A Day in Dublin: Shopping as Seen Through American Eyes
While Kinsale is on the southern coast of Ireland, a train trip can take you into Dublin for a day of sightseeing or shopping, then an easy return trip back to Cork and the short drive back to Kinsale will complete your day. Alternately, Dublin may be the place from where you enter or exit the country and then we would recommend a day of sightseeing (covered in another article) with shopping intersperse. If coming up from Cork and wanting to stay late into the evening, we recommend an overnight at the Ashling hotel which is right by the train station. We find it useful to come in by train, drop off our overnight gear at the hotel as we check in, then off enjoy ourselves, eating and drinking for as long as we would wish, to take the train back the next morning.
So where would you want to shop? Of course all the guide books will tell the visitor about Grafton street but we find it uninteresting – more typical chain stores appropriate for young lad and lasses than filled with interesting shops. Instead we suggest the three following alternatives:
Dun Laoghaire(pronounced Dun Leary) offers a great outdoor market by the sea on Sunday afternoons. To reach it you take the Dart (train) from Pearse St. near Merrion St/Square in Dublin city center. Take the train towards Malahide for about 15 minutes and once off at the Dun Laoghaire stop turn left out of the station and proceed by the sea for about five minutes walk until you see people's park on the right. The market is traditionally a farmers market that also attracts local crafts artists such as the famous Irish potter Colm De Ris.
Pedestrian Mall on Mary Street
Mary Street is north of the River Liffey and home of the Irish department stores Arnotts and Marks and Spensers (M&S). We find it a grand mix of the old and new versions of Irish shopping opportunity and a blessed relief from the ubiquitous enclosed shopping mall (although several small malls border the pedestrianized street). If you love to play games, as we do, look for Gamester on Strand Street, south of Mary St. Finally, if you need a break and want to engage your creative side a stop by the Leprechaun museum will be a thrill. Be sure to take your camera and capture pictures of you and your family high up on the oversized furniture, giving you the opportunity to feel what it is like to be the size of a leprechaun.
Dundrum Shopping Centre
Dundrum shopping centre is on Balally stop from the Laus (pronounced Lewis) tram heading south from the city and easily accessed from the west side of St. Stephens Green. Nine stops will take you to one of the largest shopping malls in the Europe, filled with both multinational, Irish, and European shops. If you want a mix that includes the latest from the traditional multinational chains stores, this is the place – offering miles of indoor and outdoor ramps between the buildings.
Wherever and however you shop in Ireland you are bound to find helpful staff, a cheerful atmosphere and a genial experience. Happy hunting!