George’s Street Arcade

4 Oct

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One of my favorite places to be in Dublin has to be the George’s Street Arcade. When you walk by, the entrance invites you with its tall green gates, red brick structure and plethora of unique vendors. Each vendor has one-of-a-kind products that I have never seen anywhere else. There’s an artist who hand draws postcards of sights in the city and then sells them each afternoon. There’s a store that sells vintage clothing with a hippy flare. There’s even a vendor that sells classic books that are musty with age. The George’s Street Arcade has a vintage feel, but is still very much alive today.

How did the George’s Street Arcade come to be? Sir George Moyers originally opened the arcade in the year 1881. The opening was met with disdain from the local Dubliners because the project had been completed with English architects and workers and no Dubliners were invited to the opening ceremony of the arcade. Unfortunately, there was a fire in 1892 that affected most of the city. The arcade was greatly damaged in the fire. This inspired the people of Dublin to rebuild and this time around the arcade was built with local architects and workers and when it reopened in 1894, all of Dublin was invited to join the opening ceremony. The current owners acquired the property from the city of Dublin in 1992 and hope to continue to preserve the building in its current styling while providing an exceptional shopping experience.

I first stumbled upon this great place my second day in Dublin. I was at a meeting in the auditorium of Dublin Business School and there was an hour break given for lunch. Frantic to find a place where I could eat quickly and get back to school, I walked a few blocks over and found myself standing in a coffee shop in the George’s Street Arcade. Never had I been in a coffee shop such as this one before. There were posters for every concert and event possible covering the walls. The Dublin Arts Festival, the Dublin Music Festival, all things I had never heard of before, yet intrigued me. I ordered a sandwich and a coffee and sat down and looked out into the arcade. I knew that after lunch I would have to go explore the rest of the building, it was calling me.

As I walked around the arcade, I looked up and saw the beautiful architecture. The ceiling was high and contained an immense amount of small little details. The smallest centimeter of this place was given the same amount of detail as the largest pillar. It was beautiful to see because for me, this was my first real taste of Europe. I had never seen anything else like this arcade before in my life.

I find myself always wandering back to the George’s Street Arcade. At least once a week, I try to have lunch in that first coffee shop I ate in. I am simply mystified by this structure, not just by how it looks, but also by the history behind it and what it represents. It represents a time when people were repressed by their rulers. A time when people had to come together and out of the ashes of what stood before, make something just as stunning. A time when commercialism didn’t exist and each vendor was the one and only, something that is still preserved in the arcade today. The George’s Street Arcade represents the individualism and pride Dubliners have for their city.

-Scott Schmidt

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