Search icon


31st Mar 2023

Where have all the emos gone? – Carrolls gift shop the latest addition to Central Bank’s new plaza

Fiona Frawley

Carrolls Central Bank

This isn’t the (Gerard) way it should be.

Any Dubliner who came of age in the late 90s/early noughties will remember Central Bank as something of a sanctuary for the wee emos of the city, whose dutifully straightened side fringes and fluorescent tutus (an Asha staple) provided a sombre but comforting tapestry for the city centre building. It was their space, everyone else simply existed around it.

Central Bank in its former glory. 

For the bulk of the 2010s, the scaffolding around Central Bank felt like a permanent part of Dublin’s architecture. A bit like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, it seemed like nobody ever went in, nobody ever came out – but that all changed last year when the builder boards parted to reveal a Krispy Kreme and eight floors of office space last year.

To some, the new development was sacrilege. Like building a McDonalds on the site of an ancient burial ground, or a Celtic Tiger estate on top of a fairy fort. Central Bank was part of every Dubliners vocabulary; everyone knew where it was and what it was about, and those fingerless gloves and heavy coatings of black eyeliner formed a vital part of our cultural landscape. Central Plaza? It just doesn’t roll off the tongue in the same way. We don’t know her. We don’t understand her.

“Christ casting out the emos from the Central Bank steps”, via Reddit/Misodoho

We’re not okay (we promise)

But still, the ole’ corporate wheels keep churning whether you’re ready or not, and the latest addition to the Central Plaza is Carrolls Irish Gift Shop. The tourist tantalisers have just signed a long-term lease with the Hines and Peterson Group, and fit out is to commence immediately for their 10,000 sq ft store.

Carrolls is the latest addition to the former Central Bank. Image via Shutterstock.

We have regular cause to lament the loss of Dublin’s key cultural spaces as they’re replaced by hotels no one can afford to stay in, but Central Bank hits different. Do we cry because it’s over, or smile because it happened? Realistically, none of its former patrons would want us to smile, so that’s probably not the right option. We can only hope that amidst its sea of green Carrolls erects a single, solemn plaque, informing tourists about the cultural significance of the site they now occupy.

Thnks fr th Mmrs, Central Plaza.

Header image via Shutterstock