Dublin’s shopping districts are among the most sophisticated, and expensive, in Europe.
Let’s take a quick judgemental look at shopping centres in Dublin, and wish we were at the pub with a nice cold glass of Guinness instead of dodging swarms of people searching for some gratification in consumerism. Oh this is starting well…
Warning: Angry jaded shopping centre review written by jaded hopeless male ahead…
If there’s one place in Dublin that can fuck right off – it’s Brown Thomas. The most expensive brands (Think: Gucci, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana) are here, some exclusively. Your best opportunity to stand out from the plebs who spend Saturday digging through tables of trash at Penney’s / Primark comes around twice a year when Brown Thomas put a sale on. These sale events will occasionally yield a reasonable price on a garment that had previously been marked up some 500% (assuming it wasn’t already a ripoff before it got a ‘Brown Thomas’ price – what the feck is Canada Goose? Honestly is that seriously a brand?).
At Brown Thomas you can expect rude, dismissive service, but you can also enjoy listening to the staff bitching and whinging about each other venomously. There’s usually plenty of drama on the floor during sales events as the staff deal with the realisation that Brown Thomas isn’t the pinnacle of employment myopia in Dublin, and that work in retail generally sucks. Shop here if you want to feel like everyone else in the world, including the staff are better than you in every single possible way. Avoid unless you want brain damage and an empty wallet.
Grafton street is the main high street for Dublin’s city centre and offers a huge array of shops, brands, fast food chains, and at one end – The Porter House Pub where you can evacuate hell and question your choice to go shopping with a pint. Grafton street is busy, and full of great buskers. Check out Marks & Spencer’s for quality work clothes or VANS for something that doesn’t make you look like a total knacker on the weekend.
St Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre
At the southern end of Grafton Street sits the St Stephen’s Green shopping centre, but I’m going to use this space to talk about Sinnott’s Bar. Sinnott’s is wedged under/in the middle/but outside the main centre and is what remains of the Dandelion market which used to be far cooler than St Stephen’s green shopping centre. Before the Dandelion market closed in the early 80’s – it housed an array of punk clothes stores, and alternative stalls while also being a venue for many early U2 gigs. Sinnott’s is a great place for a pint.
Dundrum Town Centre
Five levels of shopping are offered at Dundrum shopping centre on the Southside of Dublin. Connected to the rest of the world by the luas line, Dundrum mixes restaurants, eateries, a cinema, and events with a shopping experience that might not have you consider suicide as a means to an end. Jaime’s Italian sits on the periphery of the shopping complex and represents some of the most mediocre Italian cuisine you can pay a fortune for. I’m sorry, but wine in a tetra-pack is goon (swill!), not fine dining. Overpriced pizza aside, Dundrum is a modern shopping complex with Dublin’s broadest array of shops in one destination. Consider the venture if you need to solve multiple problems and feel the need to loudly break up with your girlfriend in as public a space as possible.
Jervis Mall & The ILAC Centre
Experiencing Jervis Mall and the nearby ILAC centre is what I imagine it is like to be told you’ve won the lottery, but you’re going to be dead in 10 minutes. Hordes of people that can’t walk at a moderate pace or in a straight line, loads of knackers yelling at each other, people coughing on you, and once you’re there, minutes turn into hours as your soul starts to exit your body in small chunks. Jervis Mall offers a Curry’s PC World for gadgets and technology which is far more interesting than whatever it is going on at the nearby make-up stand where ridiculous eyebrows and orange tan take on entirely new forms never before imagined outside of Dublin. I still haven’t figured out why ILAC exists, but it does provide a inter-dimensional portal between Henry street and Parnell street should you need it.
Arnott’s like Brown Thomas is a department store offering various quality brands. With a more traditional department store feel, there appears to be more staff who are representing their respective brands and will therefore give you slightly more useful customer service than the 1/3 friendly 1/3 clueless 1/3 despondency that you’ll typically find while shopping across Dublin. Arnott’s offers a fantastic gift card section and is possibly the best destination for gift buying one can find in and around the city.