Shoptalk: Limerick city

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Gusto d’Italia is a proper gelato parlour on William Street, Limerick

Gusto d’Italia is a proper gelato parlour on William Street, Limerick

 

While Limerick still has too many empty shop units and its shopkeepers remain concerned about the number of out of town retail parks – planning permission was granted to another just recently – its shoppingscape includes unique stores and experiences such as the entrepreneurial man who several days a week sits at a crossroads on William Street selling periwinkles, fruits of the sea that he picks and cooks himself, for €3 per pouch, complete with pin to pick them out. It’s the kind of singularity that has all but evaporated from other Irish centres of commerce and is the kind of colour that needs encouraging.

Further down the same street Gusto d’Italia (061-590642, gustoitalia.ie) at 30 William Street, is a proper gelato parlour run by Polish chef Michael Stasiewicz and his business partner Damian Mikolasczyk, where they get through more than 40 litres of local milk per day serving classics such as Banana Split and Knickerbocker Glory, as well as sweet crepes and waffles, all made fresh on the premises. Delicate metal tables and chairs populate the place and there is also a counter where you can buy a takeaway scoop for €2.50.

The pistachio, mango or salted caramel flavours will tantalise your taste buds as you traverse the city to Silkes (061-417997, silkes.ie), 64 St Catherine Street, in the heart of the city’s fashion quarter. The stationery, arts, crafts and education shop is a local institution whose fans include Adare-based milliner Aisling Maher. From the outside it looks nothing special, but inside it is an emporium worth browsing, selling everything from single A5 envelopes in teal blue or magenta pink, 35 cent each, to sheets of paper, €1.25, and glue, €5.95, for use in decoupage – the art of decorating furniture with colourful paper overlay. Crafty little fixes like this now account for almost 40 per cent of the shop’s business.

Across the street is Lucky Lane (luckylane.info), a market run by musicians David Irwin and Mark Sheehan that sells vintage clothing, upcycled furniture and proudly displays the city’s only public piano with a sign that reads: “Have fun. Don’t listen to your mother”. The lads encourage browsers to tinkle the ivories.

In one of its concessions, horticulturist Tara Maloney, who was a plant buyer for Kew Gardens and Wyevale, a chain of UK garden centres, sells official Royal Botanic Gardens Kew hand-thrown plant pots, priced from €16 to €30 – gorgeous,even without plants in them.

Alchemist Earth (061-404218, naturalskincare.ie) at 10 Sarsfield Street is an Irish Times Best Shops favourite for its ever-increasing range of eco beauty brands.

Up the street, Hook and Ladder (061-413 778, hookandladder.ie) at 7 Sarsfield Street, is a novel café in which you can buy pretty much everything you see including the cross back cane chairs, €99 each, that you sit on.

The chaotic and cluttered interior of saddler Tom Wallace (061-314312),76 O’Connell Street, belies his talented speciality, a remit that goes beyond expertise in all things equine expertise – he will repair leather jackets. Alanna Gallagher

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