Dublin: 9 °C Thursday 23 May, 2024
places to loiter

8 places that are brilliant for wasting time in Dublin city centre

Because we just don’t have enough benches to wait around on.

Red squirrel sculpture Niall Carson Niall Carson

ARE YOU ONE of those people who lives in a commuter town and can only get a bus home like once every 3 hours? Or maybe you need to wait on someone to finish work? Maybe someone’s you’re supposed to be meeting is running late? Maybe you’re just plain bored.

Dublin’s not the best city for sitting down and relaxing anywhere for free. Luas works aside, there are barely any benches or public spaces to relax. If you want to sit somewhere, you have to buy a coffee for the privilege of getting a seat. Look at O’Connell street in 1966, with real life grass and flowers:

Today we have no such thing. It’s completely grey and inhospitable. Probably also one of the least relaxing places in the country.

So here are the best spots to waste a bit of time if Stephen’s Green is too packed to sit down and you’re scared of the pigeons at Wolfe Tone Square. Grafton Street alone can keep you going for a couple of hours if necessary.

1. Brown Thomas

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This is a good one because you won’t accidentally spend any money, simply because everything’s too expensive. First take a little look around the beauty hall. Smell the Jo Malone. Go look at the price tags on the handbags. They have a mini Versace bag that’s smaller than my fist that costs €350 that always gives me a laugh.

The clothing floors are a little bit boring but head up to home-wares and you are in for another treat. I’ve gone through their entire website before and have come across the most ridiculous things, from a €600 bathroom bin to a €140 toothpick holder. Amazing how rich people will buy this shite, but still tell us that the best way to save for a house is by cutting out avocado toast from your diet. Plus the bathroom is worth a visit. They have a water dispenser outside if you need a little cup of water.

2. Marks & Spencer on Grafton Street

Capture David Dickens David Dickens

M&S is a great place to waste time. Hit the food hall first and look at some of the foods that people like Ryan Tubridy and Graham Norton get in their big shop. Rich people can’t even mix pesto and mayonnaise themselves. They buy premixed jars in M&S for at twice the price and half of the size of the containers you get when you buy them independently. That’s just one thing I have learned there.

Upstairs is pretty nice to walk around and also another handy public bathroom. The restaurant and balcony are also nice, so if you’ve never been there you might as well go up and have a look around.

3. & Other Stories…

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Also part of the Where To Waste Time On Grafton Street walking tour is & Other Stories… On the ground floor they have millions of candles to smell and even more body scrubs and nice smelling products that you can try out. There’s even a sink so you can wash the products off your hands and try more! Downstairs they have nice runners but if you head upstairs they have lots of cute accessories/stationery and jewelry to look at too.

4. Seven Wood on Dawson Street

This is probably one you’ve walked by countless times. On the ground floor they have some skin care and accessories like very fancy pens, but upstairs there’s a lot of (quite expensive) vintage furniture. The top floor is decorated like someone’s home and feels like a house from the Fallout video games (only in considerably better shape).

5.  Marks and Spencer in the Jervis

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This M&S has everything that the Grafton Street one has but has the huge bonus of having a home-ware department. This makes a huge difference. There are so many different couches to try out and a great mug selection.

6. Arnotts

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Arnotts has everything. It’s as close as you’ll get in town to Ikea in that it’s probably the one place in town that you couldn’t properly see all of in under an hour. First head down to the basement and look at home-wares, once the home of the Irish centenary fridge.

PastedImage-15564 Kelly / Twitter Kelly / Twitter / Twitter

Also they usually have some random popup down here like a Tayto shop where you can buy Tayto paraphernalia without having to go all the way to Tayto Park. After you’re finished playing MTV Cribs in this department, there’s a lot of books to look at as well as the TV section where you can check out what those TVs with the curved screens are like in real life. There’s also a lot of candles down here too to smell while you waste some time.

But the real treasure in Arnotts is on the top floor where they sell furniture. The couches and stuff are cool and comfy, yeah, but the best thing in the entire store is the selection of mattresses. They even have the remote control ones so you can relive Homer Simpson’s “Bed goes up, bed goes down” scene.

DeO316 / YouTube

7. Penneys on Mary Street

This one may seem ridiculously obvious, but it wouldn’t be a list of the best places to waste time in town without it. Especially because it’s open later than any of the surrounding shops. Every time you go into this Penneys, it has some kind of new counter in it. Like everywhere else, the homeware department is one of those areas that you usually overlook.

8. The Garden of Remembrance

If you would actually like to just sit down, The Garden of Remembrance is open until 6pm every day and probably has the highest volume of benches in any public space in Dublin. This place is usually pretty empty because people aren’t arsed walking all the way to the end of O’Connell Street just to sit down.

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