Condé Nast Traveller Middle East
TRAVEL IN STYLE
Equal parts respun craft and homespun quirk, the city has a charming wit that’s bubbled over into its hidden studio stores and crowd-funded galleries, finds KATE O’DOWD
Discover hidden studio stores and homespun boutiques in Dublin; motorsport-inspired watches in time for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix; statement cocktail rings that can transform a look are all you need to pack; add a sparkle to your wardrobe with party-ready bags perfect for the festive season; Maison Clad founder Coralie Francois packs for a leisure-meets-business trip to Athens; RIMOWA and Moncler collaborate on a mirrored suitcase that reflects your needs
The clutch of independent galleries, antiques shops and restaurants in the Georgian Powerscourt Townhouse
( powerscourtcentre.ie) makes it a great place to start scoping out the Dublin scene. Inside the main door is The Garden ( thegarden. ie), a theatrically designed florist owned by Ireland’s most soughtafter floral designer, Mark Grehan, filled with potted cactuses and buckets of anemones set against vintage mirrors and historic portraits, as well as gifty incense sticks and rope-tied soaps. Pink-walled jeweller Chupi ( chupi.com) is known for its handmade pieces, from hammered-gold charms to salt-and-pepper diamond rings, and owner Chupi Sweetman offers video consultations for bespoke creations ahead of a visit. And sustainable fashion hero Atrium ( atriumdublin.com) carries eco-minded labels such as Flamingos’ Life and Mara Hoffman alongside local discoveries Electronic Sheep and Natalie B Coleman.
Along the pub-lined cobbled paths of Temple Bar, menswear store Indigo & Cloth ( indigoandcloth.com) is a hip little hangout. On the ground floor, a stripped-back but serious café serves up flat whites and just-baked pastries, as well as selling unique bean blends and the tools of the coffee trade. The sparse showroom upstairs, with its raw-brick walls, polished-concrete floors and smart bike racks, houses a well-curated range of basics from brands such as Norse Projects, Sandqvist and Oliver Spencer, plus edits of unisex accessories, Aesop skincare and a decent selection of indie magazines.
The community-led Irish Design Shop ( irishdesignshop.com) showcases artisanal homeware created using both traditional and modern methods. A focus on collaborations with standalone makers results in shelves of hand-cut spirit tumblers, willow skibs (a basket for straining potatoes) and chemical-free West Ireland sheepskins, which can all be shipped if they don’t fit in hand luggage. Cross the River Liffey to seek out the Smithfield studio of contemporary linen brand Jennifer Slattery (for colourfully stitched napkins, jenniferslattery.com) and Arran Street East ( arranstreeteast.ie), a pottery where ceramicists of all levels book in for throwing courses and workshops.
A generations-old establishment sandwiched between the bigname stores and the museums, Ulysses Rare Books ( rarebooks.ie) specialises in first, signed and collectible editions by Ireland’s finest writers past and present (and the best authors from around the world, too), including a rare copy of its namesake James Joyce title. Each one is sourced by brother and sister Aisling and David
A FOCUS ON COLLABORATIONS WITH STANDALONE MAKERS RESULTS IN SHELVES OF HAND-CUT TUMBLERS AND CHEMICAL-FREE WEST IRELAND SHEEPSKINS, WHICH CAN BE SHIPPED
Cunningham, whose father Enda started the shop. The children’s section is a particular treat, with all kinds of illustrated magic by way of modern classics from Roald Dahl and heirloom gems – look out for a signed edition of Twenties storybook Irish Fairy Tales.
A fixture on Dawson Street since 1993, Optica ( opticadublin.com) is where in-the-know spectacle wearers come to shop. There are designs from well-known names such as Theo, Thom Browne and Kuboraum, but its USP is the in-house collection, Wolfhound Eyewear. Each frame is named after a writer or poet and the colourways are inspired by the landscape with mist, moss, gorse, turf and, of course, stout.
There’s a loud and colourful interior at buzzy concept store Hen’s Teeth ( hensteethstore.com) – refreshing for a retail genre that sometimes takes itself too seriously. Championing contemporary graphic art and photography, and projects between local artists, it peddles books and journals, plus a line of T-shirts, totes and sweatshirts – the staple uniform of creatives. Previously known as This Greedy Pig, the brand also organises events, performances and talks. Look out for the unscheduled supper club, which could involve a meet-and-eat with actor Joseph R Gannascoli, who played Vito in The Sopranos, or head to the in-store diner for grape and small plates in the evening.
Havana boutique ( havanaboutique.ie) in Donnybrook is the go-to for upscale labels you won’t see anywhere else in the capital. In addition to cool-girl styles by Cecilie Bahnsen, Ulla Johnson and Dublin’s own Simone Rocha, it stocks beachy
LOOK OUT FOR THE UNSCHEDULED SUPPER CLUB, WHICH COULD INVOLVE
A MEET-AND-EAT WITH ACTOR JOSEPH R GANNASCOLI, WHO PLAYED
VITO IN THESOPRANOS
finds Kalita and Three Graces, and candles and fragrances by Timothy Han. For a more understated wardrobe, head to Scout ( scoutdublin.com), an earthy store on Essex Street West, where international brands such as Saltwater sandals and YMC are mixed in with independent natural skincare and chunky-knit cardigans from the Original Aran Company.
KIDS & MORE
At the entrance to Barn ( wearebarn.com) there’s the most beautiful selection of toys and books – the kind you don’t need to hide when visitors come over. Further inside are Nordic-style clothes made from organic fabrics in unisex designs, party supplies and quirky kids-room decor inspiration. It’s the little sister to Industry & Co
( industryandco.com) across the street – also worth a peek for its contemporary glassware, slick kitchen gadgets and a café selling Irish-made chocolate and tea blends from Dublin’s Wall & Keogh.
WHERE TO STAY
Housed in what was once a “Home for Bewildered Women”, The Wilder ( thewilder.ie) has been thoughtfully refurbished to leave period details intact; they appear beside Maison Margiela potions in the bathrooms, House of Hackney wallpaper and contemporary Irish art. Settle in at its bar for an afternoon pick-me-up.