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Lucire 2012
County Kildare Failte

Kildare Village Chic shopping near Dublin

The golden road to the Emerald (Isle) City


Above K-Club and its links, and an Irish stud on the farm.


This business-savvy way of eating, drinking and thinking not only carries over to l’Officina, the Dunne & Crescenzi outpost at Kildare Village (perhaps one of the world’s most couples-friendly outlet malls, designed with refreshing sophistication and refinement), but also the classically elegant K-Club Resort. K-Club has been on the map for years, thanks to Arnold Palmer-designed golf courses and its close proximity to the century-old Irish National Stud and Japanese Gardens—a must for thoroughbred horse racing aficionados and avid gardeners alike.

With that in mind, it is no surprise that beyond its dignified links, the resort is outfitted with everything a savvy traveller would want in his or her quintessentially Irish holiday. There are several drawing rooms in the main building, with museum-calibre art on display. The cinematic bar, meanwhile, is perfect for after-hours gatherings after an engagement party, wedding or long day on the links. Food offerings are flawless, whether they are enjoyed in the acclaimed River Room anchored by executive chef Finbar Higgins, or Thai restaurant Kwam Suk, originally opened by Prince Albert of Monaco, K-Club owner Dr Michael Smurfit and restaurateur Ashique Hossain. The K Spa is another highlight, especially now that the practitioners have switched from continental European products to such home-grown treatment and skin-care potions by Voya Spa, made with Irish seaweed and other beneficial and locally sourced elements.


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Above Newbridge Silver’s Museum of Style Icons has displays dedicated to Edith Head and Audrey Hepburn.


There are several other attractions minutes from the K-Club sure to keep the conversation going. La Serre, another one of County Kildare’s world-class restaurants, is a focal point at Lyons Village. The open, airy space in this restaurant serves as an achingly romantic dinner destination, while its pub is convivial place to enjoy a pint of Guinness, beautifully crafted cocktails or pours of the finest Irish whisky. While Newbridge Silver is a handy place to pick up unusual and practical corporate gifts, its adjoining and free-of-charge Museum of Style Icons brings a surprising but tasteful hit of Hollywood to an area better known for stables and golf. Its eclectic display includes some of the most celebrated outfits worn by Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, Barbra Streisand’s famed touring gowns, rare royal items from the wardrobes of Princess Diana and Princess Grace, and even kitsch and props from American television shows The Brady Bunch and Dallas.

Grafton Street in Dublin’s CBD is still regarded as the epicentre of Irish chic, while Nassau Street is the place to go if you want more homespun Irish fashion and accessories (the Sweater Shop offers the real deal figuratively and literally on Irish Aran sweaters). Serious treasures can be found at Ruby Ruby, a much-buzzed about consignment boutique in adjoining Royal Hibernian Way co-owned by Laura Barnes, an enterprising American woman who originally came to teach during the Celtic tiger years. That said, Kildare Village (30 minutes from Dublin and about 20 minutes from the K-Club) cannot be missed among travellers looking to bring more Irish, British and European chic into their existing wardrobes not necessarily available in the US, New Zealand or Australia.

Highlights for women are many. Handbag collectors will want to check out Radley, Furla and Anya Hindmarch, a global phenomenon with famous collectors that include Scarlett Johansson, Sienna Miller, Angelina Jolie and Claudia Schiffer. L. K. Bennett, reportedly a favourite high street go-to spot for the Duchess of Cambridge, is one-stop-shopping for tailored dresses, suits, shoes and accessories. UK-based Monsoon, especially in the upscale outlet setting, gives H&M a run for its money with its affordable boho-chic items.

In terms of home-grown Irish fashion, there is Louise Kennedy’s couture on the ultra-high end, and Fran and Jane on the more moderately priced and wearable end. While Thomas Pink’s existence was inspired by an 18th-century London tailor who designed the iconic hunting coat worn by masters of Foxhounds, the modern expression of bespoke shirting was set up in 1984 by three Irish brothers.

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Above, from top L. K. Bennett shoes and bag—a brand reportedly favoured by the Duchess of Cambridge. Hackett hat and gloves. Louise Kennedy cashmere scarf. Savoy Taylors Guild shoes.


While there will be plenty of bargains to keep us happy and stylish, even the most anti-shopping guy will be pleased with what Kildare Village has to offer, running the gamut from bespoke-tailored suits and shirts to statement-making golf apparel to some subtly edgy weekend wear for the boys. Savoy Taylors Guild is worth a protracted visit for its impeccably tailored menswear. Though Moss Bros., its parent company, made its name as a second-hand clothing purveyor, it blended time-tested tailoring traditions with “vintage-inspired” fashion trends to forge made-to-measure suiting and ready-to-wear appealing to customers ranging from politicians to advertising executives. Hackett’s, whose fans include members of the Royal Family and top European athletes, features a selection of custom tailoring, formalwear, business clothing, and casual jackets, rugby shirts and trousers inspired by British sartorial heritage. Shirts from France’s Café Coton can also add a distinctive dash of flair to one’s existing wardrobe.

Though there are Ted Baker and All Saints boutiques around the world, a visit to the Kildare Village branches may not only yield some excellent prices, but also individual garments for men and women possibly not available outside the UK. If you happen to be more in a country holiday mode and are dressing more for the links, the stables or a leisurely walk through nearby Kildare Town, Kildare Village also addresses this with Germany’s Golfino (focused on stylish golf clothing and accessories,, Reiss (Beyoncé is said to be a fan) and preppy pieces from Jack Wills.

In his career, famed Dubliner Bono ultimately found what he was looking for. By the same token, Dublin, the K-Club and Kildare Village will have plenty of what you are looking for, as well as some fantastic surprises and discoveries you never knew you wanted—until you find them, on the links, the fields, the plates and, yes, the shelves and the racks. •


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County Kildare Failte

Top left Hackett jumper. Top right and above Shopping chic at Kildare Village.

Kildare Village (30 minutes from Dublin and about 20 minutes from the K-Club) cannot be missed among travellers looking to bring more Irish, British and European chic into their existing wardrobes not necessarily available in the US, New Zealand or Australia







Fran and Jane dress

Suit from Savoy Taylors Guild





Getting there
Aer Lingus (a Star Alliance member airline) offers direct flights to Dublin from US cities Chicago, New York City and Boston. Other airlines with routes to Dublin include Air New Zealand, United Airlines, American Airlines, Swiss, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.




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