Strolling the streets of Dublin's Historic District, it's hard not to be struck by how friendly shop owners are to families and children.
Even stores with breakables and fancy things eagerly greet young people.
The district's proximity to a Dublin City Schools middle and high school means shop workers are used to kids, said Susie Couger, a longtime employee of Our Cupcakery.
"Everybody is welcoming of that," said Couger, who decorates cakes and cupcakes at the bakery. "We recognize that it's a huge client base for us."
Rose Lykins, owner of Aboxa Fudge, agreed that kids are an important part of the economy in the district (which is also called "Old Dublin," or "BriHi" because it sits at the intersection of Bridge and High streets).
"They're some of my best customers," Lykins said. "A kid will come in and try a free sample and then come back on their bike with their piggybank and buy a box of fudge."
The welcoming atmosphere, unique shops and great dining options m ake the area a fun destination for families. It's a place to park the car and explore on foot.
Historic Dublin has been a hub of activity for the town since it was settled in 1810. The town was named after the capital of Ireland by a surveyor who was born there.
The area has a much different feel than other parts of the city, which are dominated by new construction designed to look old. Here, many buildings are genuinely old and a number of them are on the National Registry of Historic Places.
Many of these shops have interesting nooks and rooms, which make them fun to navigate. (The same could be said of the district's parking, which is mostly tucked compactly behind shops, but at least it's free!)
The city also celebrates its Gaelic heritage each year by hosting the world's second largest Dublin Irish Festival. This weekend-long festival of music, dancing and dining takes place during the first weekend in August, just up the road in Coffman Park.
Ha'penny Bridge Imports of Ireland carries wonderful goods from the town's namesake. The store has a beautiful selection of Irish china, jewelry and crystal, as well as a room devoted to kid stuff. Items include everything from christening gowns to cute onesies and cozy little sweaters.
Blankets and Booties also has a great selection of baby and children items. The store is full of precious clothing for girls up to size 4T and boys up to 9 months. The inventory also includes some unique gifts including a plate and marker that baby-shower guests can personalize for moms-to-be.
Clover Boutique offers a beautiful array of clothing, jewelry and vintage items.
"It's a little bit of everything," said owner Susie Crum. She tries to stock as much environmentally friendly merchandise as she can. Crum sells clothing made from organic cotton and bamboo. She also carries merchandise from Global Girlfriend, a line of fair-trade products made by women in communities in need.
Create is a super-luxe boutique for children's clothing. When you need special clothes for special occasions (including baptisms and First Communions), this is definitely a shop to visit. They also stock home decor, toys and gifts.
When it's time for a bite to eat, there are numerous options.
Tehku Tea Co. has yummy lunch selections. The tea house hosts tea tasting where guests can learn more about the ancient beverage. The shop also has an extensive selection of teas that customers can sniff. Even kids enjoy twisting open the tea containers and taking a whiff of the spicy and fruity tea leaves.
For snacks, kids will want to visit Our Cupcakery, which features a DIY cupcake bar. Kids can choose the cupcake and icing flavor they want and then decorate the treat with candy and sprinkles. The bakery also offers kids baking classes and birthday parties.
Another fun party and snacking venue is MJ's Candy Bar. The store has retro candy and all the current favorites. And right at the corner of BriHi sits a Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams (no explanation needed, right?).
For a unique treat, visit Biddie's Coach House. The quaint tea house serves sandwiches, salads and soups and is a lovely spot for a mother-daughter date.
DUBLIN IRISH FESTIVAL
Dates: Aug. 5-7
Tickets: adults, $10; seniors (60+), students (with ID) and military personnel, $8; children 12 and under are admitted free. Through Aug. 3, you can get a $1 discount on tickets by ordering them online.
16 N. High St.
124 S. High St.
HA'PENNY BRIDGE IMPORTS
75 S. High St.
BLANKETS AND BOOTIES
82 S. High St.
48 S. High St.
13 S. High St.
TEHKU TEA COMPANY
55 S. High St.
MJ'S CANDY BAR
72 N. High St.
JENI'S SPLENDID ICE CREAMS
1 W. Bridge St.
BIDDIE'S COACH HOUSE
76 S. High St.