Best Shops 2016: Sligo leading the nominations

Incisive, informed comments by readers is what the judges are looking for

 

It’s week two of The Irish Times Best Shops competition and nominations are pouring in for cafes, food shops, salons and boutiques across the counry. Sligo in particular is alive with comments, starting with reader Kathleen Conlon raving about the Pudding Row cafe in Easkey: “We love Pudding Row and all it does. The view from the place would take your breath away time and time again. We’d be lost without it and we want the world to know.”

Meg Leahy loves Wherly Bros, a jewellery shop in Sligo town. “Sligo has been fortunate to have had generations of the Wherly family to mend their watches, engrave their trophies and select that something special.”

Meanwhile in Roscommon, Farrells in Ballintubber is a general shop that’s loved by Martina Ryan. “Mrs Farrell runs the spick and span premises with a lovely ease. You can buy milk, wellingtons, footballs carrots!”

Candy’s newsagents in Carnew Co Wicklow is a Gala store that’s loved by Bob Boster (age unknown) who has this to say: “Cause them chicken rolls in the morning are the only reason I go to school.”

In Stillorgan, Co Dublin Fenelons Butchers is getting lots of nominations includind this one from Niamh Lydon: “Cuts of meat you would never find in a supermarket. Spotless shop. Hilarious staff. I often find a little extra in my bag when I get home like a chop or chicken fillet.

Justin Golden likes the friendly and knowledgable staff at the Celtic Whiskey Shop on Dawson St who provide samples for tasting before purchase. He is also a fan of Kevin & Howlin, tweed specialists on Nassau Street, Dublin 2. “I get compliments every time I wear one of its sports coats.”

In Co Cork, SJ Villiers Boyd praises Along the Way, a coffee shop in Goleen on the Wild Atlantic Way run by Colm and Sarah Jane Moynihan in a space they share with the local post office. “Yummy scones, buns, hot chocolate, sandwiches and ice cream fill the cafe on a daily basis. It’s a must-stop on the way to Mizen Head.”

Family-run shops are attracting lots of comments, including Cloonan’s Hardware in Tullamore, Co Offaly, with its gilt-edged historic signage. “With everything from a needle to an anchor,” Michael Scally is calling it a “rare find in this age of DIY mega-stores.” Fiona O’Connor rates Churchtown Stores, in Churchtown, Dublin 14 as “an amazing shop, reminiscent of olden days.”

For reader Catriona Corrigan it is Nimble Fingers, “a Stillorgan landmark”, that gets her vote. It is run by the Staunton family and, she writes, “People travel from all parts of the capital to buy its hand-picked children’s toys to enjoy its magical experience.”

In Ramsgrange, Co Wexford, reader Ali Staats has watched Floods Centra grow “from a tiny corner shop that used only to sell sweets and video tapes to the thriving heart of the village that it is today. It’s a great shop.”

In Galway, Marian O’Riain is rooting for Moycullen Bookshop. “This shop survives in a small village close to Galway because the lovely young couple who run it supply exactly the bits and pieces you always need but shouldn’t have to drive, park and visit three or four shops in Galway to find – it has books to read, gifts for the grandchildren, cards and enough bits and pieces to satisfy the browsing and shopping instinct.”

It’s comments like these that readers take the time to write that make the judges really sit up and take notice. Your observations will help decide who gets shortlisted in this year’s concours so what are you waiting for? Get nominating.

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