Outlet shopping in Ireland can range from the tacky to the “make it a whole day” variety. And Kildare Village makes a strong case for the latter, with an abundance of shops, big designer names, and good food as well. And while “Kildare Village” sounds idyllic and traditional, and to a point, the complex actually manages to preserve bits of the illusion by nice shop architecture … at the end of the (no doubt very busy shopping) day, it is a commercial enterprise. With a vengeance. Because this is Ireland's premier take on the Outlet Mall, basically a grouping of brand-name stores. Albeit designed in such a way as to convey a "village setting" (with added rural or semi-urban North-American styling in some places). Which still comes across about as clinical as Disney's Main Street USA, despite attempts to even recreate horse barns. Quite fitting, considering that County Kildare is horse country and that both the Irish National Stud and the Curragh Racecourse are nearby. But ultimately it just is the stage dressing for retail therapy on a grand scale. Hold on to your credit cards.
In a Nutshell
Kildare Village offers a large number of brand-name stores in one location, in a reasonably attractive "village setting" - which makes a nice change from “instant” shopping centers and utilitarian strip malls. Located conveniently for approach via the M7, and close to local attractions, it may cater for a “family day out”. On the other hand, it is worth remembering that we are talking “big brands” here, and brand name shopping does, even with reductions, not necessarily equate bargain shopping. So be prepared. Especially if you are used to outlet shopping in other countries, as prices in Ireland may tend to the more expensive.
The whole complex is a relatively new development just outside Kildare Town, literally just off the M7 (take Exit 13) and properly signposted. For those arriving by public transport, there is a shuttle service to Kildare Town, train station and local attractions available (drop in on Saint Brigid, if you will). Within the complex, cafés provide plenty of opportunity for rest and recuperation on site – unless you hit them at really busy hours.
Is It Worth the Trip?
Irish shoppers tend to enthuse about the bargains to be had here. Prices in Ireland are still generally high, especially for branded items, so even bargains might appear fairly unexciting for non-Irish shoppers. Especially those coming from countries afflicted by a weak currency as compared to the Euro.
On the other hand … you might get the odd special edition or real bargain, so if you are a shopaholic and have an hour or two, why not drop in and browse? As long as you are prepared to see it more as a “leisure activity” than a guaranteed cheap shopping spree.
What Shops and Brands Can You Find?
The following brands and shops are represented at Kildare Village (in alphabetical order): AllSaints, Anya Hindmarch, Aquascutum, Armani, Asics, Barbour, Bedeck, Belstaff, Boss, Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein (jeans, underwear, and watches as well as jewelry), Cath Kidston, Church's, Clarks, Coach, Crabtree & Evelyn, David Clulow, Diesel, DKNY, DVF, Escada, Falke, Folli Follie, Fossil, French Connection, Furla, Gerard Darel, Gucci, Guess, Hackett, Hamilton, Heidi Klum Intimates, Hobbs, Home & Cook, Hour Passion, Jack Wills, Jaeger, Jigsaw, Joules, Juicy Couture, K.I.D.S, Karen Millen, kate spade new york, Kipling, Kurt Geiger, L.K.Bennett, Lacoste, Le Creuset, Levi's, Lily O'Brien's, Links of London, L'Occitane, Longines, Louise Kennedy, Lulu Guinness, Mido, Molton Brown, Mulberry, Musto, N.Peal, Napapijri, New Balance, Nike, Pandora, Penhaligon's, Polo Ralph Lauren (children and adults), Pretty Ballerinas, Rado, Reiss, Samsonite, Sarah Pacini, Savoy Taylors Guild, Signet Jewellers, Só Collective, Superdry, Swarovski, Swatch, Ted Baker, The Kooples, The North Face, Thomas Pink, Timberland, Tissot, Tog 24, Tommy Hilfiger, Tumi, Under Armour, Versace, Villeroy & Boch, Watch Station, Wolford, and Zwilling.
As for food and drink … you may recharge at Crêperie Angélie, Dunne & Crescenzi L’Officina, Hatch and Sons, Joe’s Coffee, Luxe Gelato, Starbucks, and Stone Ground Donuts.
- Location: Kildare Village, Nurney Road, Kildare Town, County Kildare, R51 R265.
- Public Transport: Trains stop in Kildare Town, with a complimentary shuttle service bringing you to Kildare Village. There are also bus services catering for the serious shopper from Dublin Airport, Dublin City Centre, Shannon Airport and Limerick City – branded “Shopping Express” and run by local firm JJ Kavanagh.
- Parking: a free car park can accommodate up to 2,000 cars.
- Estimated Time Needed: budget a few hours, or until your credit card is refused.
- Website: kildarevillage.com