Last year, I put together a list of Irish suppliers from whom I’ve bought and tried and tested products – I’m adding a few more to it this year, as the inclination to try to support local businesses continues. There’s nothing like a crisis to bring people together, and it’s heartening to see the effort people have been making to buy Irish, support local businesses, and spread the word about great Irish gifts again this year.
There are fantastic gift guides out there from bloggers and in newspapers and magazines, and this is my small contribution – a gift guide with just 15 Irish sellers, but all people or businesses I’ve bought from. So it’s short, but they’re all personal recommendations, and all products I’ve loved.
Queen B Athletics
For gorgeous, soft sweatshirts in bright colours, and for leggings, sports bras, and t-shirts, you can’t go wrong with Irish clothing company Queen B Athletics. Owned and run by two sisters from Carrigaline, Co. Cork, Queen B clothing is fun and functional and reasonably priced. Follow them on Instagram (@QueenBAthletics ) to keep up to date with details on pop-up shops, or check out their website to buy online. I have the Jessie sweatshirt and absolutely love it. My sisters own pretty much every other item they sell, including the hats, so I can attest to the excellent quality. (And I have my eye on the Anna sweatshirt in ice-blue, in case anyone is wondering what to buy me for Christmas . . .)
I bought my husband a “Damien’s Cheese” slate cheese board from Slated a couple of years ago which was, despite the engraving, really a present for me too. Much cheese has been eaten from this board over the last two years, and Slated have beautiful tableware and tea light holders too. I went to school with Tara who, with her husband, runs Slated, and I’m always delighted to support this lovely business.
Ger Holland Photography
Ger Holland is a Dublin-based photographer, originally from Galway, and she is frequently asked to photograph at literary events in Ireland and beyond. Unfortunately, since February 2020, most literary events have had to move online, but Ger is selling calendars and prints while we wait for things to open up again. I brought a print of Seville from her last year, and it has pride of place on my dining room wall. Also, Ger is an absolutely second-to-none kind, lovely person.
Emily Rainsford Art
Emily Rainsford is a blogger friend I first met seven years ago, and although I knew she painted, I didn’t realise until last year that her paintings are for sale on Etsy. I fell in love with the painting below when I saw it, ordered it, and it arrived a few days later in beautiful packaging. Now all it needs is a beautiful frame and fifteen months later, I’ve finally sent it off to do just that. (PS if you are in South Dublin, Fuji Blackrock are AMAZING for any kind of photo printing or framing and have fantastic cusotmer service.)
I only discovered Dublin-based Jam Art Prints last year (thanks to my sister), and my daughter, who was looking over my shoulder at the time, asked for a print for Christmas. I decided to buy one for my office too, and got this one:
There is a huge variety of prints for sale on the website and delivery was very prompt. I will be back.
I’ve been a fan of MaryK Jewellery for the last few years – an Irish designer selling in local shops (like Halo Glasthule) and online. I’m building a collection!
Love From Me
LoveFromMe.ie is owned and run by Louise from Galway – an online jewellery store with gorgeous products and frequent sales. When I bought the rose-gold bangle, it was reduced to 49 cents. I bought four of them! Louise is lovely, the jewellery arrives very promptly and is beautifully packaged. If you’ve already bought all your gifts this year, perhaps you need a treat for yourself?
In my ongoing quest to experiment with new skincare brands and products, I recently tried Kinvara Skincare. I love their oil cleanser and will definitely be back to try more. Quick delivery, lovely packaging, would make a fabulous gift for someone else or just for you…
Sculpted by Aimee
There’s a Dunnes Stores that’s in walking distance from me, and during lockdown, some of my many walks took me there, specifically to browse through their skincare and makeup department. That’s here I discovered Sculpted by Aimee – a makeup brand founded in 2016 by Irish make-up artist Aimee Connolly. I bought the concealer first, as a reasonably-priced alternative to the Bobby Brown concealer I usually use, and more recently I bought the moisturiser/ primer. I’ll definitely buy both again, and supporting an Irish brand is an added bonus. The products are very prettily packaged and available in Boots, pharmacies, Dunnes, and online.
I’d been planning to buy a decent set of makeup brushes for a while when I heard about NimaBrush. Owned by Dublin-based makeup artist Niamh Martin, Nima is my new go-to place for makeup brushes. I bought the Introduction Set a few months ago, and I love using them. Perfect for the makeup fan in your life.
Irish Whiskey Stone Company
Browsing MagnumLady’s Craft gift guide last year, I spotted Irish Whiskey Stones and decided to buy their Father Ted stone “ice” cubes as a gift for my dad. They come in a cute little gift box, and are exactly what I’d expected, and there was a little sticker on the envelope saying, “Thanks for supporting my small business”. This year, that’s what it’s all about.
Sheridan’s Cheese Hamper
When my sister’s would-be-wedding-date came around in April 2020, in our first few weeks of lockdown, we wanted to mark it in some way, so sent a Sheridan’s hamper to her and her fiancé. Sheridans were brilliant to deal with (I needed to change delivery date) and the hamper looked gorgeous. I can’t tell you how it tasted because my sister and her fiancé ate it all themselves – to be fair, we were in deep lockdown and not allowed to see each other. But our weekly grocery shopping treat is Sheridan’s cheese from the counter in Dunnes, so I can definitely recommend. (Especially the chutney.)
Beekon is a honey refresher drink – as they say on their Instagram: Not a beer. Not a cider. Not a wine
No gluten, sulphites or additives. It was founded by someone I know a couple of years ago and it’s been going from strength to strength thanks to her and her partner’s hard work and passion, and in no small part, thanks to how delicious the drinks taste. You can buy Beekon in many supermarkets and off-licences – here is a list of stockists. You can also buy it by the case on the Beekon website. Drink responsibly! PS if you’re interested in buying a case online, Beekon have given me a 10% discount code: OFFICEMUM
I discovered Skelligs chocolate when we ordered some new doors and on completion of the order, we were given a box of Skelligs chocolates. They were incredibly tasty – the joint-best chocolates I’ve ever had (see below for the other) and I considered ordering more doors to get more chocolates, though it’s less expensive to just buy the chocolate directly. Based in Kerry, Skelligs have a comprehensive range available to buy online and from these stockists.
My other favourite chocolate is Lir. Disclaimer: Lir sent me a hamper of chocolate three years ago, and I became a loyal (paying) customer as soon as the hamper was gone. Their Salted Caramel Truffles are to die for and their Discovery Collection makes a very pretty and delicious gift.
Books by Irish authors
This final entry on the list isn’t about one particular product or one particular book, but another way to buy Irish is to give someone a book written by an Irish writer. I won’t try to recommend any particular books here as there are too many, and I’m bound to leave someone out, so instead I’ve added a photo of some of the Irish books on my bookshelf in my bedroom – this is just a tiny subset of the books by Irish authors available from any bookshop. I’ll never again take browsing in a bookshop for granted.