Top 10 things to do in Ireland’s Ancient East
Read blog >
You’ll be spoilt for choice on a shopping visit to Ireland’s Ancient East. Kilkenny is a byword for classy shopping. Start off you tour by visiting Goods of Kilkenny on High Street, the 90-year-old Kilkenny institution which is your first port of call for footwear, cosmetics, accessories and lingerie and Paul’s Fashion Store is another with years of experience in keeping the well-heeled shopper happy. As befitting the Marble City, Kilkenny is a treasure trove of finely-crafted jewellery and other pieces, not least the works of Rudolf Heltzel a German-Irish master goldsmith.
Carlow, meanwhile, has some very accessible shopping centres in the heart of town, starting with the Fairgreen Shopping Centre on Barrack Street, which features a great range of Irish and UK high street stores, including Next, River Island, Vero Moda, Vila and Pamela Scott, along with fantastic range of homeware at Carraig Donn.
County Wexford, meanwhile, is famous for the farmers’ markets which meet once a week in its four main towns: New Ross, Enniscorthy, Gorey, and Wexford town. The most scenic is surely in the county town itself, where it is held in the magnificent ruins of the 12th-century Selskar Abbey, in the wonderfully-pedestrianised centre of the county town. Wexford is also an arts and crafts hub. If that’s your bag, be sure to pop into the Blue Egg Gallery around the corner from the Wexford Arts Centre on John’s Gate Street. Outside the town, you’ll find Paul Maloney Pottery in Barntown and, to north of the Slaney Estuary, Mairead Ceramics and Art.
But it’s tightly-packed Waterford city centre that offers the most atmospheric shopping experience. Don’t miss the massive City Square shopping centre, located at the centre of the old city, which is the fashion and lifestyle centre of the region featuring plenty of parking, and an excellent range of eateries.
28 The Mall, Waterford, Ireland
Through 236 years, Waterford Crystal and the visionary characters behind its evolution, have crafted a unique story in glass. Imagine the times, in 1783, when Beethoven was publishing his first works and the world’s first hot air balloon was launched in Paris, in Waterford City George and William Penrose petitioned Parliament for aid to establish the manufacture of flint glass in their Waterford Glass House. A luxury collection of the finest crystal continues to be made by skilled craftsmen at the House of Waterford Crystal factory situated in the heart of Waterford City, in Ireland’s Ancient East. A significant tourist attraction, the House of Waterford Crystal welcomes 200,000 visitors annually from across the world. Visit website
The Castle Yard, The Parade, Gardens, Kilkenny, R95 CAA6, Ireland
Kilkenny Design Centre is part of Kilkenny’s Castle Yard, built in the 1780s by the Butlers as the coach houses and stables of historic Kilkenny Castle. The Castle Yard also houses the National Design and Craft Gallery, one of the most exciting venues in Ireland, and Textures, a new retail space showcasing the best in Irish art, craft and design. Here you can shop for beautiful jewellery and gifts, china and crystal, pottery and glass, homewares and fashion. Visit website
10 Patrick St, Gardens, Kilkenny, R95 WVH0, Ireland
At the Rudolf Heltzel studio gallery in Kilkenny you will be greeted with a friendly smile and find contemporary, well-designed jewellery which has been lovingly made by hand since the company was founded in 1968. Visit website
City Square Shopping Centre, Arundel Square, Waterford, Ireland
Waterford’s City Square shopping centre is located at the centre of the old city, which is the fashion and lifestyle centre of the region featuring plenty of parking, and an excellent range of eateries. It’s anchored by Debenhams, Dunne’s, River Island, and Inglot, with everything from Topshop, Oasis and Wallis for fashion and the stylish Carraig Donn for homeware. Pop into Peter Mark or Boston Barbers for a new ‘do’ and grab a salad at Freshly Chopped. Visit website
129 Parade Quay, Waterford, X91 E431, Ireland
For ethical womenswear, meanwhile, look no further than Bébhínn from Bébhínn McGrath, one of a new trend among Irish fashion designers. So much of our wardrobe ends up leeching plastic fibres into the ecosystem, but the open studio offers clothing made entirely of merino wool and linen. Visit website
Ireland’s Ancient East attractions
Ireland’s Ancient East restaurants and cafes
Ireland’s Ancient East nightlife venues
Ireland’s Ancient East cultural attractions
Image credits: ©David Prado/Pavel Losevsky/stock.adobe.com; Fáilte Ireland/Ireland’s Content Pool; ING Image