Ye Olde Fashion Country

One of the things that I’m forever promising myself is to take more little breaks in this fair isle. It’s something I think about often, put the wheels in motion regularly but then thoughts of friends living abroad that I’ve been wanting to visit enter my head along with timely emails from those (oh so non-glamorous) budget airline that keep popping into ones inbox uninvited. They send offers such as ‘we’ll pay you to go’ and before you know it the promised reconnection with those other 31 counties gets put very much on the long (red varnish tipped) finger.

So although I say it every January, this year I am adamant: I will see more of Ireland. I will stay at some of the adorable little country houses with which this country is bursting. I will interact with fabulously eccentric people (hopefully!). I will seek out old tea shops in all of the villages in which I take up temporary residence and I will, in every location, seek out the vintage gems hiding around the unfamiliar corners.

Whenever I do find myself outside of Dublin I delight in the suspense of what treasures there may be to find in the area. Unfortunately however, unless you know someone local, the treasures are often left a mystery. On more than one occasion I’ve received a tip-off from someone in passing  (you know how it goes … you’re in a strange place, spot the style you most admire walking along the street and then … pounce! Slightly petrified they may be … but always informative in my experience); alas often I find myself so eager to get to the shop that my imagination carries me away and when I eventually come back down to earth all of the location information has failed to return with me. I will search with vigor and perhaps ask again passers-by again, but once it’s clear that word has gotten out about my last encounter the locals tend to decline engaging with me. My downturned mouth and I take to the long road home with thoughts of what might have been.

So now you will understand why I was so excited to open Prudence magazine this month and come across an article, nay an entire section of the magazine completely dedicated to Vintage shopping in Ireland … yippee! Ok so I knew, fairly intimately, all of the shops that were listed in Dublin but I was simply tickled pink to read about those outside of the capital. Not just a few mere name checks either, but a delightful description of what to expect from each of the stores and best of all … an address – a real life location!

One of the stores I have actually had on my list for a while is Miss Daisy Blue in Cork. I bought the most heavenly long sleeved floor length red 1960s dress from the charming owner last year at the Vintage Fair. It’s fair to say I fell in love with pretty much everything that they had on the rail so I enthusiastically took their card and assured I’d be down soon. Of course the card is now ‘filed’ away in some lovely floral box that I will likely not reopen for a number of years yet. It has often been on my mind to try to reestablish the name and whereabouts of the store but now it was been done for me! I have yet to wear the dress as I simply haven’t gone anywhere fabulous enough yet but I think perhaps I just have to take matters into my own hands and have a formal ball for 2 in my living room. I shall update you on this endeavour.

In the meantime, do have a look at the article and see if there are any nice surprises from your area. I can testify that all of the ones from Dublin are wonderful stores to spend some time in. My all time favorite store, Jenny Vander on Drury St, is also included in the article and I can assure you that if you are coming to Dublin in search of olden gems then it’s essential that you take a visit – stepping in the door feels as if you are being given special access to the lavish dressing room of a fabulous old starlet, viewing the glamorous wares that she has accumulated over the years.

On the other side of the border, I was particularly thrilled to get tips for vintage Belfast. As my special gentleman is from the North we spend quite a bit of time up there so I had already spent many an afternoon establishing a few favorites. Now I have more to add to the list … most that I hadn’t even realised existed! He is utterly thrilled at the prospect … as you can imagine.