Even if you’re on a shoestring budget, you’ll want to find something quintessentially Irish by which to remember your trip. Here are the best places to find souvenirs during your Ireland vacation.
Serious tweed lovers must make Donegal the centerpiece of their itinerary. Visit the workshops or showrooms of John Molloy (tel. 074/954-1133) and Eddie Doherty (Front St., tel. 074/954-1304) in Ardara and Clare O’Presco (Donegal Craft Village, Ballyshannon Rd., 1.5 km west of town, tel. 074/972-2225) in Donegal Town. Studio Donegal (west end of Main St., tel. 074/973-8194) in Kilcar is the place to go for Irish tweed yarns for knitting and weaving.
For the signature Aran sweater, you’ll ideally visit the speed-knitting ladies at the Kilmurvey Craft Village (by the entrance to Dún Aengus, tel. 099/61233) on Inis Mór, but if you can’t get to the source, definitely stop by Ó’Máille’s (16 High St., tel. 091/562-696) in Galway City.
If you’re hoping to pick up some Waterford crystal, note that much of it is no longer produced in Ireland; instead, visit the crystal studio showrooms at Criostal na Rinne (signposted off the R674, tel. 058/46174) on the Ring Peninsula southwest of Waterford or Kinsale Crystal (Market St., tel. 021/477-4493) in Kinsale, County Cork. Tipperary, Cavan, and Kilkenny have their own crystal studios as well.
Irish pottery varies greatly in style; for something unique, skip the assembly-line “cottage” businesses and pay a visit to Yvonne McEnnis (The Pottery Shop, Church St., tel. 065/683-7020) in Corofin, County Clare, or Louis Mulcahy (4 km west of Ballyferriter on the R559, tel. 066/915-6229) on the Dingle Peninsula in Clogher, County Kerry.
And for Celtic and Celtic-inspired jewelry, you might try Kinsale Silver (Pearse St., tel. 021/477-4359) in Kinsale or one of Dingle Town’s well-established jewelry designers: Brian de Staic (Green St., tel. 066/915-1298) or Niamh Utsch (Green St., tel. 066/915-2217).