A vacation in Ireland wouldn’t be complete without visiting the bustling shopping streets of Ireland’s vibrant towns and cities. Whether you want gifts for those back home or to treat yourself, you’ll find what you’re looking for and more. Here are some of Ireland’s favourite shopping destinations:
Grafton Street, Dublin
Grafton Street, in Dublin, is probably the best known shopping street in Ireland. In the heart of the city centre, a stone’s throw from Trinity College and the National Museum of Ireland – Grafton Street is home to the landmark store, Brown Thomas, described as ‘Ireland's most beautiful lifestyle store’. Tommy Hilfiger, Swarovski and Pandora also have a stores on the street as do numerous other well-known brands. The pedestrianised street is always bustling with tourists and locals; musicians busking on the street and the flower sellers, create a carnival atmosphere in the summer. In the months leading up to Christmas the street is lit with stunning Christmas lights that people come from afar to see. For a perfect shopping experience you can request a complimentary personal shopper in Brown Thomas to help you find that perfect outfit for a night out in the capital or perfect gifts for your nearest and dearest. The luxurious Westbury Hotel, just a two minute walk from Grafton Street, is the perfect place to take a break from the busy shops and have a cold glass of champagne and maybe some lunch.
Victoria Square, Belfast
If you plan on shopping in the North of Ireland then it has to be Victoria Square, Belfast. With four floors and 98 stores – it is the biggest and one of the most expensive property developments ever undertaken in Northern Ireland. This high-end shopping centre is a landmark in Belfast, with a beautiful glass dome and the ornate nineteenth century Jaffe memorial fountain outside. You can even get a guided tour of the Dome, and see the spectacular views of the Belfast skyline and take in sights such as Belfast Castle, Harland & Wolff Cranes, Belfast City Hall, Parliament Buildings and Albert Clock. The tours run hourly or you can arrange a private group tour in advance. Victoria Square is the perfect place to spend a rainy day as it has restaurants, cafes and a cinema as well, of course, as shops including Reiss, Fossil, House of Fraser and an Apple Store. If you need some inspiration you can book personal stylist, Katherine Farries, who will assist you in all your fashion needs from the comfort of a private dressing suite.
St Patrick’s Street, Cork
St Patrick’s Street in Cork, or Pana as it is known by locals, has been awarded the coveted title of ‘Ireland’s Best Shopping Street’ twice since it was redeveloped in 2004. The wide street curves towards the River Lee at one end and the Grand Parade at the other end. Smaller narrow pedestrianised streets such as French Church Street, run off the main street and have great little restaurants and cafes that are perfect place to sit outside, have a coffee and watch the world go by. Shops to visit on Cork’s main shopping street include Brown Thomas, Monsoon, Tommy Hilfiger and Debenhams as well as the famous English Market. The English Market, established in 1788, has numerous entrances in the city centre as it’s nestled between St Patrick’s Street and Oliver Plunket Street, Grand Parade and Princes Street. It’s a must on any shopping trip to the city. Small stalls and larger businesses sell excellent Irish produce, artisan cheeses, high quality meat, poultry, seafood, chocolate and coffee. The 5 star Hayfield Manor, not far from the city centre is an ideal place to stay when visiting Cork – you can relax in the luxurious spa, just the thing after a day in the shops! The October Bank Holiday weekend is the best time to visit Cork when the Cork Jazz festival is in full swing. For help organising the ultimate bespoke shopping weekend in Ireland, or a longer vacation to see the unspoiled landscape and historic sites, request a brochure from Ireland Luxury Travel.