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  • All About the Claddagh Symbol: Friendship, Loyalty, and Love

    Ireland's rich history of folklore and tradition spans thousands of years. Today, Ireland is often recognized by its historic symbols the trinity, the harp, the shamrock, the tree of life, and the claddagh. This edition of the Irish Heritage Series dives into Ireland's traditions to tell you all about the claddagh symbol and its special connection to the Emerald Isle.

    Click to see our classic claddagh ring

    Meaning of the Claddagh Symbol

    The claddagh represents friendship, loyalty, and love. Its three unique components express its meaning: The hands represent friendship (cairdeas), the crown represents loyalty (dilseacht), and the heart represents love (gra).

    Several Irish traditions surround the claddagh symbol. First, gold and silver rings adorned with the claddagh are often given to celebrate an engagement or wedding. Second, claddagh rings are often passed down from mother to daughter. For this reason, a claddagh ring is a lovely idea for mothers looking to give an heirloom to their daughters. Finally, in more modern times, the claddagh ring has adopted a popular meaning of signifying one's relationship status. When worn with the heart facing inward, the wearer's heart is already taken. However, when worn with the heart pointing outward, their heart is open to love. Whichever tradition you follow, the symbol of the claddagh expresses a deep connection to Irish heritage and culture. With it, you carry the beautiful message of friendship, loyalty, and love. 

    "Humble but happy home of the Claddagh fisher-folk; Galway, Ireland"

    Origins of the Claddagh Symbol

    The claddagh symbol originated sometime in the 17th century in the small village of Claddagh, just outside of Galway City. Resting alongside the Atlantic Ocean, Claddagh was a historic fishing village named for the Irish An Cladach, meaning stony shore. A silversmith from this village crafted the first ever claddagh ring. The legend says that he gave it to his wife to thank her for her friendship, loyalty, and love. The popularity of the rings quickly spread across Ireland. By the 20th century they had reached Irish diasporas in America and Europe. 

    An aran sweater featuring the claddagh on its zipper

    The Claddagh Symbol Today

    The claddagh symbol today has become an emblem of Irish identity recognized all over the world. It appears on many types of jewelry, art, and Irish logos. In fact, Galway, the original home of the claddagh, recently opened a special exhibit about the legend and history of the symbol. Whether in Ireland or anywhere else in the world, wearing the claddagh expresses one's special connection to the Emerald Isle. Its diverse traditions make it perfect for a celebration of marriage, as a family heirloom, or a special gift to a friend.

  • Must-See Irish Businesses

    It's no secret that the current health crisis has posed many challenges for small businesses, including ourselves at the Sweater Shop. But it's also true that as this crisis has unfolded, many of us have become more connected to our communities. At the Sweater Shop, we've been touched by the encouragement we've received. We are incredibly thankful to our customers for supporting us during this time. In the spirit of supporting our community, we're giving a shoutout to some of our favourite Irish businesses. Many of them are our neighbours in Dublin, too! Hopefully this blog gives everyone a little inspiration and a way to #supportsmall and #buyirish.

    https://irishdesignshop.com/collections/dunbeacon-pottery

    The Irish Design Shop

    Elevate your brunch-at-home game with ceramics that are handmade here in Ireland. The Dunbeacon Pottery collection pictured above is handcrafted in West Cork and sold through the Irish Design Shop. Choose a special new mug or pick up an entire brunch tableware set!

    https://www.kilkennyshop.com/default/gifts/gifts-by-category/books-stationery

    Kilkenny Shop

    All of our home workspaces could use a little colour and joy at this point. The Kilkenny Shop offers a generous selection of stationary and notebooks, which would make a great little present for you or the stay-at-home worker you want to treat.

    https://bettyandbiddy.com/collections/irish-jewelry

    Betty & Biddy

    Founded by two Irish women, Betty and Biddy has been representing Irish jewellery design internationally for some time now! Their Everyday Eire collection features meaningful Irish language sayings, making it possible to take Ireland with you everywhere you go. Check out their website for a special and affordable way to treat yourself or a friend.

    https://hostrestaurant.ie/menus

    Host Restaurant

    Let your inner chef shine with Host at Home - Host Restaurant's new grocer and home-cooking package service. They give you top-notch ingredients and instructions to cook a restaurant-quality meal at home. Check out their instagram stories, @host.restaurant, for some seriously inspiring dishes. Just give them a ring and pop into their Ranelagh shop - they take care of the rest!

    https://www.slated.ie/shop/

    Slated

    Slated makes some seriously dreamy homeware. Their business is family-run, like ours, and each piece is handcrafted and unique. If you're looking to add a classy touch to your solo cheese parties now (which is totally acceptable in isolation), or you're excited to host again in the future, pop over to the Slated website and get inspired. Their personalised cheeseboards and slate coasters would make a fantastic gift for yourself or a loved one.

    http://chapters.ie/

    Chapters Bookstore

    Chapters Bookstore is one of the best independent Irish bookstores of all time! Established in 1983, the store boasts a huge variety of classic and contemporary novels, history, crime fiction, cookbooks, children's books, and more. Plus, it's home to a massive collection of secondhand, previously loved books for all ages. You can place your book orders via email or their Facebook Page and they'll post the books directly to you.

