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Blankets & Throws: Wrapped up in Woolly Warmth.

You’ve just come in from work or wherever. Stick on the kettle there.. Is there anything on telly? Put up your feet and relax yourself. Today’s been a long day. It’s time to get comfortable and zone out in front of your favourite movie. But you know what would make this so much better? No, not wine… although, yes actually, wine too - but I was thinking more along the lines of a really warm and cozy blanket! So you get the bottle, I’ll fetch the 100% Irish wool blanket!


The truth is, there’s nothing better than being wrapped up all warm in a blanket in bed or on the couch. Or even just having one thrown over your lap; they’re great! Throws and blankets also make for a great statement piece for your living room or bedroom. Thrown over the arm of a chair or at the end of a bed; the perfect finishing touch to any room. All of our blankets are made in Ireland from the highest quality wools! Here are a few of my favourites:


      

This multi colored Irish plaid throw! Full of colour and so soft, it would make a great addition to any room. Made from 70% Mohair and 30% Wool, this blanket is as light and warm as can be - did I mention it’s really soft?! Ideal for adding that pop of colour to any room. This throw measures 54"x72" and is crafted in Co.Tipperary.

    

Going somewhere? Maybe a long car ride or even simply to the park for a picnic - this tartan travel blanket is for you! Measuring 58” by 75” and made from 100% Merino Lambswool, this wool blanket is soft and so durable. It is perfect for lounging on or wrapping yourself up in, ready for the long haul! Made in Kerry, by Kerry Woollen Mills.

      

Crafted using 100% Merino wool, this wool throw is the perfect addition to any setting. With it’s beautiful check design, this throw is very subtle and yet, makes the room a much more homely, comfortable looking place. This wool throw measures 55 1/8” by 70 7/8” including the fringe. Crafted in Co.Mayo (aka home) by Foxford Woollen Mills who have been in production since 1892!

   

Available in three stunning designs, this Lambswool throw can be added to any colour scheme. Crafted using 100% Lambswool, this throw is so very soft and warm as well as incredibly durable! They measure approximately 56 x 67 inches with 3 inches of fringe on either side.The lambswool throw is made in Co. Tipperary, Ireland by John Hanly & Co. John Hanly & Co. was established in 1893.

And don’t forget we also have this ‘Woolly Wash’ detergent made by Kerry Woollen Mills with the specific job of looking after your wool goods! Fear the washing machine no more as your wool can now stay soft and durable! This is just glimpse of our large range of blankets and throws. Find many more here.

PS: Great Gift Idea: Valentines Day is coming up - Get your someone special a high quality Irish blanket or throw to wrap up in - maybe one big enough for two! Movie nights just became so much cozier!

Sláinte.

The Irish Adventure Continues: Kilmainham Gaol

This week, the Irish adventure continues for Ward, Mary and the family. On New Year’s day, they all set off for Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin. For those of you who don’t know, Kilmainham Gaol (pronounced ‘jail’) is one of the oldest prisons in Ireland. It was built in 1796. Many public hangings took place in front of the prison but by the 1820’s, very few hangings were taking place publicly. There was a cell inside for that job. There was no segregation of prisoners; men, women and children were incarcerated up to 5 in each cell, with only a single candle for light and heat. Most of their time was spent in the cold and the dark, and each candle had to last for two weeks. The cells were roughly 28 square meters in area. Kilmainham Gaol is most famous for it’s role in the 1916 Easter Rising - a rebellion with the aim of freeing Ireland from British rule. The main leaders of this rebellion were caught and incarcerated here before being executed by firing squad in the courtyard of the jail. Leaders executed included Padraig (Patrick) Pearse, Constance Markievicz, James Connelly, Thomas Clarke and Joseph Plunkett. Today the building symbolizes the tradition of militant and constitutional nationalism from the rebellion of 1798 to the Irish Civil War of 1922-23.

So anyway, Ward, Mary and the family explored the prison on New Year’s day (quite a feat if I do say so myself - getting up early to take in something like that after Irish New Years? Fair play to them!) Here are some pictures from their tour…


       

 This is the main area of the prison from which all the cells are off. Each prisoner would have passed all of their fellow rebels on his or her way to the firing squad.

