Among the most exclusive spots in European retail, Grafton Street is a boulevard full of upscale boutiques and restaurants. It is one of the two main commercial parts of Dublin and has an international array of big names. Yet the street retains its local charm with well-known street performers and traditional pubs. Bring cash and credit cards for a trip through the street’s upscale boutiques.
Peruse the stores of the main street. Shops frequently change and evolve. Enjoy the lively atmosphere among street performers, visitors and locals. Watch the musicians and mime artists who entertain in the street. Notable former performers include Irish singer Damien Rice, Mexican guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela and Glen Hansard from the band The Frames and the Dublin love story film Once.
Visit restaurants and pubs to try a traditional Guinness beer with a harp or clover emblem in the foam. Although the street is fairly busy, it is wide enough to diffuse crowds and make shopping a tranquil experience. Hunt for gems on this boulevard, which is mostly pedestrianized with immaculate red brick patterns.
Encounter the bronze life-size statue of the late Irish singer Phil Lynott. Enjoy a drink in the iconic Bewley’s Grafton Street Café, which has been here since 1927. It has a collection of stained-glass windows and majestic features including chandeliers, high ceilings and sculptures. See a performance in its Café Theatre.
Learn the intriguing history of this commercial street, which was named after the First Duke of Grafton, the illegitimate son of England’s King Charles II. James Joyce and other writers have alluded to the street in their works. Dublin’s other main shopping boulevard is Henry Street, north of the River Liffey.
Grafton Street runs from College Green, a few blocks south of the river, to the picturesque park, St. Stephen’s Green. Ride a bus to one of the many stops along the parallel road of Dawson Street. Shops open from morning until evening, with later closing times on Grafton Street than in other parts of the city.