We’re all being encouraged to buy local this Christmas, now more than ever given the impact of Covid-19 on small businesses in 2020. Other media outlets are doing a great job of highlighting fantastic products, made in Ireland from imported materials, but having a sustainability focus I’ve decided to showcase products made in Ireland from locally sourced materials.
In writing this article I realised that not every ‘Irish’ material is indeed Irish. I often see Irish linen cited only to find out that the fibre is grown in France and woven in Ireland. I appreciate that the fabric is ‘made’ in Ireland but I suspect that a lot of customers assume it’s grown here too.
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I’ve also had to leave out whole categories of gifts in the pursuit of products made from locally produced materials or ingredients, such as skincare. A lot of Irish made skincare uses locally-sourced ingredients but as far as I’m aware the bulk of the product is made from imported carrier oils and emolients.
I have decided to include companies making goods from existing materials, which technically we can define as ‘local’.
Hopefully in the not too distant future we’ll get a chance to explore our fair isle again. With that hope in mind how about a digital gift card for staycations? (Thanks to Linda for telling me about this)
Another great Christmas Stocking gift is a tree token. For every token bought a native tree will be planted in Ireland.
Clothes wise the only show in town when it comes to ‘locally made from local material’ is vintage or upcycled. I have a very extensive list of vintage sellers here so check that out if that’s your bag. When it comes to upcycled clothing I really like the items made by from discarded tents and camping gear by Attention Attire, and the reworked garments by Re.cut (see photo)
When it comes to accessories you have the lovely Cork based Mamukko. upcycles sails, life rafts, leather and other textiles into hold-alls in their workshop in Kinsale, Ireland.
And The Upcycled Movement in Wexford who make bags and other accessories from post-consumer wetsuits and other materials.
You couldn’t help but fall in love with the gorgeous Patchwork pal toys from the social enterprise We Make Good. They’re made from offcuts of Foxford Blankets. I think Hippo is my fav but don’t tell the others!
On Instagram I’m being treated to image after image of beautiful handmade wreaths, some more sustainable than others. Flower Farmers of Ireland is a great place to find wreaths made with locally sourced flowers like this one from The Flower Field in Co Wicklow.
If essential oils are your thing Kotanical sell a peppermint one that’s distilled in Ireland and Wexford Lavender farm have an organic lavender essential oil that’s been distilled on the farm the flower is grown on. The same company also sells lavender flowers, in bunches or in small packets for use in baking.
I adore the beautiful glassware made from post-consumer waste glass by Dublin based Glint Glass studio make.
And if you’re looking for something delicious to team with beautiful upcycled glassware I’d recommend certified organic Irish whiskey made from Irish grown barley by Waterford Whiskey. My husband has kindly tested this and give it a big thumbs up.
But if grain ‘aint your thing fear not. How about wine made from Irish berries from Wicklow Way Wines!
Or maybe you’d prefer a merlot from grapes grown in Lusk, Co Dublin.
Or award-winning apple and pear cider, apple port or apple ice wine from the 200-year-old Killahora Orchards in Cork.
Lastly, but by no means least, I offer you beer made from Irish grown hops from the Wicklow Wolf brewing company.
I know the material used in these wildlife letters by wildlife illustrator Aga Grandowicz isn’t technically local but the bulk of the ‘value’ is Irish, so I’m including it anyway.
I love, love, love papercraft and now with these Irish made Paper Pet Shop kits everyone can join in the fun. You can buy the kits from their Etsy store or Jiminy
Something that is on my own personal shopping list is this uber cute DIY pop-up card kit. Not only is it adorable, it’s really well priced too with 6 handmade cards for €12
Johnny Magory books are written, designed, illustrated, edited and printed in Ireland, and are a fun way to inform children about culture, heritage and wildlife. Also a percentage of their sales goes to the Children Medical Research Foundation in Crumlin hospital. You can buy from their website, the Kilkenny Shop or Jiminy
Gosling Games make their Irish heritage, culture and wildlife games and puzzles in Ireland. They can be bought directly from their website or from one of the many stockists listed on their website.
Brookfield Farm made beeswax candles from wax harvested from their own hives in Tipperary. They also sell salves, balm and furniture polish made from the wax too.
In Ennis Herbs and Candles make beeswax candles made from locally sourced and herbs.
Next is Killarney Candle Makers use rapeseed oil grown on their own farm to make their candles in Ireland
I know I’m totally biased but in my opinion one of the most stunning purchases you can make in your life is a handwoven basket made from Irish grown willow. The following makers grown their own willow or source it in Ireland
- Saille Baskets – Cork
- Cleas Crafts – Inis Oirr
- Ciaran Hogan – Galway
- Sara Jenkins – Connemara
- Kathleen McCormick – Meath
- Hanna Vanaelst – Tipperary
- Wicklow Willow – Wicklow
- Happy Jack’s Market Garden – Roscommon
These handmade balancing wooden blocks are made by Wild Child Toys from offcuts from a joinery company. The makers also plant one tree planted for every set sold.
Another gorgeous wooden toy made from Irish wood (except for wheels) are the uber cute wooden cars, tractors and trucks from Jiminy
If you’ve a foodie in your life perhaps a chopping board from one of these makers is more appropriate
- Ballyshane in Carlow, who use locally sourced Irish Hardwoods.
- Bunbury in Carlow, who make pieces from timber felled on the Lisnavagh Estate.
- Grant Designs in Dublin, who make art and chopping boards from offcuts of timber from the joinery industry.
- Anú Wooden Crafts Killarney, who use locally sourced timber to make chopping boards and bowls and Christmas decorations
of if chopping boards don’t tick the box how about these stunning pepper and salt mills by Matt Jones in Sligo
Maybe you want to get out of the kitchen completely with phone docking stations or soap dishes made from locally sourced timber by Wild Atlantic Wood
Perhaps a cosy pair of feet are in order. If so Aiga Tone in Galway handcrafts felt slippers from Irish sheep and alpaca wool with a leather sole.
If the loved one in your life is a knitter they may appreciate some locally raised wool. We’ve a few sources for this in Ireland including;
- Iona Wool offer 100% single source Iona yarn that is sorted, washed and spun on the island of Iona
- Cushendale Mills sells 100% pure wool yarn, source from Irish sheep farmers.
- Hushabye Alpaca Farm spin some of their Alpaca fleece into yarn every year.
- Yarn Vibes produce yarn from 100% Irish wool.
- Studio Donegal has two ranges that use Irish wool. Irish Heather is a 3 ply Aran weight yarn that contains 60% Irish wool, and homespun multi-colour is a two ply Aran weight made in-house with 90% Irish wool. You can buy their yarn from their website and in post-corona times in their shop in Donegal or in the Donegal Shop in Dublin 2.
What could be nicer facing into the long winter nights than a beautiful handwoven blanket made with Irish wool like this one from Studio Donegal have a range of.
For further inspiration check out my previous Sustainable Christmas Gift guides. I’ve checked all the links and apart from workshops they’re all current.
- Sustainable Ethical Gift Guide (2019)
- Sustainable Ethical Gift Guide (2018)
- Sustainable Ethical Gift Guide (2017)
Thanks for reading and have happy sustainable shopping. You can catch up with me on Facebook and Instagram between now and next week’s newsletter.