Irish bargain hunters have been starved of shopping meccas to New York in recent times. However does the answer to our discounted Ralph Lauren lie closer to home? The Kildare Village has expanded recently and may just provide a nice substitute for Macys and Fifth Avenue. Is it possible however to have your Jimmy Choos for Christmas in Cork and not have to waste a full weekend on the mission?
Here is our Irish outlet shopping guide for anyone who is time-poor and wants to grab some pre-Christmas bargains. We also ask - is it worth the trip?
Living in Cork means that Kildare Village is just over a two hour car journey away. The key to a productive day is leaving Cork early. And by early that is 6.30am. By doing this you will arrive before it opens at 9am. A nice way to ease the journey is popping on a podcast and listening to that on the drive up.
You can very easily book your free parking on their website. Once you arrive you will be directed to the pre-book car park and there should be plenty of spaces.
If you can gather a gang of people who you can carpool with, do it and share the cost. Designated coach companies offer trips from Limerick but not from Cork so it’s a bit trickier. You can get a train from Cork however and it takes just over two hours with one change. A regular shuttle bus runs from the station to Kildare Village.
You can bring a packed breakfast and lunch or a stop at the McDonalds drive-thru for a breakfast treat in Cashel will still allow you to arrive at the destination before 9am. Once you arrive at the Village Starbucks will be open before 9am so you can grab a pre-shopping coffee.
You have the luxury of being first on-site so get to the popular shops first. Places like Rituals and Molton Brown may have queues later in the day so get them done first. Their products are heavy too so you can bring the products back to the car. Also, Tog24 and Lindt get busy as they are small stores so get in there early.
Set your time expectations. We finished our shopping by 12.45pm and were back on the road to Cork immediately. About ten minutes after you leave Kildare Village you will come across Junction 14 and you can stop here if you like for lunch. You will find the likes of Subway, Supermacs, Chopped here.
You won’t need me to point out that the weekdays will be quieter than weekends at Kildare Village. If you have some pandemic holiday leave built up it could be an idea to take a day during the week when shops will be quieter. That said, we did this trip on a Saturday and it only started to get busy around 11am.
Simply put - yes. The trip from Cork to Kildare Village was worth it. I got lots of Christmas gifts, got some nice bargains, enjoyed the road trip with my sister and was back at home by 3pm. It was years since I had visited Kildare Village and it has expanded greatly since then. The kind of shops you will see up there now are the likes of LK Bennet, North Face, Ralph Lauren, Joules, Adidas, Clarks, Superdry, DKNY and Sketchers. My best bargain? A gorgeous jacket in Tog24, I got it for €50, RRP is €90.