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Shopping in Dublin

Like the city itself, Dublin's shopping scene is dominated by the fusion of old and new, with something for everyone. 

Key areas

Dublin's fashionable Temple Bar district has good, one-off shops, such as Whichcraft, Cow's Lane, a showcase of innovative Irish jewellery, interior design and decorative arts, while the antiques quarter, centred round Francis Street, is particularly lively on a Saturday morning.

Markets

There is nowhere more traditional than the Moore Street Market, on Henry Street (off O'Connell Street), where fresh fruit and vegetables are sold at bargain prices Monday to Saturday 0930 to 1830. The Temple Bar Food Market, in Meeting House Square, every Saturday 1000 to 1700, displays more pricey organic produce. Temple Bar is also home to the Designer Mart at Cow's Lane. Every Saturday from 10am-5pm, over 30 designers showcase an eclectic mix of contemporary and vintage crafts, handmade clothing, ceramics, visual art, jewellery and crafts.

Shopping centres

South of the River Liffey is the smart Grafton Street shopping precinct with upmarket department store Brown Thomas and one of Dublin's finest shopping centres, The Powerscourt Town House. The Design Centre on the top floor of the Powerscourt Town House shopping centre deals exclusively in Irish designer fashions. Nassau Street, off Grafton Street, is best for traditional Irish gifts, such as hand-blown glass, crafts, knits, Celtic jewellery and Arran sweaters; the Kilkenny Design Centre, 6 Nassau Street, and the Blarney Woollen Mills, 21-23 Nassau Street, are also good bets. For cool club clobber, head to BT2, Grafton Street.

Opening hours

Standard shopping hours are Monday to Saturday 0900 to 1700/1800. Late-night shopping is on Thursday, with the bigger stores and many of the smaller ones remaining open until approximately 2000. Many bookshops keep longer hours and some also open on Sunday afternoon.

Souvenirs

Pottery, whisky, arts and crafts, shamrock memorabilia, jewellery, charms, Guinness products and Irish music are among the souvenirs you can buy in Dublin.

Tax information

VAT is levied at different rates on goods and services. Tax-free shopping is available to non-EU residents, who can redeem the tax at the airport on production of a completed tax-free slip. Global Refund (tel: (091) 553 258; www.globalrefund.com) can provide further information.

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The Merrion Hotel

Dublin's most sumptuous 142-room hotel looks like a standard Georgian block of houses, but behind its modest façade, it has been sensitively restored to combine period elegance with 5-star modern facilities. There's a classy restaurant, sizeable pool, gym and spa, but also magnificent formal, landscaped gardens, forming a serene haven far removed from the frenetic city centre.

The Fitzwilliam Hotel

Luxurious and ultra-modern, The Fitzwilliam commands a striking central location with the calm and tranquillity of St Stephen's Green to one side and Grafton Street to the other. Theirs is a stark, minimalist interpretation of typical country house features, using chrome, frosted glass, large leather sofas and dramatic down lighting. Its large roof garden is great for summer sunshine.

The Dylan

Located in the western canal belt, this small boutique hotel is the epitome of style and sophistication. It's housed in a former 17th-century theatre, which in its heyday staged concerts conducted by Antonio Vivaldi. Today, the minimalist east-meets-west designer décor of the 40 individually designed guest rooms, combined with an intimate courtyard garden, spectacular canal views, efficient staff and an excellent restaurant, ensures a luxurious stay.

Morrison Hotel

Enjoying a great location on the north bank of the River Liffey, the recently expanded Morrison Hotel is not only an oasis of tranquillity but also a showcase for the talent of Ireland's internationally renowned designer John Rocha. The interior is unashamedly chic, with a minimalist theme of East meets West. All 138 bedrooms are equipped with high-tech gadgets and the various bars, restaurants and the nightclub are popular with the local style brigade.

Central Hotel

This cheap, city centre hotel harks back almost 200 years. It is very old school Dublin and as such boasts some impressive period features in its façade and public areas. The rooms have been recently refurbished, with free Wi-Fi available in most of them, though snuggle up in the Library Bar and the years still drift away.

Number 31

Overlooking elegant Fitzwilliam Place, Number 31 is the former home of Ireland's leading architect, Sam Stephenson. It has since been converted into a highly sophisticated, award-winning guesthouse with an emphasis on detail, luxury and simplicity. This stylish property offers a variety of en-suite accommodation, as well as secure car parking, but it's the intimate beauty that wins guests over.