    https://jewelsandgems.shop/products/the-rose-quartz-holistic-wand

    Jewels and Gems

    This wonderful little shop is just around the corner from where the Sweater Shop first opened on Wicklow Street! Jewels and Gems specialises in home goods and self-care for the body and soul. This rose quartz wand is ideal for stress relief and natural detox. Have one delivered or send it as a gift to someone in need of a spa day at home.

    https://gifts.tcd.ie/living/6-string-o-carolan-miniature-harp

    Trinity College Dublin Gift Shop

    If you're one of those productivity-oriented people in isolation, now is the time to tap into your Irish heritage and learn a new skill! It's almost a guarantee no one else will have picked the mini harp during isolation. Plus, at the next government-approved house party, you can totally upstage Jake who learned the ukulele, how 2016 of him.

    https://jamartprints.com/artist-test/

    Jam Art Factory

    If there ever was a time to redecorate, now is that time! Jam Art Factory has been supplying colour and art to the Temple Bar neighbourhood since 2013. They showcase up-and-coming Irish artists from all over the country, plus they ship worldwide. Theirs is a great small Irish business to support.

    http://www.kcpeaches.com/catering.html

    KC Peaches

    We've never pined over the perfect latte for so long. While KC Peaches Dublin locations are closed for now, they are offering catering! Now is a great time to book them for your future get together (once we have the all-clear of course).

  • 5 Perfect Aran Sweaters for Spring and Summer

    As the warmer months get nearer, check out our list of the perfect Aran sweaters to transition your wardrobe into spring and summer.

    1. Flowy Chic: the Aran Waterfall Cardigan

    Aran Waterfall Cardigan shown in three colour options, cream, silver, charcoal marl

    The Aran waterfall cardigan is first on our list of must-haves for spring and summer wardrobes. Beautifully crafted using a lightweight zigzag Aran stitch, this cardigan feels less chunky than sweaters made for winter-wear. Its delicate Aran stitches create a slimming silhouette and allow for breathability and movement. This season, the Aran waterfall cardigan comes in a variety of neutral colours designed to complement spring and summer palettes. This cardigan tops our list as the perfect spring and summer Aran sweater as comfortably chic daily wear, and for dressing up at the office or with a little black dress on an evening out.

    2. Pretty in Pastel: the Classic Aran Sweater

    Three women's aran fisherman sweaters in pink, natural white, and purple. The pastel aran jumper.

    The classic Aran sweater has come roaring back in popularity over the past few years. It has graced the catwalks of designers like Alexander Wang, Isabel Marant, and Michael Kors and even earned a place in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. By now, everyone should have the natural cream aran sweater in their wardrobe - but if you don't, now is your chance! In addition to the natural beauty of the cream Aran sweater, spring and summer call for a lighter, brighter range of colours. Enter: the pastel Aran sweater. This gorgeous range of spring and summer pinks and purples highlight the fusion of classic Aran tradition with modern style. Crafted from the highest-quality merino wool, the pastel range of Aran sweaters are perfectly suited to pair with denim or a printed skirt.

    3. Easy Breezy: the Super-Soft Aran Poncho

    Three aran ponchos in green, white, and pink

    This delightful Aran poncho feels like wearing a blanket - but make it fashion. It's number 3 on our list of perfect Aran sweaters for spring and summer for its comfort and versatility. You can add layers beneath your poncho as needed. And, at one-size-fits-all, it makes a lovely and comfortable gift. Choose from a collection of 8 rich colours (raspberry, green, teal, navy, oatmeal, natural, mint, and charcoal).

    4. Effortlessly Artisan: the Side Button Aran Cardigan

    Three aran cardigans in silver grey, pink, and natural white. Single button and patchwork style

    Brand new to our shop, this side button Aran cardigan blends the unique beauty of traditional Aran knitwear with a practical style. The panels in this Aran sweater feature a collection of intricate Aran stitches, making it a stunning addition to any wardrobe. With its single button, this Aran style functions as a blend between cardigan and wrap. Its colour choices of silver grey, baby pink, and lux cream lock in its place at number 4 on our list of perfect Aran sweaters for spring and summer.

    5. Keep it Cosy: the Longline Hooded Jacket

    Three images of the hooded longline aran jacket sweater in natural white, green, and eggplant purple

    The longline hooded jacket features last (but not least!) on our list of the perfect Aran sweaters for spring and summer. As one of our best sellers, this Aran sweater really does work for everybody. It is made of luxuriously soft merino wool and comes slightly tapered through the waist for a flattering yet relaxed silhouette. This Aran sweater is our go-to for morning springtime walks or chilly summer evenings by the fire pit - s'mores highly recommended.

  • The Ultimate Guide to the Aran Sweater

    Ever wondered where Aran sweaters came from, or what makes an Aran authentic? This Ultimate Guide to the Aran Sweater answers plenty of common questions - from Irish origin to modern care instructions.

