High-end and luxury street
Grafton Street has a great variety of retail stores including café’s, bars, restaurants and hotels and caters for shoppers searching for high-end or high street.
The north end of Grafton Street is most notable for the eighteenth-century Trinity College Provost’s House, home to the head of the college. If you want to go on a nice shopping trip it will just take you 5 minutes from the Dublin Citi Hotel to get to Grafton Street.
Grafton Street was established in 1708 by the Dawson’s, a wealthy Dublin family. The street was named after Henry Fitzroy, the first Duke of Grafton. It began as a residential street which was a popular address among Dublin’s more affluent citizens during the eighteenth century. In 1758 the famous Whytes Academy was established, an English Grammar School. Many prominent citizens attended the school for their primary education, including Thomas Moore, Robert Emmet and the Duke of Wellington.
In 1794 the Carlisle Bridge, now O’ Connell Bridge was constructed which allowed for passage from the north to the south side of the River Liffey. The bridge opened up the city and Dublin experienced a shopping boom with Grafton Street becoming a desirable location for merchants to sell their wares. By 1815 the majority of buildings had been converted from residential to retail units and by the end of the century, Grafton Street was the top commercial street in the city. The street catered for the high-end of the market with a variety of fashion stores, jewellers, watch and clockmakers and high-quality food and wine merchants.
In 1849 drapers Hugh Brown and James Thomas opened Brown Thomas which has grown into Dublin’s most prestigious Department Store and has become an integral part of Grafton Street. In 1995 the store moved to its current location at 88 Grafton Street where its award-winning window displays are a must-see. Another store which is still flourishing since it’s opening in the 1800s is Weir & Sons which first opened in 1869. Thomas Weir opened his jewellery shop at 5 Grafton Street, the business began to thrive and a larger premise was required so Weir & Sons moved to a prominent corner location at 96 Grafton Street. The glazed entrance from the previous store which reads “5 Grafton Street” remains part of the building to this day where the world’s finest jewellery and watches are sold inside this beautiful and historic building.
The pedestrianisation of Grafton Street was first trialled in 1971 but prolonged delays meant that this wasn’t made permanent until 1983, and then repaved in 1988. Objections came from councillors and small business owners, who alleged that pedestrianisation would lead to an increase in petty crime and antisocial behaviour. The North end of the street, between Nassau Street and College Green, is not pedestrianised.