Take a break from the expected and check out Ireland’s sophisticated and flourishing crafts industry – you’ll be guaranteed to bring home a memento to cherish
A place for pottery
Ireland has a strong reputation for pottery and ceramics with styles ranging from chic and contemporary to rustic and traditional. Keep your eye out for leading names like Stephen Pearce, Louis Mulcahy, Nicholas Mosse, and Michael Kennedy.
A good place to browse through a selection of Irish pottery is at Kilkenny Design on Nassau Street, Dublin and Kilkenny. In Northern Ireland, check out Eden Pottery, Millisle; Ballydougan Pottery, County Armagh; and Mhacha Pottery, Benburb, for inspirational designs and exciting product ranges. And, of course, check out the store at Belleek Pottery Visitor Centre, County Fermanagh, where you can purchase this infamous Parian China.
Small but interesting craft stores are dotted around the country, and even the tiniest village is likely to have an intriguing variety of handcrafted sculptures, local artwork and original craftworks.
Some of the better known and more popular crafts stores include the gorgeous Avoca Handweavers in County Wicklow, with everything from gourmet relishes to super-cute baby clothes; Blarney Woollen Mills with a whole host of crafts from Belleek China to Fisherman Knitwear; and Dublin Road in Belfast with its top selection of craft shops.
The charming Craft Village on Shipquay Street in Londonderry takes you back in time to the city of old, where you can observe craftspeople working or selling gifts in traditional Irish shops.
Kilkenny – Ireland’s craft center
Kilkenny is Ireland’s unofficial crafts center and a great place to go if you’re fancy wandering around workshops and seeking out something special.
Make sure to pay a visit to Chesneau Leather for impressive, beautifully made contemporary handbags and leather goods; the Kilkenny Design Centre for a good variety of modern and traditional crafts; the National Craft Gallery – a complex of innovative craft shops; and Nicholas Mosse Pottery for some of the potter’s trademark Irish work.