Shopaholics who have travelled to Dublin are probably already aware of Grafton Street. I know I was. The pedestrianised zone, home to luxury department store Brown Thomas and Bewley’s Cafe, is known as THE shopping street of Dublin. But on my visit last weekend I found a little enclave of boutiques, not far from the main drag, which captured my attention. The area was called Castle Market.
George’s Street Arcade
I first noticed this area due to the Victorian signage and architecture of George’s Street Arcade. It transpires that the George’s Street Arcade is Dublin’s oldest shopping centre, trading since 1881. The historical building now hosts a range of stalls and shops selling everything from retro clothing to eclectic music and collectible items. Food wise you can grab a bubble tea from Bubblicity or a cupcake from Lolly and Cooks, but I would recommend saving some of your appetite for there are some more treats just outside the Arcade.
There was a sign in the window of Cocoa Atelier saying ‘Let them eat cake’ and I whole-heartedly agreed. In this chic boutique, homemade macaroons are lined up next to handcrafted chocolates, cooking chocolate and other culinary ingredients and toppings. The customers in store assured me it all tastes just as good as it looks.
Cocoa Atelier, 30 Drury St, Dublin 2, Ireland
I wasn’t expecting to find a paleo-friendly café in Dublin but when we walked into Kaph to grab a coffee that was exactly what we were delighted to discover. Kaph offers coconut milk lattes and wheat/dairy/gluten free brownies made by Paleo Man Foods, for those of us trying to pursue a low-carb diet. The staff were warm, welcoming and super helpful and the minimally styled store also offers free Wi-Fi. I suspect there will be more copycat Kaph’s popping up soon but we shan’t forget who we found first.
Kaph, 31 Drury Street, Dublin 2
Whilst we are on the topic of eating, just opposite George’s Street Arcade we came across the burgers of Jo. This quirky venue, with both indoor and outdoor seating, offer a whole host of gourmet burgers that come with a bunless option. I discovered heaven on a burger when I ordered the critically acclaimed chilli banana, goat’s cheese and bacon combo. Just wow. Another option includes the spectacularly named ‘Burger of the Gods’ – chilli miso slaw & toasted peanuts with smoked bacon. Yes please.
Jo’Burger Town, 4/5 Castle Market, Dublin 2
Whilst we were waiting for our food at Jo’Burger I was able to pop into the vintage boutique opposite. The Harlequin has a tempting vintage looking façade, which serves the items it sells well. The peach blouse in the window was just a taster of the quality retro items they had on offer. After looking through their whole section dedicated to sequin party dresses, I know were to head to next time the occasion arises for such an outfit.
For a designer outfit fix coupled with personal service, you need to head to Costume’s corner store. Launched in 1997 by a trendy sister trio, Costume has evolved to become one of the most successful independent luxury retailers in Ireland. Stocking the delights of designers such as Thakoon and Isabel Marant this is a place you go to really treat yourself.
COSTUME, 10-11 Castle Market, Dublin 2.
Click below to enlarge the map of Castle Market Dublin. For more information on shopping in Dublin take a look at the Visit Dublin website.