    Origin of the Aran sweater

    The Aran sweater - geansai in Irish - takes its name from the Aran Islands just off the rugged west coast of Ireland. These three islands, Inis Mor, Inis Meain, and Inis Oirr, are known for prehistoric celtic civilisations and the preservation of traditional Irish ways of life. People from these islands have traditionally worked as fishermen and farmers, which demands extreme exposure to the elements. No one knows exactly when the first Aran sweater was knit, but we do know it was knit on these islands to shield people from the wild Atlantic weather.

    Sheeps wool was the first-choice to make these sweaters as the wool was readily available, its oils were water-wicking, and if it could keep the sheep warm, it could do the same for fishermen. What makes the Aran sweater unique, however, are the beautiful and intricate stitches that have been passed down for generations. In fact, the Arans special design actually originated to help keep people warm. Layers and layers of wool woven in different patterns help trap your bodys natural warmth and block cold wind from reaching your skin. Due to the sweaters popularity among fishermen and farmers, they were also sold on the island, which helped provide a living for some families

    Aran patterns and meanings

    Each of the beautiful patterns of the Aran sweater have unique meanings attached. These stitches have been passed down for generations and make Aran sweaters special and unique to Ireland.

    Honeycomb
    the honeycomb stitch represents the hardworking bee and the rewards for honest work

    Diamond
    the diamond stitch mirrors the shape of fishing nets and is said to bring wealth, success, and treasure

    Basket
    the basket stitch is based on the fishermans basket, and brings hope of prosperity

    Trellis
    the trellis stitch resembles the stone walls and enclosed fields that stretch all across the islands

    Plaited Braid
    the plaited braid symbolises the many interweaving strands of life

    Zig Zag
    the zig zag represents marriage, two paths moving together, through the ups and downs, to make life worthwhile

    Blackberry
    the blackberry stitch represents a close connection to nature and possibly religious connections

    What is merino wool?

    While Aran sweaters were originally made with lambswool native to Ireland, most Aran sweaters today are made with merino wool, which is known for its exceptional softness, breathability, and warmth. It comes from the Merino sheep, originally native to southwestern Spain, which now live all over the world in countries like New Zealand and Australia. It is likely that merino wool has been present in Ireland since the height of Spains sheep trade in the 16th century. Merino wool eventually became the preferred fibre for making Aran sweaters because its just as durable as regular lambswool, but substantially softer. As a natural fibre, merino wool is water-wicking - meaning it sheds moisture and odors and keeps you dry in whatever climate youre in. These features have made it popular for outdoor sports and activities as well as daily wear.

    Hand-knit vs machine-knit

    Theres a debate in the Aran sweater world over whether you should opt for a handknit or a machine-knit sweater. Weve made a list of the benefits of either choice for you to make up your mind.

    Pros of Hand-knit:

    • Warmth. Hand-knit Aran sweaters are without a doubt the warmest option. Because human hands arent as strong as machines, they cant pull the wool as tight. This means that hand-knit sweaters require more wool to make. The greater amount of wool makes hand-knit sweaters significantly heavier than machine-knits, and thus warmer.
    • Heritage. If youre looking for a really authentic Aran sweater, you may want to choose a hand-knit to honour the heritage and tradition of hand-knitting in Ireland.
    • Stitching. Hand-knit sweaters still outperform machine-knits in the types of stitches they contain. For example, you can tell an Aran sweater was hand-knit if it features the blackberry stitch, which machines can't produce.

    Pros of Machine-knit

    • Options. There are significantly more machine-knit styles of Aran sweaters available. After all, manufacturing has soared in Ireland for the past several decades. While hand-knit sweaters typically come in a handful of styles and 3-4 colour options, machine-knit Aran sweaters come in hundreds of different style and colour combinations. Its easy to find a flattering cut and colour for everybody this way, and adds a touch of freshness to your wardrobe while retaining the traditional Aran elements.
    • Affordability. Due to the reduced time it takes to make each sweater, machine-knit Arans are much more affordable than hand-knit sweaters. The price difference not only accounts for the modern turn in the Aran sweater industry, but also makes it more feasible to own multiple Aran sweaters and keep up with the latest styles.

    Aran sweaters are an investment either way. Hand-knit or machine-knit, if you care for them properly, they will last you a lifetime. Besides, if youre having trouble deciding, why not treat yourself to one of each?

    What to look for when shopping for an Aran Sweater

    First and foremost, you want to make sure that the sweater is actually made in Ireland. Some of our favourite Aran sweaters are made in Donegal, Dublin, and Kildare. In short, were committed to representing Irish brands and manufacturers in our stores. Next, you want to be sure that your sweater is 100% natural fibres. Nearly all of our sweaters are 100% wool, with the exception of cashmere and cashmere-wool blends for extra softness and luxury.

    If you have sensitive skin, you should look for super-soft merino wool. Its still 100% merino, but the wool comes from the first time the sheep was ever shorn, making it even softer and finer to the touch. Check out our range of super-soft merino sweaters here.

    How to care for an Aran sweater

    We recommend the time-tested method of hand-washing in cool water and laying flat to dry. Place your sweater in a clean sink filled with cool water and a gentle or wool-specific detergent. Make sure your sweater to submerge your sweater, but be careful not to agitate it too much, as this will cause the wool to become matted over time. We suggest leaving your sweater for around 30 minutes, and then rinsing it for a few minutes to ensure all the detergent has been removed. After rinsing, remove your sweater. You can then either place it immediately onto a flat drying rack or press gently between two towels to absorb some extra water before you lay it flat to dry. Your sweater will feel very heavy and wet at first, but dont worry, it will dry.

