Male order presents: Christmas gifts for men
Tools and gadgets; winter warmers; getting about faster - just some of the ideas on Manchan Magan’s wish list
What are you planning for the men in your life this Christmas?
Read all our Christmas content at irishtimes.com/itschristmas
Water works In cable wakeboarding, the speedboat of traditional water-skiing is replaced by a cable that pulls the rider along. The course at Dublin’s Grand Canal Dock has two cable towers, meaning a rider can continuously ride along between them. It’s an ideal way to have fun in the city centre. There are 400 cable parks in the world; give someone the gift of experiencing the first one in Ireland. €30 for one hour; gift vouchers at wakedock.ie
Pack it up If the leather and canvas rucksacks produced by Duluth Pack in Minnesota seem well-honed, they should be – they have been perfecting them since 1882. Each bag is handcrafted by a team of sewers, cutters and riveters before being initialled by the final sewer. The bags feature riveted leather straps, hide drawcords and roller buckles and come with a lifetime guarantee. Alas, they are not cheap: the Wanderer (illustrated) costs €330 – more than €100 of which is tax and postage. duluthpack.com
Pack a punch Minipresso is an ingenious little contraption that basically puts an espresso machine in your backpack. Novel engineering has created a semi-automatic piston pump that offers eight bars of pressure to produce a fine espresso shot. It includes a little thermos tank for water and an espresso cup. Load the capsule, then hand-pump 18 times for an espresso or 28 times for a double. $59 (€53.75) with free worldwide postage. wacaco.com
Cut it out The Logosol Timberjig turns your chainsaw into a fully-functional hand-held sawmill so that rather than just chopping garden timber into firewood you can actually mill it into usable, quality planks. The vision is that families and communities can create fine furniture or just a garden bench in a day from the logs of a backyard tree. €145. thesawdoctor.ie
Cutting edge bracelet Leatherman’s Tread is the lovechild of a bracelet and a multi-tool. Worn on your wrist, the virtually indestructible device features 29 different “tools” integrated into its links: screwdrivers, hex drives, bolt wrenches, a carbide glass breaker, cutting hook and of course a bottle opener for the well-earned drink once you’ve fixed your Sherman tank or whatever. In theory, it ought to pass through airport security. €199.95. greatoutdoors.ie
Learn to build Over a day or three days, learn to design and make stools, chairs or small tables at Greenwood Chair courses near Skibbereen in Co Cork. With only two to four participants per course, you get high level one-to-one tuition. Alison Ospina, the teacher says: “I believe there is at least one chair in all of us and my job is to inspire and encourage students to create a unique piece of furniture.” One day €185, three days €550. greenwoodchairs.com
Dress it up Fiona Mulholland’s Glow range of Plexiglas men’s jewellery is uncompromisingly contemporary, but still rooted in traditional jewellery-making techniques. The natural edge of the Plexiglas refracts and filters light like a futuristic, mongrel diamond. Her Dog Tag neckpiece consists of Plexiglas cubes bracketed with silver on a sterling silver ball chain; suggesting stratified cubes of ocean or crystalline light diodes. €160. mulhollandjewellery.com
Suited and booted The innate Britishness of Brasher boots inspired devoted loyalty among fans, who were concerned that quality would suffer when they amalgamated with Berghaus. Thankfully, British leather is still being used and they’ve mercifully leveraged Berghaus know-how to overcome the traditional two weeks of suffering that accompanied the wearing-in period. Support the few stragglers still making leather boots in a world of canvas. €200. berghaus.com
Take a spin If you consider electric bikes sluggish prepare to be surprised. The latest models are sleek and swift, with motors incorporated seamlessly into the chassis. German firm Kalkhoff has been making bikes since 1919 and now, using Panasonic technology, it has electric models with Bluetooth-enabled navigation screens and USB charging sockets. The battery range is up to 200km and there’s power assistance to 45kmh. From €2,699.
Nutty ending Walnut trees in Ireland provide meagre nut crops, principally because we plant the wrong varieties. The Juglans regia Jupiter should provide a man-sized harvest within three years. Not only are the nuts delicious, but their shells can be ground down and used as stuffing in pasta and any nuts that don’t ripen can be pickled. Be warned, though, walnuts are bullies, releasing a growth inhibitor that will slow down neighbouring plants. €59.
Wear it out The men’s tweed range from Studio Donegal in Kilcar is not just clothing but represents a wish to preserve the traditional hand-weaving skills passed down from generation to generation in this mountainous region of Donegal. Its handwoven clothes made on a loom in the workshop are designed as workwear, with fold-back cuffs for dirty work and a buttoned collar against the wind. Aran vest (€159), Donegal jacket (€395) Merino scarf (€37) and a tweed cap (€69). studiodonegal.ie
Meaty finish For those doubting their masculinity, there is Real Man’s soap from the Handmade Soap Company, €7.50. For the rest of us, the company makes a Natural Moustache Wax (€9.95) using beeswax, castor oil, lemon peel oil and Frankincense and a shaving soap whose principal ingredient is beef tallow fragranced with essential oils of lime, basil and sweet orange. The soap comes in a dish made on a potter’s wheel in Kilkenny Castle (€31.95). thehandmadesoapcompany.ie
Picture this I challenge you to visit Jam Art Factory in Temple Bar or Patrick Street, Dublin, and not end up buying a limited edition art-work. The shop offers Irish-based printmakers of all types and styles a platform to display and sell their work. Screenprints, digital illustrations, lino cuts, laser cuts, photography, most costing between €10-€30. jamartprints.com
Northern coverage Dale of Norway has been knitting winter clothing amongst the waterfalls and fjords of Norway since 1879. Its Cortina 1956 sweater was the first official Olympic Sweater made for the 1956 Winter Olympic Games in Cortina d’Ampezzo, and recently re-launched. This jumper that transcends generations costs €230. daleofnorway.com
Basket case In the aristocracy of basket-makers, Ciarán Hogan is a scion of the most distinguished line: son of willow-artist and basket crafter, Joe Hogan. Having apprenticed to his father, he now makes his own range including the Connemara turf basket, €140. He’ll post them from his studio in Spiddal craft village, or you can buy a voucher for one of his courses, which manage to instil the basics in a single day. ciaranhoganbaskets.com