It’s the week before Christmas and all through the land stressed out shoppers are scurrying around. At Christmas time there is little or no escape on high streets or other shopping areas from the madding crowds. It’s just the lucky few insanely organized folk who sorted all things to do with Christmas weeks ago who can now sit happily at home. Freighted as the festive season is with lorry loads of expectations those of us who have left things to the last-minute have no choice but to join frenzied fray. However one way to escape the worst of the madcap cacophonous crowds is to shop out-of-town.
Greystones is a small coastal town in Wicklow, one of Dublin’s neighbouring counties, sandwiched between the mountains and the sea. It was, back in the day, a seemingly distant place where many of the denizens of Dublin came to spend their annual summer holiday. It is now very much part of the Greater Dublin Area, the last southern stop on the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transport) and a mere fifty minute drive from the very centre of Dublin.
For a town of its size Greystones has a great deal to offer and indeed at the LivCom Awards final in China in 2008 it was named the world’s most livable community in the category for towns that have a population of under twenty thousand. It has: a pleasing mix of architectural styles; a blue flag beach; views of the nearby Wicklow mountains; a host of sporting clubs (golf, tennis, rugby, sailing, rowing etc) a swimming pool; a running track; and a skateboard park. It also has good number of interesting and varied shops which makes it an attractive destination for out-of-town shopping.
But first things first, if you going to Greystones for a couple of hours or more you will most likely need a coffee and possibly lunch. There are lots of options; my favorite spot to stop in Greystones for either is the Three Q’s a cafe/restaurant on Church Road. The coffee, the food and the service are always good there.
Now, one of the things that struck me when I was walking around Greystones in search of Christmas gifts was the serendipitous way I came across them in places I least expected to find them. For example when I went into B Mooney & Sons (a shop which mainly sells papers, sweets and groceries) to buy a paper I discovered the solid oak board, the heart-shaped decorations and the heart-shaped chalk board you see in the image above; cute and reasonably priced (chalkboard €8, medium heart €4, small heart €3 and oak board €20) they are made locally by Sheila and Robert Mooney son and daughter-in-law of the charming Bridie Mooney the proprietor of B Mooney & Sons. The other find in an unexpected place was the screen print by Gavin Beattie that you see in the third image from the top, it is on sale in the Three Q’s for €25 (unframed).
Greystones is home to one of my favourite shops – AMOC (Church Road). If you are searching for unusual pieces of jewellery it’s a great place to go to. A lot of the stock is hand-crafted on the premises and an added bonus is that the prices are very Age of Austerity friendly. The owner Mette will undertake commisions or remodel existing items of jewellery.
As I said earlier there are lots of shops in Greystones – both on and off the main street. Everyone is likely to have different favourites and aside from the ones I have already mentioned I think the following are worth a visit.
Flowers by Lynda (LaTouche Place) a flower shop which has a striking and colourful Christmas pavement display – all the photos in the top collage of images were taken in or outside Flowers by Lynda. Lynda doesn’t just sell flowers, if you peep inside you will find, wreaths, plants and small gift items.
JuJu (LaTouche Place) is a clothes and accessories shop selling carefully edited selections from collections such as: John Rocha, Sphere One, Joseph, Sonia Rykiel …
Linen and Ware … Vintage too (LaTouche Place), the name is pretty self explantory as the shop sells vintage clothes, jewellery, china, bags … and also carries a range of linens and a selecion of blue and white Polish pottery.
The Goodess Room sells high-end vintage clothes and jewellery. There’s a bridal section and an atelier where vintage garments are altered or reimagined using couture techniques.
I could go on but my word count thingy tell me it’s time to stop. I need to master the art of brevity when writing blog posts. I definitely do!