    Remember: Aran sweaters are naturally water-wicking. This means that if your sweater has started to retain odors, you can simply air it out to clean it. While your sweater is dry, hang it near a fan or open window on a wooden or felt hanger for a day and youll be surprised to find it smelling fresh and ready to wear again.

  • Insiders Guide to St Patricks Day

    Photo courtesy of Giuseppe Milo

    St Patrick's Day

    ...also known as the best holiday in Ireland! St Patrick's Day - affectionately shortened to "Paddy's" - brings the entire world together to celebrate Ireland's patron saint. It takes just one look at the Chicago River dyed green, the Sydney Opera House shamrock lights display, or Dublin's famous parade to see how the national holiday has become a cornerstone of Irish identity both here and abroad. That said, there's really nothing quite like spending St Patrick's Day in Ireland. If you're lucky enough to be here, consider this guide from an insider for navigating the nation-wide celebration. At the end of the day, you'll be thankful for some great photos and lasting memories.

    The *Essential* Full Irish Breakfast

    Honestly if you don't start your day with a full Irish, are you even celebrating? This traditional bombshell of a breakfast consists of bacon, sausages, fried eggs, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, baked beans, fried potatoes, black and white pudding, soda bread, and strong tea. Plenty of restaurants will serve a full Irish on Paddy's Day, but it's a good idea to make a reservation if you're a party of 4 or more.

    We know that food is central to cultural heritage, so really you're honouring Irish culture on a deeper level if (when) you grab another helping of fried potatoes. Not only are you enjoying a traditional Irish meal, you're also preparing yourself for a big day of events. So strap yourself in for one of the most gratifying carbo-loads of your life. And, if you're really keen on getting the party started, this may be the one day a year that no one will judge you for a pint of Guinness with brekkie.

    Image courtesy of Giuseppe Milo

    Dublin's St Patrick's Day Parade

    We love a good parade, and this is absolutely a good parade. Dublin goes all-out with floats, balloons, dancers, marching bands, acrobats, musicians, and more. It's a whimsical, exciting experience for both children and adults. Try to arrive around an hour early to find a premium spot to stand. Finally, to fit in, you're going to want to wear green - and a lot of it.

    Your little ones will love the bright green and stay warm while they watch the parade

    Donning bright green has become basically synonymous with St Patrick's Day celebrations all over the world. In fact, it's proven that the more you commit to the green, the more fun you'll have! We'd recommend finding weather-appropriate green apparel, as springtime in Ireland can still be relatively chilly.

    Try a coordinated set for a look that's festive and wearable with anything.

    The parade lasts just under 2 hours, which leaves you with plenty of time to check out other events in the St Patrick's Festival, or start a pub crawl with your friends.

    Image courtesy of Rudy and Peter Skitterians

    Paddy's Day Pubs

    Did you know that the worldwide consumption of Guinness more than doubles on St Patrick's Day? It's safe to say there won't be an empty pub on the island of Ireland come March 17th. If you're looking for a seat or a table, you'll probably find a bit of a wait in the city centre. That said, it's common for pubs to overflow into the streets, and this is part of the fun, energetic atmosphere that St Patrick's Day is known for. If you need a drink recommendation, both Guinness stout and Bulmers cider are national treasures and will be enjoyed by visitors and locals alike during the holiday.

    Transportation on and around St Patrick's Day

    There are two main types of public transportation in Dublin and two for getting across the island. In Dublin, you can opt for either Dublin Bus or the Luas. Bus fares increase by the number of stops you take, and can run from 1 to 3 each way. If you don't have a Leap Card, you'll need to pay with coins (exact fare is best as change isn't offered). Bus routes are advantageous because they go further out from the city and run until around 11:00 pm, after which a limited night bus service begins. The Luas is relatively new an a bit faster than the bus. There are two lines - red and green - that connect the city centre. You can buy paper tickets from machines at Luas stops, but they usually cost more than a bus fare. The Luas runs until 12:30 am except on Sundays and public holidays when it stops at 11:30pm.

    To travel to other cities, you can take a coach bus or train. CityLink is a popular choice for bus as it runs from Dublin to Cork and to Galway around every half hour. The train may provide a more comfortable and speedy ride, but requires more planning as it runs less frequently than the many bus options.

    Image courtesy of Ruby Doan

    Venture to Ireland's other cities to celebrate

    If you have time, do this! Loads of people flock to Dublin for St Patrick's Day celebrations, but cities like Cork and Galway are becoming more and more popular destinations for the creative festivals they hold. As Ireland's second largest city, Cork's St Patrick's Day parade is extremely popular. It features performances by thousands of dancers and musicians, and is known for being particularly kid-friendly. Similarly, Galway brings its alternative artistic flair to its St Patrick's Day celebrations. The city puts on a community-oriented parade and has previously screened famous Irish movies to bring people together. It also boasts a lively pub scene for after-hours.

