Best crafts, gifts, design: Moss Cottage

Jen Cleary at Moss Cottage at Main Street Dundrum. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Jen Cleary at Moss Cottage at Main Street Dundrum. Photograph: Cyril Byrne


“Granny chic meets industrial” is how owner Jen Cleary describes her quirky and eclectic shop in Dundrum with its “teeny” shop window, which might be girly and flowery one week, minimalist and metal the next.

It’s more than a gift shop; customers who love vintage and kitsch visit to buy everything from stationery and candles to homewares. They also value the free advice that the warm and bubbly Cleary offers, on things from how to paint old furniture (she sells the essential chalk paints that require no sanding and priming), to creating wedding decor at low cost.

“We love Kirstie Allsopp,” says Cleary, who has met the TV presenter, who is a creative up-cycler and homecrafts expert. Cleary, who studied design and sculpture at NCAD, opened the shop nearly two years ago, after losing her job as manager of the gift shop at nearby Airfield House.

Her aim was to stock her shop with unique items, ideally from exclusive suppliers, as a contrast to mass produced giftware. Moss Cottage has a strong social media presence that encourages price-conscious customers in its DIY projects, and is also the venue for classes in wedding planning. “A customer will come in to talk about design for their wedding and by the time they leave we’ll have the whole wedding planned,” says Cleary, who is assisted by NCAD student Clio Maldon.

Readers called Moss Cottage “friendly and welcoming” and “a gem of a find” with “attention to detail that is second to none”.

Cleary is often called upon to put together personalised hampers as gifts , and there are plenty of unique presents for under a tenner. “This shop has heart and soul”, said a reader.

Moss Cottage, 4 Pembroke Cottages, Main Street, Dundrum, Dublin 14; tel 01-2157696,

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