Irish wool sweater

Aug 15th, 2001, 04:30 AM
  #1  
joy
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Irish wool sweater

Can anyone advise how much (approx) a typical irish wool sweater is. The kind it seems people always want when you go to Ireland. And where is the best place to buy them?? Thanks
 
Aug 15th, 2001, 05:38 AM
  #2  
Ess
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I saw all kinds of really beautiful handmade sweaters in small shops (cottage industry type places) on the west coast of Ireland while we were visiting the area. The only time I ever bought one was quite a number of years ago, it was about US$40 for a man's large size. I don't think you'll get that lucky, however. You can buy them in towns in shops that cater to tourists, and they'll be just as lovely but more expensive than in the countryside. The airport duty free carries them as well, I believe. I don't know what the prices are likely to be, as I haven't been to Ireland since '94. Not cheap, anymore, I'm sure. I'm sure the Irish Fodorites here will have some good suggestions for you.
 
Aug 15th, 2001, 07:14 AM
  #3  
Martha
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I bought my Scottish "fisherman's" sweater on a VERY COLD february weekend in Edinburgh - paid $65 for it, was well worth missing the next month of lunches to pay for it. Kept me from freezing on the train ride back to London.
 
Aug 15th, 2001, 07:17 AM
  #4  
Beth Anderson
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I was lucky enough to buy one for 30 bucks, last May... and another one for maybe 60 or so - the first in Clifden, the second on the Inismoor. They are both lovely, but the one on Inismoor was especially so - Merino wool, very soft, and a periwinkle blue - I love it, it matches my eyes. (makes 'em stand out more - so I am told!
 
Aug 15th, 2001, 07:42 AM
  #5  
mikey
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There are several different prices depending on the quality, workmanship and patterns. Basically three ways to make and you need to check the label because they use different ways to call it. Hand Knit (actually knit by hand), Hand loomed (person makes using a loom) and machine made in order of cost from high to lowest.
 
Aug 15th, 2001, 07:52 AM
  #6  
ALW
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I bought two GORGEOUS hand-made fisherman's sweaters on Inishmor about three years ago for about $70 each (including VAT). I gave one to my mom -- who can't wear it (in Michigan!) because it's too warm! -- and kept one for myself (I wear it instead of a coat).
 
Aug 15th, 2001, 11:50 AM
  #7  
James
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They're called Aran sweaters, not fisherman's sweaters, at least in Ireland (can't same the same for Scotland, as I don't know).

I live in the US now, but left Ireland when I was 20. I never had an Aran sweater until my mother-in-law bought me one about 2 years ago. Nice sweater, but I feel kind of silly wearing it, as we always laugh at all of the Americans wearing Aran sweaters at Irish festivals and concerts and such here in the US. Do you think you look Irish wearing the sweater or something?
 
Aug 15th, 2001, 01:14 PM
  #8  
Jane
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We were in Ireland in March and didn't see handmade Arans for less than $75 or $80. Machine-loomed ones were as low as $25 or $30.

If you're looking for woolen gifts that will actually be useful for friends/family back in the U.S., you might instead consider the lovely scarves that are sold in the same shops that sell sweaters. They're incredibly soft and they come in unbelievably beautiful colors. I bought two for about $25 apiece.
 
Aug 15th, 2001, 06:50 PM
  #9  
Jackie
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I just bought two (marino wool, probably machine wool) at Aran Sweater Mart in Killarney. They were 42 pounds each(without the VAT tax).
 
Aug 15th, 2001, 06:55 PM
  #10  
Joy
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Thanks so much to all of you that answered. The info helps me a lot. On top of that now I am educated on the different kind of Irish sweaters!

Much thanks!
 
Aug 15th, 2001, 07:08 PM
  #11  
kam
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Mairten Standun in Spiddal just north of Galway City has a vast selection of all kinds of Aran sweaters. It takes about half an hour to get there on the road through Salthill along Galway Bay. Pretty drive and there's a nice pub across the street. Don't know the prices, but they're certainly better than here in the US. I like the newer sweaters in colors rather than the original off white. Dark blue or red is nice but surely not traditional--up to you.
 
