“Let’s meet at Simon’s” my friend’s text reads.
“Where?” I think, so I type that back.
“You know, the place that smells like cinnamon buns on George’s Street. The Arcade.”
Yes. It DOES smell like cinnamon buns. In fact, Simon’s makes the whole upper half of George’s Market Arcade smell like cinnamon buns. Delicious.
The Arcade is one of those places–pass-through, walkway, connecting tunnel–that I have come to take totally for granted. So much so that I didn’t even know that Simons was called Simons. I walk through it many times a week but don’t really take stock of the building or what it contains.
The other day I came out of a bar across the road from it and looked up. I had to snap a photo, it just looked so good sitting across the road. It is a stunning building. It sits squarely on one whole city block, and the middle of it is a market.
There are offices upstairs, a cavernous bar around one side, a super market around the other with two music stores, and a fancy restaurant. There is also a chinese restaurant, a fast food Peking Duck place, a bike repair shop and a new health food store. You can get your haircut on both the west and east corners. That’s just what is along the outside!
Inside is an eclectic mix of vintage flannel, Irish wool, Italian Olives, homemade fudge, Chinese reflexology goods, bubble tea, frozen yogurt and jewelers. You can have your tarot cards read as you nibble a tiny cupcake or buy something clever and useful but very attractive for your home. You can also find a lot of crap. All of this within 100 yards!
I forgot to mention that you can also buy an old fashioned portion of fish and chips.
It is populated mostly with tourists poking around, students doing the frozen yogurt and bubble tea thing, or Dubliners just trying to get quickly from George’s Street to Drury Street and onwards.
There is a stall that sells old books and hanging off one of the walls is a photo of the Arcade in the 50s. There were no stalls down the middle, only shops along either side. It appears so much larger than it does now. Cars were allowed to be driven through it! It looks very elegant with the ladies in tailored wool coats walking along as the sun slants through the roof.
George’s Street Arcade is one of those magic Dublin places where you can find just about anything you ever (or never) wanted.