Ireland is often associated with stunning scenery but the capital of the republic, Dublin, is proof that man-made beauty also abounds on the island, especially where design is concerned.
Furniture store Duff Tisdall (Taney Road, Goatstown, tel: 353 1 205 1119; www.duff-tisdall.ie) was launched by two architects and it's evident the duo pick only what they like. Here, expensive handmade, locally produced work is available alongside more affordable accessories. The diamond-shaped Toc Wall Clock (Euro150/HK$1,500) comes in a variety of colours and, like the eerie Tree coat stand (Euro410), can transform a room.
World Design (59 South William Street, tel: 353 1 613 9032; www.worlddesign.ie) takes inspiration from Africa and sticks with hand- made artistry when it comes to signature tableware, floor mats and baskets. A lovely memento would be the green and purple cup and saucer (right; Euro39).
It was perhaps inevitable that Guinness, which Dublin is famous for, would be pressed into service as a design feature. At quirky Christy Bird (32 South Richmond Street, Portobello, tel: 353 1 475 4049; www.christybird.com), you'll find vintage signs, jugs and pictures celebrating the drink. For a new Guinness pint glass, head to Kilkenny (6 Nassau Street, tel: 353 1 677 7066; www.kilkennyshop.com), where you'll find a sturdy pitcher (Euro3.50) and a delicate rose-print mug (Euro19.50).
There are more drinking accessories at Kitchen Complements (Chatham House, Chatham Street, tel: 353 1 677 0734; www.kitchencomplements.ie), such as stylish stainless-steel corkscrews (from Euro9.75).
At Home Couture (Glencullen House, Kylemore Road, tel: 353 1 621 5800; www.homecouture.ie), the emphasis is on the glossy and high-end. The round black glass table would make an elegant focus point for a dining room. The shiny green sliding doors that front the oak sideboard turn an often-neg- lected piece into something much more interesting. .
Charles Furniture (32 North Brunswick Street, Stoneybatter, tel: 353 675 3840; www.charlesfurniture.ie) stocks unique pieces. Pride of place goes to the Ballboy stool (left), which will change the way you look at tennis balls. The equally stunning Jigsaw White table uses graffiti to give a simple piece of furniture a modern twist.