4 Best Places to Shop in The Midlands, Ireland

Bastion Gallery

Fodor's choice

An Aladdin's cave of a place in which to browse, the funky Bastion Gallery sells quirky gifts, books, and toys. The owner, Katie McCay, designs and handcrafts jewelry designed with ogham, the first written form of Gaelic, sculpting words onto chains, pendants, and earrings. The shop opens in the afternoons from 12:30 to 6 pm.

Casey's Bogwood Sculptures

A lovely spot near Longford Town is Newtowncashel, on the banks of Lough Ree, where you can visit Casey's Bogwood Sculptures, a fascinating workshop and showroom run by sculptors Michael and Kevin Casey. The center displays sculptures and keepsakes made from bog oak and bog yew, which is hewn from the 5,000-year-old trees submerged and ultimately preserved by the area's ancient peatlands. Their handiwork includes birds and fish, while other pieces furnish churches and sanctuaries. The owners will tell you the story of how they re-created froglike creatures called the lucht na fathi (the swamp people), inspired by a mix of local tales and Celtic mysticism.

Newtowncashel, Co. Longford, Ireland
shopping Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun.

Celtic Roots Studio

Combining a workshop and gallery, the Celtic Roots Studio in Ballinahown specializes in hand-carved sculptures and personalized jewelry from 5,000-year-old bogwood in the nearby Lough Boora bog, where the wood was preserved in the peat. The owner engraves her work, creating wish stones and all manner of carvings evocative of the natural world and Irish mythology, which make special keepsakes. Ballinahown is the last village in Westmeath as you travel to Clonmacnoise.

Recommended Fodor's Video

John's Bookshop

Owned and run since 1997 by the affable John Donohoe, this bookshop is exactly the way a secondhand bookstore should be: cluttered, disorganized, and heaving with rare and signed Irish-related and general books (up to 10,000 titles at any one time).