Support local artisans this Christmas with hand-crafted Irish gifts

From knitwear to chocolate, home-made presents that will please everyone this year

A wrap from BallyBoy design

A wrap from BallyBoy design

 

Buy home-grown, home-made or handcrafted this Christmas for great gifts that will make you happy, your recipient thrilled and help to sustain a local artisan. That’s a triple bottom line right there.

1: When Euro-Toques winning pastry chef Gráinne Mullins lost her restaurant job as a result of the pandemic she cooked up a plan B – artisanal chocolates. In just a few months the enterprising Galway girl has built a commercial kitchen, developed a website and launched her fabulous Grá range. She has decorative chocolate Christmas baubles too, priced from €30.grachocolates.com

2: Master engraver Soul Engraver. It is a lovely way of capturing a significant moment in time. You can even get an engraving of yourself saying “I love you”, which is a kind of super-socially-distanced hug. Prices for the Resonate collection start at €275.00. soulengraver.com

3: Anne Behan’s McConnell Woollen Mills in Killaloe, Co Clare, makes knitwear so gorgeous that it sits proudly in the kind of high-end Japanese stores that sell silk kimonos for €100,000. You can buy them closer to home in Avoca and Kilkenny stores, as well as online from Aine.ie. Behan is best known for her Aran sweaters but her beautiful range of “ocean wave” textured ponchos makes a lovely gift too. Prices range from €110 to €160. aine.ie

Knitwear from Anne Behan’s McConnell Woollen Mills
Knitwear from Anne Behan’s McConnell Woollen Mills
A piece from Sacred Tree Collection, by Brian Dunne of Soul Engraver
A piece from Sacred Tree Collection, by Brian Dunne of Soul Engraver

4: Sabine Lenz was a fashion design student in Hamburg, Germany, when she visited Ireland and met and fell in love with an English man living in west Cork, where she stayed. Fashion design’s loss is the jewellery lover’s gain thanks to her beautiful Enibas range of Celtic and contemporary gold and silver jewellery. Pieces engraved with Irish phrases, such as Croí álainn, with pendants from €89. enibas.com

5: Lorna Finnegan’s fashion design business The House of Leaf has featured in international glossies such as Harper’s Bazaar and Elle UK. She specialises in luxury hand-drawn silk scarves inspired by the moon. Her hand-drawn designs celebrate all aspects of her lunar love, and cost from €70 to €180. Her range of sustainable jumpers and T-shirts also pick up the moon motif, priced from €55 and €25 respectively. Buy online or from Fresh Cuts Clothing on Dublin’s Drury Street. thehouseofleaf.com

6: MyUniqueRing.ie is a new website from goldsmith and jewellery designer Tuula Harrington that allows you to design your own engagement ring. Choose from numerous ideas from Tuula’s own sketchbook, with freedom to try out different bands, metals and gemstones. The rings are designed in real time through a three-stage process, which means you can make any number of changes to your design or stone choices, and the ring is created immediately on-screen, including the price. Prices from €1,200. myuniquering.ie

A ring from MyUniqueRing.ie
A ring from MyUniqueRing.ie
A design from House of Leaf
A design from House of Leaf

7: For sustainably-produced casual wear look no further than new Irish brand Ilk. The Dundalk-based studio has launched a range of timeless, trans-seasonal and adaptable pieces that layer up and down as the seasons – or in Ireland, the days – dictate, and are made from the kind of high-density, water-repellent cottons worn by Antarctic researchers. Jackets from €220, sweatshirts from €90 and bags from €40. ilk.ie

8: Sustainability is massively important for Siobhán Quinn of BallyBoy Design too. She has made her mark on the fashion world by creating beautiful and classic wraps and capes made from tweed from John Hanly in Tipperary and hand finished in her studio in Co Longford. “They’re investment pieces designed to be handed down from generation to generation,” she explains. Priced from €330 to €480. ballyboydesign.ie

9: Had enough of thumb-thumping communications? Ditch the digital, fling the phone and get back on the paper trail instead with Badly Made Books. The Cork-based papermaker produces a range of hand-made notebooks, journals and planners which make wonderful (blue) stocking fillers. The business, which won an award at this year’s Showcase, is as sustainable as can be, with products made with a minimum of 70 per cent recycled waste, printed and finished on second-hand machines. A notebook costs €18.50. All you will need is an original thought to put in it. badlymadebooks.com