Aug 16th, 2001, 10:35 AM
  #12  
CT
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Last December I bought two sweaters at a shop on the main street in Tralee. They were about $50 each - not Aran (no cables, baubles), but I am a knitter and I couldn't have even bought the yarn for that price. Second the suggestion on scarves - they're great and don't take up near as much space in your suitcase.
 
Aug 16th, 2001, 01:40 PM
  #13  
ALW
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James:

Do we have to want to "look Irish" to buy and appreciate a finely made sweater? I knitted an Aran sweater for my father, and I am American -- so which one of us should be laughed at? Can't we just wear and enjoy such a beautiful piece of work?

Chill, man...
 
Aug 19th, 2001, 03:12 PM
  #14  
Elaine
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My thoughts precisely for James. You said it well so I won't repeat.
When my daughter returned from Ireland last year she said she regreted not buying a sweater but she didn't want to use up so much $ on herself. We'll be in the West of Ireland as well as the Aran Islands next month so dear daughter will be getting a nice surprise for Christmas. Maybe blue and one for myself too.
 
Aug 19th, 2001, 03:31 PM
  #15  
Diane
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One of the nice things that came of an ill-fated first marriage, was that my Northern Irish (ex) mother-in-law got me started knitting Aran wool sweaters. I made several in the early 70s, but the wool got too costly, and living in Maryland the weather is simply not cold enough. The most interesting part is learning to do the various types of cables. The prices previous posters have been quoting are quite fair, considering the amount of time and work that can go into such a garment. I think I made one off white, then found gorgeous colors -- soft gold, dark teal, and a heather rose. They did last the various recipients for many years. It would be a fabulous souvenir from your travels.
 
Aug 20th, 2001, 01:02 PM
  #16  
Did
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The patterns on Aran sweaters were unique to each family, so that fishermen's bodies could be identified when they were washed on to the beach.
 
Aug 22nd, 2001, 12:02 PM
  #17  
James
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Why does everyone take everything the wrong way on this site? I was only saying that my friends and I find it pretty funny that Americans seem to think you have to put on an Aran sweater to attend any Irish concert or festival in the U.S.

Aran sweaters are great, and I do where mine when it gets cold enough. It's just a little strange when you're in a crowd of 2,000 people and 1,000 are wearing the same sweater.

I'm a little sensitive to the whole "Irish American" thing, as I'm from Ireland. I can't count the number of times, after hearing my accent and asking where I'm from, someone will say "I'm Irish, too!" During my first year here, I would get excited and ask "What county are you from?" The response would be "Oh, well, I'm actually from Pennsylvania/Chicago/California/Boston" but my great-great grandmother was from County Cork, I think." I've since discovered that 90% of "Irish Americans" believe their ancestors are from Cork. There are other counties in Ireland!!!

These people are AMERICAN, not Irish. I'm Irish. I guess some people would consider my kids Irish American, but I don't. They're American. They were born in America, and so far are living in America.
 
Aug 22nd, 2001, 12:27 PM
  #18  
ALW
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Hi James:

I'm sorry that you were misunderstood, but the tone of your first e-mail ("we always laugh at all of the Americans wearing Aran sweaters at Irish festivals and concerts and such here in the US. Do you think you look Irish wearing the sweater or something?") was more than a bit combatative.

As for the ubiquitous Irish Americans, well, they're just happy to feel like they come from somewhere. My ancestry is Irish, Scots, Dutch, Welsh, English, Russian, German, and Swedish -- and that's just the ones we know about! -- and I've lived and travelled all over (see the "Where to you live" thread for details), and I have to admit that it would be nice to share in these people's sense of "Oh, this is who I am and where I belong!" Until I find a place that feels like home, however, I'm still rootless (and when I get there, I'll probably still feel like an American!)...
 

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