Grafton Street in Dublin

Friday, 22 December 2023 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Shopping
Reading Time:  5 minutes

© flickr.com - Robert Linsdell/cc-by-2.0

© flickr.com – Robert Linsdell/cc-by-2.0

Grafton Street (Irish: Sráid Grafton) is one of the two principal shopping streets in Dublin city centre — the other being Henry Street. It runs from St Stephen’s Green in the south (at the highest point of the street) to College Green in the north (the lowest point).

The street, on the Southside of the city, was developed from a laneway in the early 1700s, and its line was shaped by the now-culverted River Steyne. Initially, a fashionable residential street with some commercial activity, the character of Grafton Street changed after it was connected to Carlisle Bridge and came to form part of a cross-city route. It suffered from dilapidation and prostitution through the 19th century, with several run-down buildings. During the 20th century, it became known for the coffee house Bewley’s, mid- and up-market shopping, and as a popular spot for buskers. It has been assessed as one of the most expensive main retail streets in the world on which to rent.

The street was named after Charles FitzRoy, 2nd Duke of Grafton, the illegitimate grandson of King Charles II, who owned land in the area. His father, Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Grafton, died on 9 October 1690 following the Siege of Cork. The second duke was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 1721 to 1724.

© Cmccullough/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Donaldytong/cc-by-sa-3.0 © flickr.com - Robert Linsdell/cc-by-2.0 © Conoronmaps/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Robzle Statue of Molly Malone at its original location on Grafton Street © Wilson44691/cc-by-sa-3.0 Westbury Hotel © Conoronmaps/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Jean Housen/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Jean Housen/cc-by-sa-3.0 © J.-H. Janssen/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Statue of Molly Malone at its original location on Grafton Street © Wilson44691/cc-by-sa-3.0
By the 1960s, Grafton Street had become congested with cars and buses, which caused serious pollution. Pedestrianisation of the street was first trialled in September 1971, for a period of 4 weeks. After many delays, permanent pedestrianisation of most of the street was established in 1982, and the street was then repaved in 1988, with new street lighting also fitted. Objections to pedestrianisation came from councillors and small business owners, who alleged that it would lead to an increase in petty crime and antisocial behaviour. The northern end of the street, between Nassau Street and College Green, one side of which is occupied by the walls of Trinity College, is not pedestrianised.

The northern end of the street was for many years the location of the Molly Malone statue, a well-known tourist attraction and meeting-place. The statue was moved from Grafton Street to nearby Suffolk Street in 2014, to make way for an extension to the Luas tram system, which runs along the northern part of Grafton Street.

A life-size bronze statue of Dublin musician and leader of Thin Lizzy, Phil Lynott, was unveiled on Harry Street, off Grafton Street near the Stephen’s Green end, in August 2005. In May 2013, the statue was tipped over by two vandals, who were subsequently arrested. In 2017, it was damaged after being hit by a truck, and spent several months in repair. The statue has become a well-known tourist attraction for music fans. In keeping with the tendency for Dubliners to nickname statues, it is known to locals as the “Ace with the Bass”.

Grafton Street is normally lit with Christmas lights during the festive season — in 2022, it was estimated that around 300,000 bulbs were used in illuminating the street. In 2019, a planned “Nollaig Shona Duit” (Irish for “Happy Christmas”) light display was cancelled and replaced with “Grafton Quarter” signage, causing controversy.

Since the 1980s, Grafton Street has become internationally known for its street entertainment, particularly busking. Musicians, poets and mime artists commonly perform to the shopping crowds. This was portrayed in the opening scene of the 2007 film Once, starring Glen Hansard of the Frames, a former Grafton Street busker. In Dublin, street performers must pay for a licence to busk (€30 per year as of 2019, plus €60 if using amplification), and on Grafton Street, each such performance is restricted to a maximum of one hour, and a musician cannot play within a 100-metre (330 ft) distance of that location until the following day.

Read more on Grafton Street and Wikipedia Grafton Street (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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