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shopper Mar 18th, 2002 05:45 PM

Best souvenirs from Ireland?
What are your favorite souvenirs from Ireland? I'm sure the Aran sweaters are available everywhere, but what else? Celtic pottery? Woolen blankets? Any other useful everyday items?

Judy Mar 18th, 2002 05:55 PM

I don't know how useful they are, but I bought a great pair of Celtic coin earrings from a Spiddal village north of Galway. Everyone loves them. I also bought some wonderful limestone wall plaques from Connemara. <BR>Lots fof great "stuff" there. <BR>Judy :-)<BR>

kdr Mar 19th, 2002 04:34 AM

We brought back Aran sweaters and Waterford crystal. Neither are "everyday items" but we love all of our purchases. Waterford crystal is cheaper in Ireland than in the U.S., and there are beautiful patterns that are only available in Ireland.

Terry Mar 19th, 2002 08:45 AM

You know, I've seen the post about Waterford being cheaper in Ireland than the U.S. before, and so I have to wonder where people are buying their Waterford crystal in the U.S. I have never in my life seen Waterford that was cheaper in Ireland than the U.S. Usually, it's more expensive, as sales are much more common in the U.S.<BR><BR>I grew up in Ireland, live in the United States (for the past 12 years), and visit Ireland at least three times a year, in case you're wondering.

shopper Mar 19th, 2002 09:49 AM

I once came upon a website with Celtic pottery. Is this a common thing in Ireland? <BR><BR>As for the Waterford Crystal factory, can anyone give info about the tours? Haven't been able to hit any info with a search.

kdr Mar 19th, 2002 10:10 AM

Terry: I want to know where you find sales of Waterford crystal! Because of the restrictions Waterford places on its distributors in the U.S., sales of Waterford crystal are extremely rare. That is why it usually doesn't help to try and buy from discounters like Ross-Simons--they charge the same as department stores, although they will often throw in free shipping.<BR><BR>Anyway, my wedding patterns are Waterford, so I am pretty familiar with prices and I definitely found the prices to be lower in Ireland when I was there last week. Not 50% cheaper like I've hear, but 20 to 30% cheaper depending on the item.

Vicki Mar 19th, 2002 12:00 PM

Just out of curiosity what is the average price of an Aran sweater in Ireland and where is the best place to shop for one?

Sue Mar 19th, 2002 12:28 PM

Simon Pearce crystal and pottery is becoming popular in US now; as compared to Waterford, the lines are more simple, less ornate. He has a store in NYC, also., I think. It's really lovely--a favorite on wedding registries these days.<BR>Nicholas Moss makes pottery that has a country, yet sophisticated appearance.

Terry Mar 19th, 2002 01:32 PM

Well, I see Waterford stuff for sale quite often at Hechts. I buy a fair amount of it as gifts for people, and I truly have never seen lower prices in Ireland.<BR><BR>A good Aran sweater will run roughly $50-$100. I know that's a big spread, but the prices are all over the place. The best places to shop for Aran sweaters are not the stores that stock a million of them. Look for small, non-touristy towns, and have a look in the local shops. That's how you find the real handknitted ones, not at the big souvenir shops. Besides, what the big shops tout as handknitted often isn't.<BR><BR>Shopper, I'm not sure what you mean by "Celtic pottery". You can buy pottery with Celtic designs all over the country. Again, small towns are the best places for this. You'd be amazed at what you can find off the beaten path.

Vicki Mar 19th, 2002 03:00 PM

Terry-<BR>Thanks for your reply; a ballpark figure is all I was looking for.<BR>Any specific town or even particular store you would recommend in the Southwest part of the country? I am definitely going to Ireland sometime in the near future and I am torturing myself looking at maps and choosing places to see and stay. My problem is that I have a couple of obligatory family trips I have to take and I need more darned vacation days.

elvira Mar 19th, 2002 03:32 PM

I bought a skirt-length piece of Donegal wool which was enough for a skirt and vest. I love them every time I put them on.<BR><BR>Belleek - we found small ornaments, only available at the factory...and a honey spoon which doubles as a caviar spoon (it's got a bigger bowl than those shell things, so biiig scoop of fish roe!).<BR><BR>There are many crystal factories, not just Waterford. Rather than look for a bargain, look for unique. If you ARE looking for a particular pattern or item, price it at a store in your area. No point in paying almost the same, add on duty & freight, then find a broken piece when the package arrives.<BR><BR>And Irish music...from freedom songs to those ballads that make you burst into tears.<BR><BR>As someone mentioned, jewelry with a Celtic (as in Gaelic, not Larry Bird) design. When people admire it, they see other things, like Navajo and Greek. The designs sort of connect you with the world.<BR><BR>Irish linen, Irish linen, Irish linen - dishtowels, napkins, handkerchiefs... most men don't have a beautiful pocket handkerchief to wear when they don a suit, so they make great gifts (they don't break, and they weigh nothing!)

