Guest Author - Mary Ellen Sweeney
Don't Go Home Without One
Ireland is indeed a beautiful place to vacation. That has not changed with the Celtic Tiger and the European Union. It's just that now there is more...bounty. And with the bounty comes higher prices. It's no fun to fritter one's money on trifles; and there are sure to be many. While there are still many great values to be found, it's the little trinkets that will eat up your savings. Try to save your shopping for the genuine articles, like:
A piece of Claddagh jewelry is something you will wear forever and a wonderful reminder of your trip to Ireland. You can find the design in the form of jewelry and housewares, and it is readily available throughout Ireland.
In jewelry, depending on whether you want gold or silver, look for hallmarks or silver registry. Inspect rings and brooches for flaws and metal breaks. Look also for rounded edges. Cheaply made jewelry can have little burrs that will snag your clothes and cause untold aggravation.
Click on image to visit ShopIrish.
The Claddagh design originated in Galway. Early examples of the ring date to the 1700s and link the ring to the ancient fishing village of Claddagh just outside of the City of Galway.
Aran sweaters were originally made by the wives and mothers of fishermen from the Aran Islands. Each family had its own stitch which made it easier to identify fishermen lost at sea.
The sweaters are worn by people throughout Ireland and are one of the most recognized images of the country. Handmade ones are authentic and last forever, but are quite expensive.
The Aran sweater is warm and practically waterproof, a feature that is well appreciated in the changeable weather of Ireland. 100 percent wool sweaters must be cared for properly, washed in wool detergent and cold water and dried flat, or better, dry-cleaned.
Ireland has several crystal factories throughout the country, but the most well known is Waterford Crystal.
Known the world over for its fine crystal, Waterford has adorned many famous tables and galleries along with providing the crystal ball which falls in Times Square each New Year's Eve.
Among the other crystal factories are: Cavan, Galway, and Tipperary.
Irish Whiskey is strong, flavorful and has a unique taste. It's a great gift to bring home.
The most recognizable brands are Paddy, Powers, Jameson, Bushmills and Tullamore Dew.
The Irish love their pottery, and it can be seen in the many pottery studios
and factories that dot Ireland.
When you purchase pieces from the famous Belleek and Royal Tara makers, you
won't be disappointed in the choices or quality of pottery available. It is well worth your time to schedule tours of the pottery or crystal factories. There are always little shops at the factories and great values to be had there. There are hundreds of small potters in Ireland.
Bring home a piece or two for your cabinet or as a reminder of your trip.
Remember to only purchase items which say "Made in Ireland". Many of the souvenirs available are imported from China and other parts of Asia and Europe, so careful inspection is required.
Celtic Gifts - The Premier web site for Celtic Gifts, Jewelry and other items.
While in Ireland, there's no sense getting lost. Visit Stanford's before you go to get the best maps and tour guides available.