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.”
From flagship stores to independent design boutiques, and shopping centres to street arcades, Dublin’s shops have something to offer everyone.
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
Introducing Ireland’s oldest bookshop Hodges Figgis’ iconic bookstore has moved around a lot since it was founded in 1768 – from Skinners Row, to Nassau Street and, finally, on to Dawson Street. But it has always been home for Dublin’s booklovers. We spoke to Hodges Figgis store manager, Tony Hayes, to get to the bottom of what makes the country’s oldest bookshop a Dublin treasure. Tony has worked in the book trade since the 70s but, falling under its charm, he returned to the bookstore in recent years.