Clothing firm Inis Meáin has a record year

Aran Islands clothing firm counts New York’s Bergdorf Goodman among its stockists

The company employs 21 people on Inis Meáin, one of the three Aran Islands and long a retreat for the playwright JM Synge.

The high-end Inis Meáin knitwear firm that counts the likes of Bergdorf Goodman in New York City as a stockist has “a huge future” if the business can continue to grow its online direct sales to customers, according to its founder.

Tarlach de Blacam, founding director of Cniotáil Inis Meáin Teoranta, made his comment as he said the business last year increased its overall sales to “about €2.5 million”.

Cniotáil Inis Meáin Teoranta is located on one of the three Aran Islands and employs 21 people on Inis Meáin which has a population of around 200.

Mr de Blacam said 2023 was “a record year” for the company in terms of investing in its direct-to-customer online sales platform. “I was never in this for the fast buck; it has always been about investing in the future,” he said.


The most recent accounts show that the company recorded pretax profits of €332,154 in 2022 – down 19 per cent on the pretax profits of €409,803 for 2021. At the end of December 2022, the company’s accumulated profits totalled €737,847.

Mr de Blacam said: “the business has been growing nicely over the past six, seven, eight years. We are a small artisan brand selling to top stores around the world.” He said he has been surprised by the firm’s success in online sales. He said: “I always thought the fact that our product is high end, super quality, cashmere blends that it would be difficult to sell online because people paying that money would want to feel it, see it but that seems to have changed.”

Mr de Blacam said that online sales during 2022 and 2023 “would be a big growth period”.

The new accounts show that the business paid out €634,049 on the redemption of shares and Mr de Blacam said this is connected to the firm purchasing former director Sean Mac Reamoinn’s 30 per cent shareholding in the business.

Mr de Blacam said the share purchase, which he said was done on a mutually agreed basis, brings all the shares back into the ownership of the de Blacam family.

He said that he has taken a back seat in the business in his role as chairman since the start of 2023 and that his son Ruairí and daughter-in-law Marie-Thérèse now run the company.

Mr de Blacam said that the retail price of the firm’s clothing products range from €300 to €500 at the lower end and garments can cost up to €1,500 to €1,800 for 100 per cent cashmere.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times