    Come for the craic, stay for the culture

    St Patrick's Day is tons of fun, but it's also a meaningful holiday for bringing people together and keeping the Irish diaspora connected to Ireland and what it means to be Irish. While there's plenty of craic (Irish for "fun") to be had, St Patrick's Day also reminds us of the importance of keeping our heritage and culture alive. Check out the National Museum collection or this article for more on the history of the holiday and how Irish people brought St Patrick's Day celebrations around the world.

  • 8 Tips for travelling to Ireland for the first time

    "Ireland is where strange tales begin and happy endings are possible"

    - Charles Haughey
    Close up of shamrock flowers, also known as three-leaf clovers, one of Ireland's most well known symbols

    If you've recently booked a trip to Ireland, you're probably feeling happy, excited, and maybe a little unsure about what to expect! We meet new visitors every single day here in Dublin and love giving advice about what to see and do. So, we put together this short list of tips for travelling to Ireland to help you plan ahead and make the most of your first trip.

    Tip #1: Spend time exploring free museums and heritage sites in Dublin

    The National Gallery, National History Museum, and National Library are all located within a few minutes walk of one another and offer unique exhibitions of Irish art and culture. Plus, after visiting the National Library, you might find yourself more Irish than when you arrived! The library hosts a popular family history center where you can discover and trace your Irish roots all over the country. After a morning at the free museums, take a stroll through the Trinity College campus - a must-see for anyone new to Ireland. The college is over 400 years old and has many famous alumni including Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, and Edmund Burke. Trinity is also home to the Book of Kells, which you can admire for a small admission fee.

    The long room library at trinity college dublin

    Tip #2: It will rain but it will also shine

    Next to Aran sweaters and whisky, Ireland is known for its rainy weather. A waterproof jacket and waterproof shoes will keep you warm and dry on rainy days - but skip the umbrella as the winds here are often strong enough to break it. For sunnier days, a pair of sneakers will keep your feet happy on cobblestone streets. To really dress like a local, pack your layers. Depending on the day (and even the hour), you can be comfortable in a jacket, sweater, or just a t-shirt.

    A sunny Dublin street

    Tip #3: Its worth it to shop local

    Irelands capital city, Dublin, is booming with brand names and high street shops. While youre spoiled for choice here, its worth the experience to visit local mom and pop shops. Before the recent economic boom, nearly all businesses were family-owned, so if you want a taste of real Ireland, these are the places to make time for. While we were founders of the Aran sweater trade in Dublin and have continued for some 30+ years, some local businesses in Dublin have even been around for over 100 years! Many of these businesses (ourselves included) pride themselves on providing excellent service and care deeply about sharing Irish heritage with visitors. If youd like a more historic and authentic shopping experience, its worth it to visit local shops as you explore our lovely country. 

    Tip #4: Take advantage of tax-free shopping during your stay

    Money saving alert! If you are a non-EU resident, you can claim back some of the tax you pay while youre travelling in Ireland. Any time you buy a souvenir - anything you can take back with you - ask for your tax back or V.A.T. form from the retailer. Once youve collected your forms, simply fill them out and hand them in at the airport. After you pass through security in Dublin Airport (either terminal), youll see signs directing you to a special desk where you hand over these forms and your claim is processed. During peak travel season, the queues can grow, so its smart to plan an extra 20 minutes or so in case you need to wait before handing over your forms. All in all, its a pretty simple process, and a great way to save money while you travel.

    Tip #5: Right left right

    This one might seem simple, but its worth remembering when you first arrive! Cars and other vehicles in Ireland travel on the wrong side of the road. Spare yourself a close save and be sure to check both ways before crossing the road.

    A table showing a bowl of Irish seafood chowder, a plate with a gourmet sandwich, and a pint of guinness and bulmers

    Tip #6: It's easy to eat well

    Cuisine in Ireland ranges gloriously from 3:00am kebabs to Michelin Star restaurants. A major perk of being an island is that the seafood is fantastic (if we do say so ourselves). Along with traditional Irish cooking, Ireland boasts an impressive amount of international cuisines to try while youre here. 

     If youre in Dublin, check out:

    • Host Restaurant in Ranelagh for artisanal farm-to-table fare
    • The Millstone Restaurant near Trinity College for upscale traditional Irish cuisine
    • Beshoff Bros for the best fish and chips (also offers gluten free for coeliacs)
    • 101 Talbot for locally sourced Mediterranean-style cooking and popular pre-theatre menus (known for being vegetarian friendly)

    If youre in southern Ireland, consider a visit to Kinsale, the foodie capital of Ireland and home to:

    • Bastion, featured in the 2020 UK and Ireland Michelin Guide, offers a cosy, thoughtful, high-end dining experience perfect for those who want to spend the evening in good company and great food. 
    • Nine Market Street offers lovely meals that are locally sourced and absolutely delicious. Plus the views are gorgeous.
    the cliffs of moher with a blue cloudy sky and dark ocean below

    Tip #7: Dont forget to go beyond Dublin

    James Joyce famously wrote When I die, Dublin will be written in my heart, and its easy to see why our happy capital tempts so many to stay. However, the Emerald Isle has even more to offer outside of Dublin. Check out the many excellent day tour options, or rent a car and create your own adventure. The west coast of Ireland is a family favourite. Its known for its beautiful coastal roads and hiking trails, and for its preservation of traditional Irish culture and language. 

