There is only one problem with owning a ‘Kiss Me I’m Irish’ tee shirt and that is if you are any normal humble non-flirtatious sort of person it only gets worn once a year. However, if you go with a truly Irish products and souvenirs, you can wear it any day you want, but look super cool on St. Patrick’s Day because you’d be wearing with the Irish sport –
Hairy Baby started in Cork, Ireland and its wares are quickly gaining worldwide popularity. Some are simple designs while others are catchy phrases – some of which are in Irish! I own, wear, and love my navy tee stating Is maith liom Cáca Mílis (I like cakes) and my husband owns a sweatshirt stating Tóg Go Bog É (take it easy). The cotton is unbelievably soft and it is sweatshop-free organic clothing so you feel good on the inside and the outside when you wear your Hairy Baby apparel. If I had to equate it to an American business, I’d say it’s like a cross between Ben & Jerry’s (the quirky and cool part) and American Apparel (the sweatshop-free cotton stuff part) with both being globally responsible and kind to their communities.
Smudge Yarns and Wool is all Irish and fair-trade. The fleece is from sheep within Ireland, Scotland, and Britain then processed by local mills and hand-dyed by Sara. She creates rich colorways that evoke a sense of familiarity while still being exhilaratingly new. There are many times I see one that is not even in the neighborhood of a color I like yet the intricacy and depth of the hue in that skein captures my attention and adoration. We all know I hate purple/plum, but I see what she creates and it isn’t just an out-of-the-box purple but one you’d see shimmering from an eggplant in a family garden. Which embodies Smudge since the company itself is woman-owned and operated with all products being fair-trade. So you know when you buy a skein of Smudge that every single person (and sheep) involved has been compensated fairly and that it was all done in Ireland, Scotland, and Britain.
Father Ted – The Definitive Collection on DVD from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
Father Ted as a series captures quirks, humor, and hilarity that seems to be uniquely Irish. And some of the lines from ‘Father Ted’ have seeped into every facet of culture and conversation. If you fancy yourself Irish or feel you understand Irish culture and have not seen Father Ted, go on and order it already. Ah, go on.
Claddagh Ring from Thomas Dillon’s Claddagh Gold. The history of the iconic Claddagh ring is long and stems from the little fishing village of Claddagh on a stony beach in the outskirts of Galway, Ireland. The design has symbolic meaning, the two hands representing friendship, the heart standing for love, and the crown expressing loyalty. If the ring is worn on the right hand with the heart facing out it means the wearer is available. If the ring is worn on the right hand with the crown facing out, the wearer’s heart is taken. It is often used as a wedding band and in those cases the ring should be worn on the left hand ring finger with the crown facing out.
A Bowl, Coffee Set, or Vase from Stephen Pearce Pottery. Made and designed in Ireland using Irish clay, each piece is hand-crafted with the warm earthen hue peeking through alongside a creamy glaze. They even have a wedding registry!
Barry’s Tea (Cork-based) which is one of those things all the Irish living not in Ireland pack their suitcases with when they visit home. If you like a good strong cuppa, one of their blends is for you. But, if you prefer loose tea, go with Campbell’s Tea (Dublin-based).
Natural Skin Care from Bia Beauty. I personally LOVE their Lime Pie Lip Balm. Think Burt’s Bees for the Irish. And we all acknowledge the Irish completion can be sensitive so having an all-natural and gentle skin care line is a worthwhile luxury.
Zwartbles Ireland. Ethically-raised and loved sheep for wool near Kilkenny. The wool is milled locally to create knitting yarn, woven blankets, and more. The sheep and the mill are within 10 miles of one another in the Irish countryside. Undyed, just the natural beauty of the sheep.
Hand Knit Aran Sweaters are no longer commonplace as they once were. With competitively priced machine-knit sweaters dominating the market and no guarantee the yarn used is from sheep within Ireland or spun in mills here either, it is important to consider what you want when you shop for an Aran sweater. If you just want the look, but don’t need it to be truly authentic from sheep to spin to hand knit by an Irish woman in her home, go with Aran Sweater Market or Blarney Woollen Mill (hand knit, but not with Irish wool). However, if you want your jumper to be hand knit like granny intended, contact O’Máille. In general, if a sweater has Merino in it, some of the wool at least was not sourced from Ireland since Merino sheep do not thrive in this cool, damp climate. But this is a generalisation, not a hard and fast rule.
Irish Blessing Market Tote. As the traditional Irish blessing goes, ‘May the Road Rise to Meet You…’ …particularly when you are carrying groceries home. This was designed, but not manufactured in Ireland. It is my own creation. And I feel it is Irish because everyone in Ireland carries their own grocery tote to the store. Otherwise, you pay for a disposable bag at the register. So, be kinder to the wind and earth by bringing your own bag to the store, like Eire Blessing’s Tote Bag ($15.59). Gift idea: Fill it with yummy treats for a new neighbor or friend going on a road trip.
Fenn’s Quay Recipe Book. A free download from this award-winning Cork restaurant’s website, so there’s no excuse to not become a fan of REAL Irish food.