White smoke at last! Having sifted through almost 28,000 nominations for some 2,700 shops across 10 different categories, we’ve found our winners across the country. On the following pages are the boutiques, the cafes and tearooms, the salons and the specialist stores that came out on top in your nominations and in our judges’ poll. Competition was fierce, discussions got heated and so it was decided to add a “ highly commended” badge in each category. We hope you agree with the list. Thanks to readers everywhere for your votes, and to shop owners for flying the flag across Ireland. Take a bow. Your customers love you. Orna Mulcahy
If you were to draw up a list of what you want in a local boutique, chances are you would find it all at Juju in Greystones, Co Wicklow
The black and gold lettering of the Pen Corner is one of the capital’s most distinctive shop fronts
Build it and they will come, the saying goes, but eight years ago when Gerard Maguire took over an old Londis premises in Glasthule village and converted it into a wine shop, he could not have anticipated just how many people would come.
Who would run a bookshop these days, what with Amazon ruling the world and print readers dwindling?
It’s hard to imagine a grocery store being able to survive in the shadow of giants such as Tesco and Lidl, but Ardkeen Quality Food Store in Waterford is thriving
Eddie Shanahan was about to give up before he finally found his way to The Cottage, Loughmore in Co Tipperary, which is so far off the beaten track that even the Sat-Nav had trouble finding it
Article Dublin, situated in what was originally Lord Powerscourt’s dressing room in the Powerscourt Townhouse Centre on South William Street, first opened its doors in 2010 in a much smaller shop in the centre
The Garden is a flower and gift shop located in the hall of Powerscourt Townhouse Centre
Dylan Bradshaw's salon never feels intimidating
The Burren Perfumery has been going since 1972 and its current owners set about building it into a thriving, and divinely scented destination
With thanks to our Best Shops 2014 panel: judges Simon Pratt MD of Avoca, Eddie Shanahan retail consultant, Sonya Lennon and Brendan Courtney of Lennon Courtney, Robert Doherty AIB Merchant Services, Alanna Gallagher Irish Times journalist;
data analysts Cliona Mooney, Cathal Stack, Catriona Kinnevey; assistant Lia Downer. Project manager: Alanna Gallagher