Grafton Street is Dublin's most fashionable and pedestrianised shopping street. Named after the Duke of Grafton, it was pedestrianised in the 1970's and is quite short in length. You can stroll its length in approximately five minutes, but you will be captivated by the atmosphere and the buzz! You'll probably spend a lot longer here than intended wandering in and out of high street stores, select designer boutiques, exclusive jewellers and watch out for those talented buskers! You might catch the next U2, Glen Hansard or Damien Rice in action! Afterwards you can grab a bite to eat in one of the trendy restaurants and cafes.
Where to shop. . .
Grafton Street is home to some of Dublin's most popular stores, including Marks and Spencer's, Brown Thomas, BT2, Vero Moda, Oasis, Next and River Island. Upmarket stores like Laura Ashley and Monsoon are also located here. Other nearby retail outlets include the Stephens Green Shopping Centre, the Powerscourt Shopping Centre and the Westbury Mall.
For music collectors, the former Woolworths building is now home to HMV where you'll find an extensive music library of performers past and present! Book enthusiasts can avidly browse Hughes & Hughes and The Dublin Bookshop in the Stephens Green Centre. Weirs Jewellers have a fabulous range of jewellery for the diamond collector! Note that most of the shops in and around Grafton Street open late on Thursdays.
Where to eat and drink. . .
The best advice to give about Grafton Street is to take a stroll, browse and shop and then chill out with a bite to eat and a drink. Bewleys Oriental Cafe has long been a recommended place to dine - esteemed writer James Joyce used to frequent Bewleys. However, this Dublin landmark sadly closed in 2004 but was re-opened in a new format in 2005 as the Café Bar Deli.
No matter what type of food you're into you'll fid it on Grafton Street. From French cuisine at Leon Bistro, Italian food at Il Posto near St Stephens Green, and American cuisine at Captain America's Cookhouse and Bar, the place that brought the original burger to Ireland in 1971!
The surrounding streets are home to some of Dublin's most famous pubs including Davy Byrnes, The Bailey, Bruxelles, McDaids, and The International. Many of these pubs are shrouded in literary and other history. New pubs are the Café en Seine, Ron Blacks, Bordel, Break for the Border and don't forget the smallest pub in the whole of Dublin, the Dawson Lounge which offers cosiness in summer and in winter!
What to see. . .
If some sight seeing is on the agenda, Grafton Street is close to the home of the Irish Government, Dail Eireann. Trinity College (where the Book of Kells is located), the Dublin Civic Museum, the Mansion House, The National Library and the National Museum are all a short walk away.
All year round (rain or sunshine) you'll see a variety of talented buskers, mime artists, poets and comics performing for the crowds along Grafton Street. This scene was brilliantly executed in “Once" starring Glen Hansard of the Frames, Oscar Winner 2008, who started his career on Grafton Street. Highly rated singer-songwriter Damien Rice, also performed during his fledgling musical career on Grafton Street.
There's a statue commemorating an iconic figure of Dublin, Molly Malone on Grafton Street The statue is located at the bottom of Grafton Street, opposite Trinity College. Molly Malone was a legendary figure that was commemorated in the song ‘Cockles and Mussels', a Dublin anthem. She worked as a fishmonger and died in one of the outbreaks of cholera that frequently ravaged the streets of Dublin in the nineteenth century.
Phil Lynott, legendary singer of acclaimed Irish rock band Thin Lizzy, who died in 1986, has also had a statue erected in his memory near Grafton Street. This life-size bronze statue was unveiled on Harry Street, off Grafton Street near the Stephen's Green end, in August 2005.
Where to stay. . .
There are plenty of excellent Dublin hotels to to choose from in and around the Grafton Street area. An excellent choice is the 5 star Westbury Hotel, just off Grafton Street, while the deluxe O'Callaghan Stephen's Green Hotel is located on St. Stephen's Green. You'll find the 3 star Longfields Hotel on Fitzwilliam Street Lower and the 4 star Brooks Hotel on Drury Street. Other Dublin hotels in the St Stephen's Green/Grafton Street area include the Adams Trinity Hotel on Dame Street and the 3 star Grafton Capital Hotel on Stephens Street Lower, while another good Dublin hotel to relax for the night is the Central Hotel on Exchequer Street.
Mairead Foley writes for the Ireland travel and accommodation website http://www.GoIreland.com
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