Flea to the Point
The Dublin Flea Christmas Market is back in the docklands this weekend and next, 8th-9th and 13th-16th December. Each weekend will have a different line-up of stalls so you may have to go twice to see the full range of the wonderful and sometimes weird gifts, art and all things vintage on offer. In all, 280 of the most exciting up-and-coming Irish-based creative start-ups and small businesses will show across the two weekends, with lots of brilliant present ideas and artisan food producers making everything from vegan chocs to delicious falafel wraps. Point Square, Saturday and Sunday, 11am-6pm. dublinchristmasflea.ie
A fireplace full of beans
Bewleys on Dublin's Grafton Street is humming in the run-up to Christmas and there's nowhere nicer to escape from the shops than its James Joyce Room on the second floor. Here you can relax in velvet armchairs by an open fire fuelled by small spherical logs made from compressed coffee grounds that throw out an impressive heat and a faint aroma of coffee. It seems coffee logs burn brighter and hotter than briquettes and it takes just three in the grate to lend a warm atmosphere. The logs come in sturdy paper bags of 16 from Cambridge recycling firm, BioBean. They're currently in stock at B&Q in Dublin.
Keeping the furniture flag flying in Navan
When Beechmount Home Park opened in the early 1970s, Navan was a hub of interior design and manufacture, with 45 factories in and around the Meath town while Navan Carpets exported all over the world. These days the Irish interiors scene is very different – but the park still flies the flag for Irish-made goods. In fact, it's the only large retail park in Ireland where all of the businesses are wholly Irish owned and operated.
Beechmount features a selection of interiors companies offering a vast range of designs and styles, making it a one-stop-shop for hand-crafted kitchens, bespoke sofas, wardrobes, bathrooms, tiles, stoves, soft furnishings and much more. It's a great place to seek information and inspiration for pretty much every project – large or small, straightforward or multilayered – which might be looming on your home decor horizon. beechmounthomepark.com
Things that make us who we are
It sounds like just another trendy interiors business, but the new design brand We Make Good is much more than that. It’s an ongoing social enterprise initiative which aims to create opportunities for disadvantaged people – such as refugees, people with a disability or people with a history of being in prison – to develop valuable craft skills and get into paid employment.
The organisation currently has a pop-up shop on the corner of Smithfield Square and Haymarket on Dublin's northside, and besides being beautiful and practical, the goods are made to the highest contemporary design standards. By using sustainable and innovative materials they also have one eye on the environment. Products include the Wedge Side Table, the Colour Block Cushion and the Big Fix Mirror as well as ceramic bowls, Irish linen napkins, scarves, toys made from recycled Foxford blankets and framed vintage travel posters courtesy of the National Museum.
“We think beauty lies in the story of how a product is made,” is the philosophy behind We Make Good. “We believe the things around us should reflect who we are and what we want the world to be.” Us, too. The pop-up is open until December 15th. wemakegood.ie
Destination Dún Laoghaire
If you've passed through Dún Laoghaire over the past couple of weeks, you might have wondered about the purpose of the row of little red huts along the seafront. Well, wonder no more. The huts are the heart of the Dún Laoghaire Christmas Market, and contain some 18 traders offering a range of seasonal crafts, decorations, drinks and snacks. These include Out of Hand beaded and crystal decorations, KT Metal Design metal art and sculpture, Helena Kenny wooden Christmas characters, Gifts of Nature Crafts and L'Vent handmade bags. W
hether you're in search of a Bluetooth-enabled hat or a photographic print, there are gift ideas galore – and a vintage funfair, complete with the Ferris wheel from the movie Grease, to keep the kids entertained. And with a "buy one, get one free" offer on on-street parking around the town centre, it's the perfect time to check out Dún Laoghaire's largest ever display of Christmas lights. The market is on every Friday, 12.30pm-7pm, Saturday and Sunday, 11am-7pm, until December 23rd.