Wednesday 23 May 2018

The Avoca effect has brought celebrities to our lovely crescent

Actor Cillian Murphy
Actor Cillian Murphy

Katy McGuinness

Our village has gone from a sleepy, nothing-much-happening-here strip of shops and cafés when we moved here 25 years ago to being where every Range Rover- and Volvo XC90-driving resident of south County Dublin wants to hang out at weekends.

The transformation was brought about by the opening of an Avoca and truly it is the epi-centre of life in SoCoDu. Living within a five-minute walk of an Avoca obviously has upsides too numerous to mention, foremost amongst which is never having to cook dinner if you don't feel like it.

(It also has its downsides, of which the most preoccupying is the lack of parking and the fact that sometimes you might have to drive around the block three times before you find somewhere to pull in to pick up a pint of milk in the Spar).

The village still has a few ordinary businesses - there's a funeral directors, for instance, and a garage, even if it is a Land Rover specialist, and a post office that sells birthday cards and packets of string and brown envelopes.

There is a vacuum cleaner repair shop that will fix toasters and irons and an excellent newsagent's that sells the kind of confectionery that brings a nostalgic tear to the eye of grown adults. It stocks every magazine that you have ever heard of and a few hundred more besides.

In the pharmacy it takes all of one's willpower not to eavesdrop on the ailments of one's neighbours. But that's about it of what you might call regular shops.

There are two florists, a couple of boutiques (one of which sells yoga leggings at a hundred quid a pop) and a very smart garden shop that we all said would never last but where, what do you know, business is booming.

Another shop sells covetable sanitary ware and at another you can buy balsamic vinegar that's 30 years old and pasta that costs a fiver a packet. There is, of course, a wine shop, and a slew of cafés to pick up the slack when you can't get a table in Avoca, including one where you can sit outside with your dog when the sun is shining.

Along with the gentrification of the village has come an influx of celebrities. Avoca is a Mecca for them all and no visit is complete without a sighting of a rugby player picking up a rake of Sprout juices. (The local laundry numbers at least one international player amongst its clients, to judge by the piles of cellophane-wrapped kit on its shelves.) Ryan Tubridy is a regular presence, and just the other day there were reports of Domhnall Gleeson taking lunch in - you guessed it - Avoca, although it has yet to be confirmed whether he has taken up residence in the neighbourhood or was just passing through.

Most thrilling of all, though, are the regular sightings of Cillian Murphy and his black labrador, which send a frisson of excitement up and down the crescent. I'm going to miss them all.

Sunday Independent

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