Saturday, February 25, 2012

Dublin can be Heaven - Afternoon Delights around Powerscourt Town Centre

Lunch in The Pepper Pot - Warm Goat's Cheese Salad

Last Friday hubby Jan and me headed off to Dublin for my cousin's birthday party which I've blogged about here. As Jan had a business meeting in the Alliance Francaise for the afternoon I said just drop me off in shopping heaven, the Grafton Street/St. Stephen's Green Centre area. With no pressure to shop till I drop like I might  be in the run up to Christmas, for example, or be on the lookout for something special like an outfit befitting the mother of the groom (help! I dread having to face that at some stage before July!) I was in a mellow place and found an equally mellow place to match my mood. 

That happened to be the Powerscourt Town Centre, on Clarendon Street off Grafton Street. I dashed into Dunnes' Stores in the Stephen's Green Centre first, to see what I might need, and bought a nice ribbon yarn loose cardi, which I could upcycle if I hated. I then dropped into the Westbury Hotel to powder my nose and allow myself a twinge of nostalgia for my last visit, when Martin was still working there before he headed to Australia. Then I cut across the Westbury Mall and emerged at the Powerscourt Town Centre. It used to be the town house of one Richard Wingfield, the 3rd Viscount Powerscourt, and serendipitously there are Wingfields to this day at Salterbridge  House over the road from Lismore near Cappoquin. 

This is Knit - Dublin's coolest shop!
Sign of the times @ This is Knit
The best shop  in Powerscourt by my biased reckoning has to be This is Knit - a haven for knitaholics anonymous and otherwise. It's got amazing yarns and a selection of the best top quality silks and alpacas and cashmeres and merinos and it's just as addictive as any good bookshop. I just browed the shelves and felt the wonderful tactile yarns, and got a ball of DB Andes, which is so soft and sensuous. I couldn't resist a booklet of Noro patterns, which opened up a  whole new world of colourful yarns and patterns made with these beautiful Japanese yarns. I already love working the Sekku and seeing the lovely pattern emerge with the colours melding together. 
Lunch with a view in Powerscourt Town Centre

A late Book Token Christmas Pressie!
Noro and more Noro (Sekku Scarf WIP)
After I'd sated myself in the yarn shop, it was time to eat - and where better than on the balcony outside. There are a variety of cafes and I decided on The Pepper Pot - they had friendly staff and lovely food - I had a delicious warm goat's cheese salad with lovely brown bread, and a nice cuppa tea. I sat there tweeting and reading the Irish Times while soaking up the atmosphere and thinking what it must have been like back in the day of the big house when it was in use as the town house for the toffs from Wicklow

Improv Instruments - Upcycled Oilcans on Grafton St.
I should really get out  more if a Friday afternoon mooching around the shops in Dublin's Grafton Street can be so enjoyable - or else I'm just easily pleased with simple tastes! After lunch and a few photos of my table with a view I wandered off to look for Waterstone's in Dawson Street nearby. Grafton Street is Dublin's Ramblas - great buzz and full of buskers and human statues covered in toxic glittery body paint waiting for a few shekels to fall into their hats before stirring into motion. I love the fact that Captain America's is still the same as it was in my student days back in the '70s.

I took this pic of a busker playing a mean electric guitar made from a Castrol GTX Oilcan as it reminded me of the improv instruments beloved of the roadside sellers in Tanzania and our first watchman in Mishamo who played a  unistring guitar made from a margarine tin and a stick with a piece of wire stretched from one end to the other. I spent a few confused minutes looking for Waterstone's to be told they'd closed - and Hodges Figgis was the only bookshop on the street. Lucky for me they are honouring the Waterstone's book tokens, and I continued to feed my insatiable craft book habit with this lovely Weekend Knitting book. I still have enough credit to cut loose in Waterstone's in Cork one of these weekends. This is some of the pattern selection in the book. I can't wait to get going on some of them!

Stephen's Green Centre
By now I'd met up with Jan and Paul, their meeting in the Alliance over, and was given a conundrum - where in Dublin will you find monkeys playing billiards or snooker? I certainly didn't have a clue - and I'm going to leave you pondering that one for a while before revealing all! That's your Pub Quiz question for today - food for thought over the weekend.

Powerscourt Town House

This was beside the Pepper Pot - a tad OTT!


Stephanie V said...

"I must get out more"...that is exactly how i feel when I'm finally in the city center. Only a few minutes away (for me)but worlds and worlds apart. I love the life of the city.

I remember well that part of Dublin and can still conjure up the sweet comfort of a chair at a street table and a hot cuppa!

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