Grafton Street is one of the two principal shopping streets in Dublin city centre, running from St. Stephen's Green in the south to College Green in the north. The street was named after the first Duke of Grafton, who owned land in the area. The street was developed from a then existing country lane by the Dawson family in 1708, after whom the parallel Dawson Street is named.
Since the 1980s, the street has been mostly pedestrianised, with the exception of the short stretch running between Nassau Street and College Green. This short stretch contains two notable Dublin landmarks, the eighteenth century Trinity College Provost's House and the late twentieth century statue of Molly Malone, which has become a popular Dublin meeting place. A life-size bronze statue of Phil Lynott was unveiled on Harry Street, off Grafton Street, on 19th August 2005.
Grafton Street is also home to Ireland’s most beautiful lifestyle store, Brown Thomas, which since 1849 has offered an unparalleled retail experience for Dubliners and visitors alike. Weir & Sons located at the bottom of Grafton Street have been Ireland’s leading jewellers since 1869 carrying more gold, diamonds and world-renowned brands than any other jeweller in Ireland.
Bewley's Oriental Cafe, a Grafton Street institution since its opening in 1927, announced at the end of October 2004 that it would be closing before Christmas, along with its Westmoreland Street cafe. Following a campaign by the Mayor of Dublin, Catherine Byrne, the cafe on Grafton Street was kept.
Buskers, including musicians, poets and mime artists commonly perform to the shopping crowds. This scene was portrayed in the 2006 film Once, starring Glen Hansard of The Frames, a former and occasional Grafton Street buskers.
O'Connell Street is Dublin's main thoroughfare, or at least it has been since the eighteenth century. The spot formerly occupied by Nelson's Pillar, and now by The Spire, traditionally has been seen to mark the city centre, or An Lár in the Irish.
The streets off O'Connell Street on either side, Henry St, Abbey St, Earl St, Talbot St and Parnell St, are the shopping area of choice for many Dubliners. Here you'll find a range of quality shops offering a range of real bargains as opposed to brand labels.
Clery's on O'Connell Street and Arnotts and Roches Stores on Henry Street are three of Dublin's biggest department stores, and Easons is the oldest and largest bookseller and stationer in town. Many of the major UK and international outlets occupy the ILAC Centre and the Jervis Street Centre at the end of Henry Street. Spend some time browsing the open-air stalls of the traders on Moore Street, the self-appointed custodians of Dublin wit. (Warning: Dublin wit usually requires someone to be on the receiving end - it may be you.)
59 South William Street,
Powerscourt Centre is a speciality shopping centre set in an elegant Georgian house centrally located just off Grafton Street.The house as it stands today is one of the finest 18th century town mansions in Dublin.With its historic past the centre's architecture serves as a magnificent setting for browser's and shoppers alike.
The Powerscourt Centre is a fine example of Dublin's Georgian architecture; the house is unique in showing the transition from rococo style to neo-classic under one roof. Meldon, in his 'Views of Dublin' (1779) said the house ' may be considered in point of consequence of appearance and architectural embellishment, as the third private edifice in Dublin.'
The house has become a regular test for students of architecture.