GOREY has always been a great business town, but did you know that it has now become a serious fashionista destination? Esmonde Street has become a boulevard of boutiques and cafes, acquiring the tag of G4 and attracting the ladies in their droves.
I took a promenade through the shops, and the cafes that have sprung up here to provide rest and relaxation for all those shoppers. From flirty and sophisticated dresses, wedding gowns and mother-of-the-bride outfits, to colourful lingerie, shoes, make-up, and decorative household items, it is all here on the 'G4 Boulevard'.
My first port of call was to The Little Kitchen, run by pastry chef Cathy Owens. Having run a home-based online bakery in Kilmuckridge for a couple of years, supplying cafes and hotels with her cupcakes, Cathy opened The Little Kitchen just four weeks ago in a pretty shop adorned with crystal chandeliers.
"I wanted to open something a little more permanent. And here we are," she says.
Everything is baked on site and Cathy buys locally and from Irish producers. She uses free-range eggs, and also buys dressings from Ciara's Pantry, a local online business, specialising in artisan chutneys, salad dressings, jellies and so on (www.ciaraspantry.com).
"I am a big supporter of business networking, and promoting other businesses."
NIAMH Byrne's Ruby Rouge is a knockout whirl of colour and glamour. The boutique is described as pure girly heaven, and looking at gorgeous Manoush frou-frou lacy confections, it certainly lives up to the claim. It also has mother-of-the-bride outfits, and an online shop.
Marian McKenna's La Creme has been in business for 15 years in Gorey, and she carries 68 Irish and international labels in sizes 10 to 26.
"We are very much a destination shop for mother of the bride and groom. Business is really, really good for us. It is not just a shop where you come and buy your dress. We put a huge amount of money into personal styling courses, so if you came into me I would look at your colouring, your hair, the length of your neck, the way you wear your necklace, long body, short body, how to elongate your leg – and our website would say that one visit changes how you shop forever, and that would be our ethos. We even teach you how to hold your handbag for the pictures.
"You can buy a dress here for under €100 or you can buy a dress for €1,000. People are looking for really good quality at a lower price. Spanish labels are coming in at very good quality with good prices."
If you buy your outfit at La Creme for a wedding, you can also borrow a hat for the event and it will be couriered to you anywhere in Ireland. "It is our thank you for shopping with us. It is our way of giving back to the customer."
"It's going very well. People want something that's a little bit different."
There are two bridal shops close together with dresses to suit any bride. Glamourize Bridal & Accessories stocks Ellis as well as Benjamin Roberts, Mon Cheri and Tia Bridal. Embrace Bridal collection includes Mori Lee by Madeline Gardner, Blu, Voyage and Angelina Faccenda.