The forecast for yesterday wasn't great - mind you, the only difference with today was the showers. So we decided to take a drive down to Kildare to check out the Kildare Village outlet centre. (Yes, it would seem that radio advertising works!).
I was expecting disappointment. I have this thing about outlet shops since I got a jumper (or was it a scarf?) with a hole in it many many years ago. But it turned out pretty good. It took 45 minutes to get there, it was easy to find, just off the motorway. The car park was fairly quiet when we got there around 12, but there were plenty of parking attendants, who were making sure that no-one parked in disabled spots or loading bays. The place has a bit of a Disneyland feel to it. We decided to have lunch first - in L'Officina (it looks nothing like the picture on their website) - Brendan had the antipasto misto, I had a bruschetta al pomodoro and strawberries and cream for dessert. All perfect and yummy.
Now, don't believe the website, listing about half a dozen restaurants - the only 2 places for food and drink in the village are L'Officina and Starbucks. L'Ecrivain and Bentleys are in Dublin city centre, so I have no idea why they are listed as an eating option in Kildare Village! Not that we'd have gone there anyway.
The shops are all lined up in a Disney main street, so you can get it all done really quickly if, like me, you skip all the shops that don't interest you (I'm not a great shopper - I have no patience for browsing). There is plenty of choice - Levi's, North Face, LK Bennett, Coast, Monsoon, Clarks, Desigual, Bally, to name but a few, and there are genuine discounts. All shops felt spacious, despite the large crowds descending on the place (mostly young couples, some with babies or young children), and service was generally with a smile (staff at North Face and Desigual get my vote for friendliness).
We were all done by 2:30, at which point the car park was nearly full. Recession? What Recession?