    Tip #8: Go with the flow

    Ireland is known as the land of a hundred thousand welcomes (cad mle filte). If youre ever unsure of where to go or what to do, dont be afraid to ask for help. Most people are happy to give advice or directions, and you can always pop into a tourist visitor centre for assistance. When in doubt, keep the faith and say as we do, itll be grand

    Sweater Shop circular logo
  • 7 Irish Ways to Say I Love You

    Ireland and Valentines Day go way back -- all the way to the 19th century. After Father John Spratt of Ireland gave an impassioned speech in Rome in 1836, Pope Gregory XVI bestowed him with a holy relic of Saint Valentine. This precious gift was housed in the Carmelite Church on Whitefriar Street (now Aungier Street), where it remains to this day for visitors to honour the Saint. With such a close connection, its no wonder Valentines Day is an Irish favourite.

    The holiday isnow widely celebrated, yet funnily enough, the phrase I love you doesnttranslate directly into Irish. Instead, the best way to express your love toyour valentine is to say "is t mo ghr" (you are my love). Bonuspoints if you can add the Irish accent, voted most attractive in the world in2019. But if words arent your thing, weve made this short list of 7 IrishWays to Say I Love You:

    Laughter

    Ireland is called the land of saints and scholars - but we also like to have a good laugh. For a light-hearted gift, send your valentine one of these novel t-shirts - guaranteed to put a smile on their face.

    Protect your loved one from the rain

    After aransweaters and whisky, Ireland is probably best known for its rainy weather!Treat your valentine to a thoughtful, make-your-day-better gift of a cosy hatand gloves, or a warm scarf.

    http://bit.ly/2SfNcql

    Give the gift of joy

    Almost nothing will top the joy of opening up a brand new Aran sweater. If you really want to make your valentine (or yourself) smile, choose from our hand-picked favourites for men and women or shop the valentines day collection. We have a great selection of festive and classic colours to fit the holiday spirit.

    Set up a date night at home

    Cozy up to the one you love on a romantic night in. Blankets are a great gift for your valentine. Pair it with a bottle of wine and a classic comedy (we recommend Waking Ned Devine)

    http://bit.ly/2GRJsWR

    A claddagh

    Finally, the old school Irish way to show your love is to give a claddaghring, necklace, or pair of earrings. Originating in the town Claddagh in County Galway around the 17th century, the claddagh symbolises love (the heart), friendship (the two hands), and loyalty (the crown). Its a timeless gift and one your valentine will definitely be thankful for.

    http://bit.ly/3bcccra

    Happy ValentinesDay!!

  • Why The Natural Fibres in our Irish Sweaters Are So Special

    There is nothing quite like throwing on your favourite Irish Aran sweater on a cold winter day, and it's even better when you have a sweater made out of natural fibres. All our sweaters are made of 100% natural fibres such as merino wool, lambswool, and a wool and cashmere blend so they will keep you warm and toasty throughout the colder days ahead. Find out more about why these fibres are so special below.

    Merino Wool

    Merino Wool is an amazing fibre due to it keeping you cool in the summer and warm in the winter due to its ability to regulate your body temperature. This amazing wool also transports moisture away from your skin because the fibres are porous - all this to say that your sweater will not only keep you warm, but also dry.  It literally is the perfect fibre for your Aran sweater so you can wear it all year around. It's guaranteed to keep the cold weather at bay and the compliments coming your way.

    A lovely example of this is our gorgeous ladies crew neck sweater crafted from Merino wool - it's a classic style that will never date.

    Ladies Natural Irish Aran Cable Knit Sweater

    Lambswool

    Lambswool is wool taken from the first shearing of a sheep at around 7 months. As a result, it is soft and elastic, so it is great for Irish Aran sweaters or plain light weight sweaters. It also insulates heat and is water resistant. Looking for the perfect gift for that special guy? The beautiful men's lambswool sweater below would be the perfect luxury gift for any occasion.

    mens blue lambswool v-neck sweater

    Wool and Cashmere Blend

    The wool and cashmere blend has to be one of our favourites! This is a mixture of merino wool and cashmere that gives the softest and most luxurious feel to Irish Aran sweaters.

    We are finding more and more customers want the softness of a cashmere sweater but find the price of 100% cashmere too high, therefore this blend is the perfect solution for your Aran sweater. You can have the softness and luxury of cashmere with the blend, but without the price tag.

    trellis aran sweater light pink wool cashmere
    This ladies wool cashmere trellis sweater in a gorgeous pink colour is one of our most popular styles and features this comfy blend of natural fibres.

    Many of the products in our store are made with natural fibres like Merino wool, lambswool, and wool and cashmere. Browse our selection and should you have any queries, please get in touch or visit us in store! We'd love to help you pick the perfect sweater or accessory for you.

  • Summer Gift Guide: 15 Sweaters and Accessories That Would Make Perfect Gifts For Loved Ones

    Woollen bags, scarves, sweaters, hats, and more; you would be amazed at the range of year-round knitwear that makes a highly suitable gift for a special occasion.

