Powerscourt Centre - Dublin
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This stylish shopping mecca incorporates the eighteenth-century Palladian mansion of Lord Powerscourt. A must for architecture buffs, this beautiful historic building features a mahogany central staircase, Rococo and Neoclassical plasterwork, and elaborately carved balusters - try saying that three times fast.
59 South William Street was home to Richard Wingfield 3rd Viscount Powerscourt (1730-1788) and his wife Lady Amelia, who purchased the Townhouse as a place for entertaining during Parliament season.
Designed by Robert Mack, the Townhouse took three years to complete at a cost of €80,000 and is among the very finest examples of Georgian houses in Dublin. No expense was spared in decorating the house - well known artists and craftsmen carried out highly detailed and beautifully decorated interiors as designed by Michael Stapleton.
Nowadays, as if the expertly-restored grandeur of the surroundings isn't enough, there's a also a theatre on site where you can see Jig, the Story of Irish Dance or even have a go at Irish Dancing yourself. Before or after, you can look into the Museum of Irish Dance for further information and inspiration.
Naturally, in such a distinctive setting there are plenty of interesting retailers. Shoppers can browse through antiques, natural products, arts and crafts, fashion, housewares, dolls and teddies, jewellery, plants and flowers, and even many wedding specialist shops. Hair, makeup and beauty salons pamper fatigued fashionistas.
And even if you've maxed out the plastic, a host of restaurants offer respite. The Pygmalion café in the atrium - the now-covered former inner courtyard of the mansion - is a great place to recline, regroup and people watch to your heart's content.
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