of times throughout the year. Either with friends to go clothes shopping or with my brothers and sister to go Christmas shopping. I have memories of traipsing around Temple Bar and Georges Street Arcade looking for vintage clothing. I’ve even earlier memories of the last-minute spending of my last few pounds buying badges or whatnot from the trader on O’Connell Bridge before we’d hop on the 90 bus back to Heuston Station. I remember my brother buying a load of posters in the Virgin Megastore just to get rid of his last few pound, for who knows what would happen should he return home with money left! It would surely burn a hole in his pocket on the train ride home!
Ten … ahem 15, okay 20 years on and my spending habits have changed. I still, however, love vintage clothing, the shops in Temple Bar and Georges Street Arcade, and I often pass the trader on the O’Connell Bridge, although I doubt it is the same person. Virgin Megastore has long gone but sure so have the posters from our bedroom walls. However minus one store and plus a couple of hundred more and that is the change from those days to now. Dublin is a brilliant shopping city and that’s one thing we can all agree on, and on that note here are my Five Fabulous Reasons to go Shopping in Dublin City, in no particular order.
With weather like ours it’s nice to be able to go shopping without getting soaked to the bone so the fact that Dublin has decent Shopping Centres both North and South of the Liffey is a bonus that most cities can’t boast about. On the north side of the Liffey is the Jervis Shopping Centre and the Ilac Shopping Centre, both in close proximity to each other and accessible from in and around Henry Street.
On the south side of the Liffey is the Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre at the top of Grafton Street and the Powerscourt Centre, on South William Street. Each of the Shopping Centres have parking facilities and food courts or restaurants. Each offer a variety of shops, to suit all tastes and budgets, from Irish to International Designers, and Irish to International High Street favourites.
Dublin City has great Department Stores, both north and south of the Liffey, which makes department store shopping in Dublin City very handy. On the north side is Arnotts and Debenhams both on Henry Street. Up until 2015 Clery’s on O’Connell Street, held its own but unfortunately closed its doors in the same year. I would however ‘watch this space’ because the latest news is that a reopening is on the horizon, and for those who reminisce about meeting their sweethearts under Clery’s Clock over the years, you’ll be happy to know that the clock will survive the redevelopment that is planned for this amazing building that has stood on O’Connell Street since the 1800’s. On the south side is Brown Thomas on Grafton Street. Think designer brands, luxury fashion and accessories, perfume counters and cosmetics. It’s a must visit when in Dublin.
I love all things vintage, clothing, accessories, furniture, you name it, and vintage shopping in Dublin City is thankfully, quite easy. Vintage Fairs are a great place to spot hidden treasures but there are also plenty of Vintage Stores in Dublin City to keep me happy too. Two of the stores I frequented as a teenager and which are still going strong are The Harlequin (just behind the Georges Street Arcade which is home to vintage shop Retro) on Castle Market. Staying in Temple Bar there are lots of vintage stores that will tickle your fancy if you are that way inclined, it’s worth the ramble and be sure to look up as there are lots of stores on different levels of the ancient buildings there.
Looking for designer vintage, well you definitely need to pop into Siopaella, a vintage and consignment store, again in Temple Bar, this time on Crow Street.
In the heart of the Creative Quarter, you’ll find the fabulous store Jenny Vander on Drury Street and Dirty Fabulous who specialise in wedding and occasion wear and accessories (booking is essential though) on Wicklow Street. Spotted around the city you will see lots of Secondhand Stores like Oxfam on Georges Street and The Irish Cancer Society Shop on Camden Street, where you never know what treasure you could find, and as a bonus the proceeds go to charity.
Irish Designer Boutiques and Stores
Dublin has a huge variety of talented Irish Designers, inclusive of Jewellery Designers, Milliners, Fashion Designers and Homeware Designers. And thankfully it’s easy to find and support many of these talented people when shopping in Dublin City.
One of the main areas of Dublin City that you’ll find this talent is in the Creative Quarter on the south side of the Liffey. The Creative Quarter can be found in and around South William Street, Georges Street, Lower Stephen’s Street and Wicklow Street. There you’ll find the Georges Street Arcade and the aforementioned Powerscourt Centre which houses a host of Design led stores inclusive of the Design Centre, Article, MoMuse and Jean Cronin Vintage & Contemporary. Drury Street is a must for stores like The Irish Design Shop, Industry and Atelier 27. Not too far from the Creative Quarter and a stroll across the road to George’s Street you’ll find Designist, a store I love for all its quirkiness from international and Irish designed kitchen utensils, children’s toys to furniture. A short stroll to Temple Bar and you’ll find The Design House on Temple Lane South, who are all about the promotion of Irish fashion design, jewellery and art.
Outside of this area but also on the south side there is plenty happening in Temple Bar when it comes to Design so it’s worth the ramble. Three places that stand out is Tamp and Stitch, Indigo & Cloth who both tend to predominantly feature International Designers, and the Cow’s Lane Designer Studio which is home to talented Irish Fashion, Accessories, Furniture and Jewellery Designers and more.
A little stroll from the city centre and The Design Tower on Grand Canal Quay is home to talented and award-winning designers, artists and craftspeople. You can find out more by clicking through using the link provided.
For more information on Irish Based Art & Design Shop’s in Ireland, have a read of my ‘Guide to Independent Irish-Based Art, Design & Interiors Shops‘
Dublin City did play host to a number of fantastic markets all year round, not just for Christmas. Market Shopping in Dublin City offered you everything from food to fashion but many offer more, including music and entertainment, making them perfect for days out with family or friends. However in later years a large number of these very wanted markets have lost their homes and so the likes of Pure Vintage Fair, Fusion Sundays Dublin, and The Dublin Flea Market that took place in Newmarket in Dublin 8 have all ended. The Green Door Market which was based in Newmarket and is all about deliciously fresh produce and artisan foods now takes place in the Bluebell Business Centre, Old Naas Rd, Bluebell, Dublin, Dublin 12
Every Saturday in the city centre a Designer Mart is held on Cow’s Lane, Temple Bar. It is hosted by a number of locally based Irish and Irish based International Designers. The Book Market is held in Temple Bar Square and the Temple Bar Food Market is held in Meeting House Square.
A walk or drive up the Liffey and we have the Merchants Market, an eclectic mix of old and new, from furnishings to furniture, open every Saturday and Sunday. Finally there is no forgetting the delicious food offerings at the Honest to Goodness Food Market in Glasnevin, which is open every Saturday.
Outside of the city there are a number of markets including those at the People’s Park in Dún Laoghaire, Blackrock and Marlay Park.
Picking just Five Fabulous Reasons to go Shopping in Dublin City was quite difficult as I didn’t even begin to touch on the subject of shopping streets like, Grafton Street, Henry Street, Exchequer Street. I didn’t mention the shoe shops, book stores, music stores and hobby shops. I didn’t talk about the jewellery shops, outdoor adventure stores, toy stores … the list goes on and they will have to wait for another day and another blog post!