Shopping haunts in Dublin are split between modern malls, department stores and streets of trendy boutiques featuring fashions from a plethora of young Irish designers, but the vibrant local markets, antiques stores and craft outlets are an equally big draw. The mainstream shopping is set south of the River Liffey around Grafton Street, with the smaller streets radiating out from the main drag the most interesting area. For elegant, upscale shopping in Ireland, head to the Powerhouse Townhouse Center with its shoe stores and antiques galleries, and nearby George Street Arcade, a treasure trove of quirky jewelry and vintage clothes.
Traditional gifts and Irish souvenirs range from truly tacky to fine handmade goods. The traditional Aran knitwear uses family patterns originally designed for identification of the washed-up bodies of drowned fishermen, and is found in natural wool or synthetics. Irish lead crystal was famous by the Georgian era and found only in the homes of the wealthy, while Irish linen is equally valued, as is the delicate Belleek porcelain.
If you’ve fallen in love with music in Ireland, CDs and DVDs featuring local bands are the perfect reminder of your vacation. Smoked salmon may not be a long-term souvenir, but can be purchased vacuum sealed at the airport and enjoyed with a glass of duty-free Bushmills Whiskey.
Dublin’s lively markets are a sight to see, as well as bargain-hunting fun. Art and design can be found at Cows Lane, antiques and collectables at Francis Street, crafts at the Blackrock market, and a flea market in Newmarket Square with several farmers’ markets slinging fresh produce. Haggling isn’t appreciated here so the price you see is the price you will pay.