On the hunt for a Christmas gift with a difference? Dublin has a wealth of markets and independent traders, making it the ideal shopping hub for alternative gifts this Christmas. There are a plethora of options so even if you’re buying for the most difficult people you’re sure to find something unique and thoughtful. We spoke to three small, independent and sustainable Irish businesses that you will find in the city centre this Christmas. Sheelin, owner of
From flagship stores to independent design boutiques, and shopping centres to street arcades, Dublin’s shops have something to offer everyone.
With customers becoming increasingly concerned about the quality of their food and its provenance, more and more Dubs are turning to farmer’s markets. We spoke to five market sellers at Leopardstown Farmer’s Market to get to the bottom of what these markets can offer that other shopping experiences can’t. Margaret Hoctor Margaret farms lamb, apples and sweetcorn at Kilmullen Farm and sells her produce seasonally.
Francis Street is going through some big changes these days, subtle and quiet as they might be. The area is providing a home to new bars, restaurants, and shops. But mostly it’s filled with antique shops, and antiques have been the main business round here for quite a while now. “I opened about 16 years ago,” said Patrick Howard, of Patrick Howard Antiques, “though Francis Street itself has been filled with antique shops for almost 30 years.” Patrick was a fashion designer before he got into the antiques game. “I did that for most of my life, and when I got tired of it I
1966 was the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Rising. De Valera was president. Nelson’s Pillar was blown up. In the same year the Bishop of Clonfert protested about a guest on The Late Late Show who told host Gay Byrne that she hadn't worn a nightie on her wedding night. ‘66 also saw the opening of Ireland’s first shopping centre, in Stillorgan, south county Dublin. For generations of Southsiders – and especially their children - Stillorgan Shopping Centre was a place of magic, glamour and excitement. It gave us a glimpse of the USA: a wonderland of airy spaces and covered walkways arranged around a capacious car park.
Dublin’s vintage scene is thriving. With more vintage stores opening in the city centre, the competition is hotting-up, but so is the demand. So, why the sudden increase in vintage fashion? The inclusion of vintage inspirations by current fashion designers and the media has driven a change in people’s attitudes towards wearing second-hand clothes. You could say the recession has had an impact too. People are more resourceful because of it. They’re more likely to buy second hand now and generally the clothes are longer lasting than high street fashion. There’s also the fact that, thanks to a recent surge in bohemian and hipster trends, Dubliners are striving for mor
Wrapped from head to toe against the hostile elements, surrounded by a riot of colour which cuts a sharp contrast with the grey February day, meet the flower ladies of Grafton Street. They say the ladies are “the heart and soul of Grafton Street” and what helps save the road from becoming just another English high street. You’ll find the ladies bringing both wit and colour to the corners of Chatham, Harry and Duke Streets. Tina Kelly tells us she’s been selling flowers all her life, starting off aged 12 helping her mother when Grafton St still had two-way traffic. She has seen a lot come and go from her perch on Duke Street. Tina tells Dublin.ie that one time she even met The Duke himself. “Yeah I met John Wayne.” “Sure I met them all,” she adds. “Sean Connery… I was talking away to him, Liam Neeson, Pierce Brosnan, Lisa Stanfield. I met an awful lot of them. And sure Eric Clapton, well I was talking to him on the street for nearly two hours and I hadn’t a clue who he was.” A natural born story teller, you can tell Tina enjoys the banter that comes with the trade. Many of the customers are obviously regulars as there’s lots of first name usage. Sister-in-law Susanne, who mans the Harry Street corner, says “you have to enjoy talking to people.” And in case we hadn’t noticed, she adds: “Now I would be a talker!” The Kelly name is synonymous with flowers on Grafton Street going way back, Susanne says. “Now I married into the Kelly family,” she says adding that she comes from a family of boxers. My grandfather was Spike McCormick.”
George’s Street Arcade is Ireland’s first purpose-built shopping centre, and one of Europe’s oldest, having been built in 1881. We popped in to talk to a few of the stallholders. Milo Póil, Man of Aran Fudge I’m here in the Arcade just over two years, my third Christmas! I am the son of The Man of Aran Fudge! It’s my dad who makes all this stuff, he’s being doing it for 20 years now. It’s actually a family recipe. It’s my Grandmother’s recipe, well, the tiger butter flavour anyway. That recipe was made 90+ years ago with only a few changes! This is one of the only permanent stalls of ours. We’ve another on Ínis Óirr, which is
Hodges Figgis is Ireland’s oldest bookshop, celebrating its 250th birthday in 2018. This iconic store has moved around a lot since its founding in 1768, from Skinners Row, to Nassau Street and on to Dawson Street. But it has always been home for Dublin’s booklovers. We spoke to Bookstore Manager, Tony Hayes to get to the bottom of what makes Dublin’s oldest bookshop a Dublin Treasure. Tony has worked in the book trade since the ‘70s and has in recent years returned to Hodges Figgis. Hodges Figgis’ iconic storefront would not look out of place in J.K. Rowling’s Diagon Alley and the magic do