Sue Mar 19th, 2002 04:58 PM

Go to to view Nicholas Mosse sponge pottery before going and to get an idea of price over here (USA). An Irish shop here in Pgh. sells it; I give it for wedding gifts, etc. They have a very pretty Xmas design, also. Great mugs, bowls, etc.

Terry Mar 20th, 2002 05:11 AM

I don't have any specific towns to recommend in the southwest. I do a lot of driving around the country, and just stop where ever looks interesting. Most of the time, I don't even know the name of the town.<BR><BR>It's really hit or miss. Yes, some of the towns and villages can be a disappointment, but others are a revelation. Like the little village I wandered into in Northern Ireland once. I found, tucked away in the back of a dress shop, an incredible display of oil paintings for sale by a local artist (his mother ran the dress shop). You wouldn't believe the comments I've received on the painting I bought.<BR><BR>There was another town, somewhere west of Kilkenny, where I found the most wonderful hand-thrown pottery. This was in a mill town, with about 5 pubs, a small grocery store and a post office. The last thing I expected to find there was a little artist's enclave.<BR><BR>Sorry I can't be more specific. Part of the fun I have when I'm home is just wandering aimlessly around the country. And I love doing that in the U.S., too, but the distances are just so much longer!

traveler Mar 20th, 2002 05:16 AM

Terry,<BR><BR>Your driving adventures in Ireland sound great! Since you're from Ireland and seem familiar with several areas, can you recommend one or two areas that would be good destinations to make "home base", with plenty to see within a short drive? We'll be there for a week to ten days, and are leaning towards either Waterford and Dingle areas, or Dingle and Galway areas. Any advice here?

xxx Mar 20th, 2002 05:24 AM

One hell of a hangover, it was fun, I think?

xxxxx Mar 20th, 2002 05:28 AM

And your point is...?

ian Mar 20th, 2002 05:33 AM

I think xxx was referring to the time that he drank several pints of Guinness from a Waterford Crystal vase and then danced a jig on the bar while wearing the Aran sweater he had just knitted himself.....

Fiona Mar 20th, 2002 06:07 AM

It is not exactly useful but a definate must if you are going to Ireland. I think the best souvenir is a claddagh ring. Its a wonderful keepsake from your trip and a great conversation piece. You can spend as little as a few pounds on a silver pinkie ring or much more for gold. If you are not into rings, you can get a claddagh broach, earings, necklace and you will find the symbol on many gift items.<BR>Cheers,<BR>Fiona

Wendy Mar 28th, 2002 11:46 AM

I think that bog oak makes a great souvenir from Irealnd. A sculpture, a bowl, jewelry; every piece is one of a kind...

Terry Mar 28th, 2002 01:27 PM

Traveler, sorry, but I'm not overly familiar with the Waterford and Dingle areas. I grew up in Northern Ireland. I have driven all around the country, but I have to confess that I don't get down to that part of the island as often as the rest of it.<BR><BR>My favorite spot in all of Ireland is County Donegal (it's on the northern coast, but it's in the Republic). There's no where like it on earth. The Inishowen Penisula and Malin Head are incredible. But, as I heard a priest once say, it's in a damned inconvenient place. So that probably is not what you're looking for.<BR><BR>You can't really go wrong by basing yourself in any of the places you mentioned. But you will still be limited on how much you can see by how you define a "short" drive. You may also want to consider Kilkenny. It's a wonderful town, and within driving distance of Dublin. I most recently stayed in Kilkenny after I injured my foot while hiking the Wicklow Way, and I loved the fact that I could easily hobble to a number of pubs (in addition to a great Indian restaurants) from my B&B.<BR><BR>Hopefully, this isn't a once-in-a-lifetime trip for you, so you can come back and spend time in another part of the country.<BR>

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