Ireland isn’t really recognised as a shopping destination but when people do arrive here, they are surprised to find that it’s actually something of a shopper’s paradise! Dublin city is the main ‘shopping’ hotspot and can match any of its European counterparts, but that’s not to say you won’t find a rare gift or special souvenir in one of Ireland’s picturesque little towns in the country.
We’ve compiled a little guide to shopping in Ireland – well worth a look whether you’re here to shop ’til you drop or you just need an excuse for a bit of retail therapy!
Whether you’re a big spender or just casual shopper, a days roaming the stores of Dublin city is bound to do some damage to your credit card. Dublin really is the ‘Mecca’ for Irish shoppers. Here, you can immerse yourself in a shopping frenzy, due in no small part to the wealth of shopping centres, boutiques and stores located in the city centre.
Of course, there’s lots of accommodation all over Dublin city, so you can really make the most of your shopping spree! You’ll get an excellent choice of hotel, guesthouse, B&B and self catering options wherever you want to stay, so why not put a few days aside to enjoy yourself?
A good starting point for your shopping trip is Henry Street. Lined with high street shops and two prominent shopping centres called the Illac Centre and Jervis Street Shopping Centre. It’s a completely pedestrianised street popular with tourists and locals alike. Another good shopping arcade on this street is the Roches Stores complex – home to over 20 top international brands aswell as a fine make-up and beauty section.
While you’re on Henry Street have a stroll down Moore Street – the colourful and lively market area made famous by the urban legend Molly Malone, who sold here ‘cockles and muscles’ at this very place.. Moore Street has become an attraction in itself and once you’ve had a look you’ll find out why.
Follow the ‘Spire‘ from Henry Street and you’ll come to O’Connell Street, which isn’t really recognised as a major shopping street, though it does have Penny’s and Cleary’s, two excellent department stores. Penny’s is one of the biggest in the country and is regularly ram raided by shoppers looking for a bargain, so it’s definitely worth popping your head in here.
Cross the bridge over to Grafton Street and brace yourself for the real deal. Grafton Street is another pedestrianised street where you’ll find exclusive designer fashions in the famous Brown Thomas store (think Harrods, with a touch of Irish elegance!). It has all the major names, from Louis Vuitton, Dior and Gucci, to Chanel, Valentino, and Jimmy Choo – so your credit card will definitely get good a run for its money here!
If you’re short on time, or just prefer to do all your shopping under one roof, then make your way to the Dundrum Shopping Centre . It’s the largest shopping centre in Ireland with over 160 shops. There’s plenty of car parking and if you’re travelling by public transport just hop on the green Luas line – it stops right outside!
Outside of the capital other cities like Waterford, Kilkenny, Cork, Limerick and Galway also have their fair share of shops, while many of the smaller towns and villages in rural Ireland have great souvenir and craft shops, along with some really stylish boutiques.
If you’re wondering about getting some typically “Irish” gifts to bring home from your shopping trip to the Emerald Isle, we’ve a few ideas you might be interested in…
Waterford Crystal can be a special souvenir or gift and is sold in most gift shops all over the country, but if you happen to be in Waterford itself be sure to visit the home of the world famous crystal to see how it’s made. Aran knitwear is another popular souvenir – so if you fancy an “authentically Irish” jumper, cardigan or pair of socks then that’s the one for you. Tweeds and linen also feature near the top of the shopping list, and you can even buy a piece of Irish turf in a gift pack if you fancy it!
Of course if you’re really stuck for something to buy go to the local tourist office (all major towns have got one in the centre or thereabouts) which are brimming with quirky little souvenirs and gadgets.
Most shops in Ireland are open from 9am – 6pm Monday to Saturday and some have late opening hours on Thursdays and Fridays. Major credit cards are widely accepted but you’ll need a PIN number for your card. And don’t be surprised if the shop assistant asks you to pay for a plastic bag as there is a levy applied.
So wherever your travels take you in Ireland be sure to treat yourself to a little bit of retail therapy. We’re sure you’ll find it to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience – and you might even pick up a few bargains along the way!
We’d love to hear about your shopping experience in Ireland, so drop us an email and tell us what you thought about it! What made it made it memorable for you? Give us a shout, we’d love to hear about it!