The best Ireland has to offer
The Shannon Irish Design Store at the retail emporium in Bunratty Folk Park and in Shannon Airport is a heavenly shopping haven, housing the best in modern Irish craft and design. With over 120 native suppliers selling their wonderful wares, this superb space is a melting pot where up-and-coming artisan artists sit alongside centuries-old craft companies. Be their trade in Irish crystal or cufflinks, scarves or silverware, they all have one thing in common – a commitment to being the best which Ireland has to offer. Meet the talented stars of the Irish design scene…
Áine Behan grew up on the west coast of Ireland, where her strong family tradition of knitting Aran sweaters without patterns ensured that she was immersed in the craft. This inspired her love of knitwear and continues to be the bedrock of her designs. Be it the signature classic lambswool range, the new yarns with angora and moose, or the lighter linen, cotton, and silk mix ranges, every collection stays true to the authenticity of her heritage of Irish knitwear.
Avoca Handweavers is renowned for its famous range of fabulous Avoca blankets, throws and clothing. As one of the world’s oldest manufacturing companies and Ireland’s longest surviving business, established in 1723, it produces these gorgeous gifts from the oldest working mill in the country. Avoca also makes its own delectable foods from fresh ingredients – these inspirational recipes are contained in its popular cookbooks. From rocking socks and heavy herringbone throws to its own-label perfumes and ceramics, Avoca is an Irish institution of world-class quality products.
From tableware or teaware, vases or votives, Belleek stocks them all and far more besides. It has giftware for every conceivable occasion and you can personalize the products for that extra special touch. With over 157 years of amassed knowledge and a founding philosophy of perfection (any piece with even the slightest flaw is destroyed), Irish Belleek has earned a reputation for outstanding craftsmanship through its Classic and Living collections, along with its Galway Crystal and Aynsley China stock.
Carraig Donn is Ireland’s premier knitwear producer of exquisite woollen aran sweaters, cardigans, hats and gloves. The boutique-style stores also retail jewellery and fashion from exclusive Irish and international brands, including Orla Kiely and J'aime La Vie among many others. Its giftware honours Irish artists and potters such as Nicholas Mosse and Eoin O'Connor, while the well known Waterford Crystal and Newbridge Silverware are an integral shop floor feature.
Foxford Woollen Mills was established in 1892 to harness the power of the River Moy and bring prosperity to the area. A thriving woollen mill, one of the last in Ireland, Foxford’s vibrant throws and rugs, beautiful baby blankets and pure wool knitwear are cherished the world over. Described as a place “where master craftsmanship meets modern Irish design”, Foxford creates the finest weaves based on a strong tradition passed down through several generations.
With a keen eye on customer service and innovation, Galway Crystal creates just about every type of gift you could wish for, from carafes and candlesticks to photo frames and figurines. Royalty, presidents and celebrities have all succumbed to its crystalline charms and eye-catching creations can be found in some of the world’s most prestigious homes, including the White House and Vatican. The company also produces commissioned pieces for global sporting events such as the European Golf Tour.
Jimmy Hourihan and family have been expertly fashioning first-rate women's capes, wraps, and shawls for more than 50 years. Specialising in luxury fabrics like 100% cashmeres, cashmere and wool blends, precious fibre blends, double-face lodens, and the dapper Donegal tweeds, the current collection features both untrimmed and trimmed capes, wraps and shawls with matching velvets and fantastic furs. This wonderful outerwear speaks to femininity and softness with an understated element of luxury.
If ever there was a manufacturer inspired by an incredible environment, it has to be Mucros Weavers nestled amidst the stunning scenery of Killarney National Park. Their hugely colourful scarves, stoles, capes, neckwraps, waistcoats and rugs yield from premium yarns such as wool, mohair and alpaca. The scarves are individually woven on Hattersley looms that are almost 200 years old, ensuring an exceptionally soft, superb quality finish, while the headwear and bags ooze elegance.
Newbridge Silverware is synonymous with sophistication and style. Its jewellery embodies both timeless classics and modern masterpieces; its alluring homeware and giftware are designed and produced in a completely contemporary vein. Born within a thriving garrison community, the Newbridge Cutlery Company harnessed the local metal forging and linishing skills to cultivate this craft over the past 80 years. None other than Linda Gray, aka Sue-Ellen Ewing of the Dallas TV drama, is one of the beautiful Newbridge brand ambassadors.
The Button Studio was established by Jane, also known as “the button girl”, who started making charming craft pieces from odds and ends around her house and her Granny’s old button tin during the recession in the mid-2000s. From the pendants, rings, brooches and cufflinks to the personalised pictures, each handmade piece is completely unique and carefully designed to be as colourful, playful and eye-catching as possible.
Over nearly three decades, Tipperary Crystal has earned a reputation as a market leader in contemporary and classical collections of Irish crystal, characterized by high-end design and excellent quality. It supplies a wealth of finely handcrafted glassware which are treasured as timeless pieces. The company works with the most talented crystal designers, master blowers and cutters in the world, who use specialist skills and techniques dating back to the 18th century to bring modern and traditional designs to life as luxurious creations.
There’s something about drinking fine wine or fizzy champagne out of a Waterford Crystal glass or flute. It’s just so befitting. With classic, modern and coloured cuts, the glassware lends itself to the most divine drinkware, homeware, giftware, and lighting. Celebrated designers are invited to craft signature pieces, which feature among the 40,000 high-end crystal pieces produced each year using traditional methods of mouth blowing, hand-finishing sculpting and engraving.
The Shannon Heritage portfolio has developed over the past 50 years from one product in 1963, which was the Medieval Banquet at Bunratty Castle, to a total of 7 day visitor experiences and 4 evening entertainments located in the Shannon Region. Find out more at www.shannonheritage.com
Nestled in the outstanding surroundings of the Clare countryside, Bunratty Folk Park and Castle is a truly unique living museum. Take a step back in time to appreciate the acclaimed 15th century fortress and explore the 19th century theme park. Take in the sights as you stroll through the charming village scenes and immerse yourself in the scents of sweet-smelling home baking and peaty pong of the turf fires. Wander through the walled gardens, restored and resplendent in their Victorian style. Marvel at the finest collection of medieval furniture, tapestries and art works in Ireland and reenact this past period at one of the Castle’s famed banquets.
King John’s Castle is a majestic Norman fort on King’s Island, overlooking the River Shannon and serving as an ideal vantage point to view the lovely city of Limerick. It has become one of the region’s must-see tourist attractions, and following a multi-million euro investment, the 13th century Castle boasts a brand new visitor centre with state-of-the-art interpretive activities. A new exhibition brings over 800 years of dramatic local history to life, with touch screen technology and 3D models connecting to tales of warfare, and the computer-generated animations and ghostly projections transporting the visitor back through time. The bustling Castle courtyard, home to a medieval campaign tent, blacksmiths forge, and scenes from a 17th century siege, aptly capture the atmosphere of the era.
Malahide Castle in North County Dublin was built around an original tower house dating back to the 12th century and owned by the Talbot family for almost 800 years. The great hall built in the 15th century, along with the furniture, reception rooms, entrance hallway, corner towers and plasterwork added 300 years later, all reflect the highest architectural standards of the time. The extensive gardens set in a 260-acre demesne are a garden enthusiast’s dream. At the walled garden and west lawn, you can enjoy the many flourishing species of plants which Milo, the 7th Lord Talbot de Malahide, collected in Australasia. The attraction boasts beautiful views of the surrounding countryside and is a huge draw for visitors to Dublin.