You can’t visit Dublin without walking on Grafton Street. Not only is it the central hub of tourist activity adjacent to Temple Bar, Dublin is a small city. And it is more than likely you will walk along it at some point. Cited in Patrick Kavanagh’s famous poem turned balled, On Raglon Road, Grafton Street is as much a great place to shop as it is an icon of Dublin.
Filled with many of the comforts of home like Burger King, McDonald’s and the Body Shop, it also has quintessentially Irish one of a kind shops and cafes. The famous and historic Bewley’s Café is not to be missed. Built in 1927, it holds a rich history and plays a vital role in the attractiveness of Grafton Street. A historic experience amongst modern amenities, you can sit in the café downstairs or dine on one of the other three floors. I myself prefer Bewley’s to the neighboring Starbucks. Sitting, waiting for your specially brewed tea or coffee, and enjoying the conversation or the sites on Grafton Street helps one to enjoy the experience, not the rush.
In addition to shops and cafes, Grafton Street is full of street performers. Music, fire breathing, sand sculptures and men made to look like metal statues are all available for your viewing pleasure. Fancy seeing a leprechaun? No worries, you’ll find quite a few to snap a quick photo with. At the bottom of the street is the famous statue of Molly Malone. Erected to commemorate Dublin’s millennial celebration in 1988, Molly is the subject of a famous Irish song, but her actual historical accuracy is still debated. Nonetheless, the statue is an icon of Dublin and Molly’s name has been used globally for pubs and restaurants bearing Irish heritage.
At the top of the street you’ll find Saint Stephen’s Green, which is the oldest park in Dublin City, originally formed in 1670, and shaped into its current layout in 1870. Feed the ducks, go for a stroll, or sit and relax on a sunny afternoon, if you’re lucky enough to have one!
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photo: Amy Wiener