    A carefully selected sweater or accessory can send a strong message of warmth for events like weddings, birthdays, and christenings.

    Merino wool clothing keeps you cool in warm weather and warm in cool weather. A breathable, easy-to-care for product that never wrinkles, it makes the ideal gift. Check out these specially selected items below for some ideas!

    Accessories for Everybody

    1. Two toned plated Aran throw

    Made from cozy Merino wool, this beautiful item would go well at the end of a bed or draped over a couch.

    1. Adult Aran cable knit slippers

    With cable knit stitching throughout and an anti-slip sole, the recipient of this beautiful gift will be grateful for these on cooler evenings throughout the year.

    1. Merino Aran picnic blanket

    This blanket is perfect for taking on picnics to the park or beach or for using on a bed or couch.

    1. Aran peak cable hat

    This one-size fits all, oatmeal-colored hat & mittens set is a great gift that would look stylish on people of any age.

    Gifts for Women

    1. Super soft Merino wool one size poncho

    An incredibly adaptable gift that can be worn by women of any size and most situations. The recipient of this gift could wear it outside, inside, while hiking, on a date, or even at more formal events.

    1. Ladies Aran tunic sweater

    With generous Irish Aran cable knit and an intricate scalloped hem, this elegant sweater would look lovely on women of any age. It comes in four different sizes so there's something for everybody.

    1. Magenta Flapper cap

    This 100% wool cap has an elasticized back for a snug fit and a design that blends the old with the new.

    1. One size 100% wool Irish shawl

    Available in gray or natural color, this shawl is unique, with fashionable fringes and a special colored stripe.

    1. Ladies ribbed cardigan fisherman out of Ireland

    The horizontal ribs on this cardigan look stunning. This practical and stylish item can be worn year-round.

    1. Cotton crafted poncho Millhouse-spice red

    A wonderful addition to any wardrobe, this wrap will keep women snug in summer. Based on Irish heritage and traditional Aran patterns, this wrap makes people feel and look great. Hand crafted, this gift is one size fits all.

    Gifts for Men

    1. Men's flat cap patchwork wool

    Men of all ages will appreciate this traditional flat cap, synonymous with Irish style, and evoking warmth and approachability. This cap has been individually made from patches of Irish tweed, ensuring that each one is unique.

    1. Men's fisherman full-zip cardigan

    Made of 100% merino wool, this sweater looks great worn over a t-shirt or polo neck with the zipper up or down. It comes in various gentle colors such asdenim marl, light gray marl, and more.

    1. Men's Fisherman Guinness sweater

    This stylish item has a crew neck and a black, gray and white gradient design. A luxurious and soft sweater, the recipient of this gift will wear it for a lifetime.

    1. 100% lambswool V-neck ink

    Made of light-weight wool, this item is perfect for spring and summer. It goes well with jeans and over a well-loved shirt for a sophisticated look.

    1. Traditional grandfather shirt

    This collarless shirt with a relaxed fit is worn by the young and old throughout Ireland. Also known as a Sunday shirt, it is particularly great for a date, or a semi-casual to formal event.

     

  • What to Pack For A Trip to Ireland at Any Time of Year

     

    If youre planning a trip to Ireland, you need to know what to pack. Since the Emerald Isle lies in the oft-temperamental North Atlantic, the weather can change in a heartbeat. You can literally experience all four seasons in a single day.

    For your trip, then, youll need to take along outfits that work well in layers. Layered clothing gives you the option to remove layers when its feeling summery, yet when the rain and chill sets in, you can add a warm woolen sweater and some rain gear to keep you toasty.

    We hope this guide will help you pack for your trip to Ireland at any time of the year. Dont forget, theres plenty more to remember to pack than just your wardrobe, but we think weve covered all the bases!

    Trip To Ireland

    Pack Clothing that Keeps You Comfortable

    Since clothing often takes up the bulk of the room in your luggage, lets start packing with your wardrobe.

    Pack for a winter trip

    Average temperatures during Irish winters range from 45 degrees F in December down to 41 degrees in both January and February. Though relatively mild compared to the northern United States, keep in mind, youll likely have plenty of cold, rainy days during the winteran average of 23, so your winter wardrobe should include plenty of choices that ward off the damp.

    • Stave off the cold with Aran wool:Theres a reason why Aran wool is such a popular choice among Irish people. Not only does it insulate against the cold, but it also keeps you warm even when youre wet. Therefore, youll want to pack aclassic wool jacketor astylish ponchoand a couple ofhand-knit fisherman sweaterspack a couple ofAran wool sweaters for the kids, too!
    • Accessorize with warmth: Since your extremities are more vulnerable to the damp and the cold than the rest of your body, keep your head toasty with asoft, cozy hat. Packwarm glovesand socks to keep your hands and feet comfortable, even on long hikes along Irelands breathtaking cliffs and shore. Kids, especially, can get chilled quickly, even if theyre active. Make sure they have hats that cover their ears as well as warm wool gloves and socks to keep their extremities warm.

