Dublin's most famous shopping street is the heavily trafficked Grafton Street, which runs between St. Stephen's Green and Trinity College. It has recently, along with its surrounding environs , been classified as an 'Architectural Conservation Zone'. This will involve a re-establisment of the area's rich historic charm and Urban character.
Brown Thomas, Dublin's most famous and expensive department store is on Grafton Street along with a wide range of clothing, jewelry, and photography shops, etc. Alongside the historic Trinity College you will find Nassau Street where there are many shops selling tourist-related items such as Waterford Crystal, Belleek Pottery, Aran sweaters and other Irish craft items. Shops selling these items include House of Ireland, Blarney Woollen Mills and Kilkenny Design.
Dawson Street, parallel to Grafton Street, is home to several well stocked, large bookshops including Hodges Figgis and Waterstones.
The best concentration of shoe shops is found on Grafton Street and the adjoining Wicklow Street.
The Powerscourt Centre, just off Grafton Street, is one of Dublin's most attractive shopping centres, set in a beautifully restored 18th century town house. Here you will find clothes, cafes, galleries and Irish designer jewelers. You must check out the The Loft Market - it is a haven for Dublin Fashion. There is lots of up and coming young fashion designers and vintage clothing sellers such as Perk Up! Vintage, Lisa Shawgi Knitwear and MO MUSE to shop around. Beware the overpriced antique dealers, some of whom will drop a price by 50% after only the merest suggestion that you are willing to haggle (and it still may not be a bargain!). For gifts, there is an engraving business based in the centre next to the Bonsai tree shop.
Leaving Powerscourt via the ornate steps on to South William Street, you will find yourself facing a small street called Castle Market, which leads to a covered red-brick shopping arcade known alternatively as the Market Arcade or the George's Street Arcade. This area is worth a visit for vintage clothing, fabrics, unusual accessories, vinyl and club wear. It also features some small cafes.
There is also an extensive shopping area on the north side of the river, centred on O'Connell Street and Henry Street (Ireland's busiest shopping street). Clery's (O'Connell Street) and Arnotts (Henry Street) are large department stores each with a long history. Two large shopping centres, The Jervis Centre, and the ILAC, are also on Henry Street. The latter also houses Dublin's Central Public Library.
Just off Henry Street is Moore Street, which has a fruit, vegetable and fish market. It's worth a stroll if you want to get a slice of life from the less genteel side of Dublin. At the top of Henry Street on Parnell Street is Chapters Bookshop, which has a massive selection of books at generally cheaper prices than other highstreet stores, as well as a large secondhand section. Especially great for 'coffee table' style art books.
For those for whom it just wouldn't be a holiday without hanging out at the mall, there are various shopping centres located around Dublin, including Blanchardstown (39 and 70 bus routes), Liffey Valley (bus routes 78, 78A, 210 and 239), and The Square in Tallaght (red luas to the end of the line). The largest shopping centre in Europe is the recently opened Dundrum Town Centre, which is served by the green Luas tramline from St. Stephen's Green. It was awarded the title of best Shopping Mall in the World 2006.
Dublin is not cheap for general shopping, although visitors from outside the European Union can obtain a refund of VAT (sales tax - 21%) on many of their purchases. Just look for the refund sign and ask in the shop for details. Keep in mind that most stores will only issue VAT refund vouchers on the same day of purchase.
Be sure to visit Temple Bar's Temple Bar Square and Meetinghouse Square on a Saturday Morning or afternoon for the markets, which sells all types of fods, from traditional fare to delicious baked goods. Both squares are also home to several very good restaurants. Meetinghouse Square, which lies only about 50 metres west of Temple Bar Square, sells much finer fare and exoticerer foods than Meetinghouse Square.
The Temple Bar area offers some alternative to shopping at the larger chain-stores. Small clothing boutiques are popping up all around the area (temple bar lane, crow street and Fownes street) with an emphasis on vintage and unique original independent designer pieces, if you can't make it to any of the markets at the weekend the best can be found here during the week.
Also, Cows Lane Fashion and Design Market, which is the largest designer market in Dublin, offers handmade one-off original designs. The market is open evey Saturday from 10:00 - 17:30. Found outdoors on Cows Lane and indoors in the old Viking Centre, this market is not to be missed (in the sense that it will be a mild disappointment if it is missed)!
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