Had enough of plastic leprechauns made in China? Why not bring home souvenirs from Ireland that people will actually like. In fact, just to avoid your friends and family fighting over the gifts you bring home, you might be better off keeping the lot for yourself. Here are our top picks for the best souvenirs from Ireland to bring home (what you do with them is up to you):
Celtic patterns were just made for jewellery. Woven into gold and silver pendants, rings, bracelets and earrings, these ancient designs are elegant and timeless. The age-old script called ogham is a key inspiration for the Kerry jeweller Brian de Staic and makes for unusual pieces incorporating names and other personal details in the simple alphabet.
Breweries and distilleries are springing up all over the island of Ireland, so don’t just stop at Guinness. Whatever town you visit, you’re sure to find an associated specialty drink. In Kerry alone, you’ll find the Dingle Distillery, West Kerry Brewery, and Killarney Brewing, to name a few. Try a few before you choose; at least then you’ll know what to do with the bottles you bought for your teetotaller friends (accidentally, of course…).
For a true taste of any country, look to the work its native artists are producing. We’re not suggesting you pick up a Jack B. Yeats or a Louis Le Brocquy on your Irish trip (although if you can afford it, lucky you). Stroll through many Irish towns and you will find at least one local gallery tucked away in one of its streets or alleyways. There, you’ll find prints and smaller pieces by talented, lesser-known artists that your friends (or your own wall) will love.
There is a lot more to souvenir t-shirts than “Kiss Me, I’m Irish.” The Irish have a unique way with words and a famous wit, which they express particularly well in their less conventional t-shirts. So if you really cannot stand the sight of another stout-emblazoned chest, check out the quirkier side of Irish souvenir t-shirts. Your friends and relatives will thank you for it.
It’s the last day of your holiday and you really need to get some souvenirs from Ireland before you head to the airport. What do you do? Well, if you’ve taken our advice, you will have stocked up on beautiful Irish jewellery and art, funky t-shirts, and tasty drinks. But maybe you’ve left out all those work colleagues and fellow book club members who’ve been promised “something small.”
And maybe too, you’re just plain broke and you’ve no room left in your suitcase. This is where the calendar comes in. We don’t mean a tacky number plastered with livid green shamrocks or jaunting cars from 1978: Look in any good souvenir shop and you will find a great selection of calendars, both witty and arty. You could even buy one for yourself and mark the date of your next trip to Ireland.
What souvenirs from Ireland have you bought? Have you ever received a truly tacky souvenir? Tell us in the comments below!