    Enjoy the Irish spring in pure comfort

    Springtime is when youll see the magic of the lush Irish landscape come to life. Even though the earth is warming up from its long winter slumber, youll still have some cool days to contend with, along with the spring rains. Temperatures range from an average of 45 and 46 degrees in March and April to sunny May, when average temperatures rise to 52 degrees.

    • Keep warm with sweaters:ThickAran wool sweatersare a must for men, women, and children when youre taking your spring vacation in Ireland. Keep a poncho handy, too, for the cooler, wetter days.
    • Lighten up on your accessories:Switch your cap to alighter oneto keep your head warm and dry without the bulk of thick winter hats.Wool socks, though, are a must to keep your feet warm if its a drizzly day.

    Prepare for the summer weathers ups and downs

    Summers in Ireland are cooland often wet, with August usually being the rainiest month. Be prepared for whatever Mother Nature dishes out with a wardrobe that keeps you comfortable in all kinds of weather.

    Outerwear thats perfect in form and function:For warmer days, you cant beat acotton T-shirt or polofor its moisture-wicking properties. Blend in with the locals with shirts that tout your beverage or university of choice. Swap your heavy sweater for alight cardiganthat buttons up for warmth and is easy to remove altogether when the suns rays beat down on you. A cotton summer wrap keeps you warm yet never overpowers as it wicks away sweat to keep you comfortable. Women should bring at least one dress that can double as a day and evening dress, while men should pack a tie and a dress shirt, in case you get an invitation to a more formal event.

    Wick away moisture and fend off the chill:Irish summer evenings can be a bit chilly, as can rainy days. A loosely knitwool scarf in a summery coloris just the thing to take the chill off even as it wicks away the damp. For kids, a light woolen poncho might be a better choice. You can layer it over a cool cotton shirt on brisk mornings or evenings. It's then easy to remove when it warms up.

    Enjoy falls crisp mornings with a wardrobe to rival Nature

    Nothing beats autumn in Ireland. With incredible foliage, spectacular scenery,whale-watching at its peak, and off-season hotel rates, you can enjoy Irelands best for less. Average temperatures range from 57 in September, cooling off to 52 and 46, respectively, for October and November.

    Channel falls colors with sweaters and jackets:The perfect top for chilly fall days, a womensDonegal wool-blend sweater in deep burgundyprovides stiff competition to Mother Nature. Nothing says fall like tweedso be sure to pack astylish tweed jacket in autumn plum. For kids, nothings better on chilly fall days than acozy neutral-colored sweaterthat goes with almost anything.

    Keep the fall theme going with autumn accessories:Nothing says autumn in Ireland like a classic wool patch cap for men. Not only will it give you an authentic look, but it will also keep your head warm, even on Novembers coolest days. With your fall-themed wardrobe, carry anautumn-brown tweed bag, large enough to carry everything youll need on a long stroll through the countryside or down one of Dublins charming streets.

    Other Useful Essentials

    Along with your wardrobe and accessories, youll need to pack some travel necessities.

    • Travel documents:Keep your passport with you as you travel. Dont forget to print out your airline tickets and tickets for shows, tooif youve booked seats at the Gaiety or Bord Gais Theatre ahead of time. If you have a chronic medical condition, bring a doctors note in case you have a health issue while traveling. If you plan to drive, its a good idea to apply for an international drivers license well before you leave. If youre from North America, remember that Irish drivers drive on the opposite side of the road. Brush up on Irelands rules of the road beforehand to avoid any nasty surprises.
    • Gadgets:If youre from the States, be sure to bring apower adapter If you plan a side trip to the rest of Europe, get a universal power adapter that has both European and UK settings. If youre only visiting Ireland and the UK, just get a Type G adapter. If you have a cheap international roaming plan, turn it on before you leave. If not, you should pick up a cheap cell phone or an Irish SIM card at the Dublin airport after you land. Whatever device you bring, buy a waterproof case for it. With rain in the forecast and kilometers of beachfront, why take a chance? Remember that temperatures in Ireland are measured on the Celsius scale and distances with the metric system. You might want to install a measurement conversion app on your device to keep you informed.
    • Credit cards, debit cards, and cash:Before you leave, exchange some of your own countrys money for a little cash for your first couple of days in Ireland. That way, you wont have to rush around to find a currency exchange when you land. Inform your bank and credit card providers that youll be going abroad so they wont flag your card for possible fraud.
    • Toiletries and medications:Pack your favorite fragrance, toothpaste, and all needed medications in your bag before you leave. Those familiar things will help you feel at home even when youre an ocean away. Many travelers pack a small first aid kit so they wont have to stop at a pharmacy for minor injuries and illnesses.
    • Extras:If youre visiting long-lost relatives, you might want to bring along some photos of your extended family to compare notes with your Irish cousins. Limit jewelry to only essentials. If you have valuables, bring along a small safe to keep them in at the hotel while youre out. Finally, dont forget the keys to your own home. You wouldnt want to have to spend your first night back home in another hotel!

    When youre traveling overseas to Ireland or anywhere else, for that matter it pays to prepare well beforehand. Packing is a big part of that preparation. When youre prepared, you can relax and enjoy your trip without a worry in the world.

     

     

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