A flying visit to the Emerald Isle for a pair of Dublin virgins last weekend – fascinating on lots of levels. The first thing that struck as we arrived was Georgian architecture: endless stylish flat-fronted brick terraces, monumental civic buildings and extraordinary bungalows with basements.

We loved the area around the Powerscourt Centre – a vast eighteenth century mansion converted to a shopping and eating hub, the uber-grand main rooms intact and given a new lease of life as an upmarket drinking club. The whole quarter is full of interesting shops and eateries, including lots of carefully designed ‘Made in Ireland’ goodies – hopefully we’ll be stocking some interesting bits before too long.

If money’s no object, the high-end antique shops on Francis Street¬†will keep you happy. There are some amazing pieces, at amazing prices – we spotted a couple of things that we have sold at Previous, but with an extra nought on the price! Cross Collection was our favourite, stocked with some to-die-for mid-century lamps, chandeliers, paintings and chairs. Unusually, the exclusive shops are interspersed with charity shops and junk stores, plus a very nice cafe/vintage clothing shop called Two Pups, so there’s something for everyone.

If you’re eating out in Dublin, you’re spoilt for choice. We opted for lunch from the food stalls in Temple Bar, dinner at Drury Buildings, and a wonderful, raucous night of Folk music and Guinness at O’Donoghue’s, which we wouldn’t have missed for the world; it’s true what they say about the friendliness of the Irish. Brunch at Brasserie 66 was just what we needed the next morning, followed by the spooky Bog Bodies and enviable pre-historic gold jewellery at the Archaeology Museum.

We’ll be back, to be sure.

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