 

 

The courtyard in which the many of the Leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising met their fate by firing squad.

     
Inside a cell, along with a mural of the Virgin Mary and child painted on the wall of Grace Gifford’s cell. (She was Joseph Plunkett’s wife and another driving force in the rebellion - executed at Kilmainham Gaol not too long after her husband.)

The Proclamation of Irish Independence that was read in the GPO (General Post Office) in Dublin at the beginning of the Easter Rising.

There is so much history in this building as it serves as a very popular spot to truly understand the fate of those who stood for Irish freedom. Well worth a visit if you ever find yourself in Dublin. Be sure to book your tickets in advance as the prison is often booked solid - even on New Year's Day.

I will leave you with a letter written by Joseph Plunkett to his love Grace the day he was captured and brought to Kilmainham Gaol. They were engaged at the time. A few days later, when Grace found out that Joseph was to be executed - she brought a ring and priest to the jail. They were married in the jail on the night of May 3rd. The following morning at dawn Joseph was executed.

The Perfect Pint - Our Trip to the Guinness Storehouse

Could have been the Green Bay Packers knit cap that screamed "American tourist" that Ward was wearing as we entered the Guinness Storehouse. We were quietly approached by an employee who asked if we would be interested in participating in a new tour they were testing. A bit suspicious as to what type of time share scam we were submitting ourselves to, he convinced us by promising a private taste tests of 3 types of Guinness. Okay. Entering the Storehouse is a bit like a Galleria of Guinness. An open concept, round seven stories that mimic a pint glass. 
   
         
  
We gathered with a few other chosen ones and were quickly off to begin our Guinness academy. Our guide expertly explained the production, distribution and advertising of the black gold made more than a decade before the US was founded. The marketing was very interesting starting with the first market research indicating that people really thought Guinness was good for them. The consumer statements wouldn't pass FDA guidelines today. There were also some unique efforts at targeted marketing for women or usage occasions such as serving Guinness with seafood.  We also learned that the Guinness Book of World Records was basically created to have fun facts for bartenders to use to entertain patrons at the bar.  An early version of Bar Trivia Nights!
           
Finishing the historical bits we were ushered into a private tasting room. We were taught to swirl, smell, big mouthful, savor, swallow and exhale. Beer yoga I was thinking. Fabulous. And I don't even like Guinness. The second tasting was a carbonated version (XX) of the first which is nitrogenated. The third was a stronger West Indies Porter sold in many different countries. I still preferred the original.
 After the tasting our guide slash bartender called us to the bar set-up in the room and explained pulling the perfect pint. Tip the glass, fill to the bottom of the harp, straighten the glass filling to the top of the harp. Then the waiting occurs. The settling of the Guinness or "surge" as it's called.  119 seconds while remembering the phrase good things come to those who wait. Top off the beer to the rim. We were ready to give it a try.  
               
Each of us then poured the perfect pint with our two adult children first at the taps. (More info and visuals available here.)  As we drank from our perfectly pulled pint glasses we were each given a certificate to validate our new skill. We filled out a brief survey about the tour and were ushered up to the Gravity Bar to finish our pints and enjoy the amazing views of Dublin. A fabulous tour, a converted customer, and good memories with our kids.
Slainte!!
PS. If you want to learn how to pull the perfect pint of Guinness at home, check out our 'Perfect Pour Pack' and the rest of our Official Guinness Products on BiddyMurphy.com
Biddy Murphy
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BiddyMurphy.com is a global online retailer for beautifully handcrafted Celtic gifts. We work with a variety of Irish artisans to source meaningful jewelry, clothing, and home goods that make special Irish gifts for all occasions. Some of our best sellers include Celtic Crosses, Trinity Knot necklaces, Guinness merchandise, blessings for the home, and gorgeous Irish caps, sweaters, scarves and blankets. Shop those hard to find Confirmation, First Communion, and Holiday gifts!

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