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Grafton Street Christmas

Grafton Street in Dublin lit up for Christmas

If you come to Ireland you will probably visit Dublin.

If you visit Dublin you will probably wander onto Grafton Street.

The very throbbing, rumbling heart of Dublin’s commerce and culture, Grafton hosts the richest and poorest members of society in a great blender of capitalism and convenience. Fancy clothes? Chincy souvenirs? Nice lunch? Jewelry? Astonishing buskers? Not so astonishing buskers? From fillet steak to big mac, Grafton has it all.

Most people who visit Ireland will not get to see Grafton’s Christmas lights. Ireland is cold and rainy enough in the other months of the year, says you – why come in winter? I suppose this is an entirely different argument to be had about the different seasonal merits of Ireland as a whole, but it should be said that Grafton, is just as hopping as ever over the yuletide.

Personally, I like Grafton’s Christmas lights. There is, however, a certain measure of grumbling about them as they appear relatively unchanged over the last . . . decade, is it?

In any case, I usually end up on Grafton Street when visiting Dublin. Just behind Trinity College, Grafton is a long pedestrianised brick walkway between Molly Malone and Stephen’s Green. And between these bookmarks you’ll find something for everyone. Bewley’s Cafe, The Decent Cigar company, the music shops, the buskers on the streets, the multitude of pubs . . . Grafton is a fabulous place to shop or simply wander for hours people watching. Always crowded and buzzing with life, Grafton is simply great.

What not to miss here? Do not miss Bewley’s cafe dead centre – go on, have a cup of tea and take the weight off the floor while you watch people pass below. Locate one of the curious underground shops along the street and peruse their wares downstairs. Stop and listen to a busker or two . . . many of Ireland’s famous musicians started here on Grafton Street. There’s a fantastic tourist shop halfway down that stocks reprints of antique metal signs amongst other touristy little things, I usually stop in there and flip through their bins looking for the humorous and bizarre. Get a flower halfway down from the flower vendors.

Grafton has so much to offer, it’s just a carnival of a place to spend a bit of time before drifting down to Stephen’s Green to give your overloaded senses a rest.