Best shops: happiness in a cupcake, refreshment for the eyes
More than 5,000 have already submitted their favourite shops. Here are a few of the stories behind the nominations
"I love food in all its sugary, moist, buttercream glory. In short, The Cupcake Bloke and his stall makes me happy."
Today is reader Leanne S Roche’s favourite day at work because it means she gets to visit The Cupcake Bloke , a market stall on Dublin’s Coppinger Row. “I love food in all its sugary, moist, buttercream glory. In short, The Cupcake Bloke and his stall makes me happy. And happiness, even in the form of one red velvet cupcake a week, is hard enough to find as it is.” The market stall category is new to this year’s competition.
Parade Gift Shop and Cafe in Newport, Co Mayo, is nominated as a Best Newcomer, another new category that is open to all shops less than 24 months old. In just three months it has quickly become the place to drop in for a “mooch” and a coffee, writes reader Fiona Hopkins. “I don’t know how they do it, but somehow I always find the perfect gift. I go in with no inspiration but then experience that “aha!” moment.”
Scout, on Smock Alley, Essex Street West, in Dublin’s Temple Bar is like popping in to see friends for a cuppa, writes Sarah Murphy. Nominated in the Best Boutique category she says that owner Wendy Crawford has “an amazing eye” and describes each visit to the shop as, “diving into a treasure trove of woolen blankets, cosy cushions, Breton tops, handmade brogues, cool crockery and scented candles”.
Christoph Eye Couture, an eyelash extension boutique in Dublin’s Powerscourt Townhouse Centre deserves an award “because while you go in feeling (and looking like a mum) you come out looking like a Kardashian mum,” writes Sinead Murphy. “I haven’t slept properly in six years and Christoph makes this very tired mum feel like I can go head-to-head with keeping up with the Kardashians.”
Local author Imelda Cummins De-Melkon is just one of the many readers who nominated Bookworm, a bookshop in Thurles, Co Tipperary. Locally owned, this specialist shop offers it all – a wonderful selection of books, morning tea or coffee, local pastries and outstanding service, she says. “The owner takes particular pride in supporting local events and can take credit for continuing to encourage school kids to be avid readers by inviting young readers to enjoy special events at the store.”
Michael Storey describes Osta Café and Wine Bar, on the banks of the Garavogue River in Sligo town as his asylum where he can watch the river run lazily by, the local heron fishing and a host of other wildlife including “the morning group of Crossaire code breakers” who compete to finish the crossword.
Best Shops 2015 is sponsored by AIB Merchant Services