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Although Mother’s Day doesn’t take place until May here in the States, Irish Mother’s Day takes place this Sunday March 26th! So if you have any family or friends over there on the Emerald Isle - make sure you remind them - all the Mammies out there will appreciate it! Haha! We’ve created a list of some special Irish made gifts that will show your Mam just how much you appreciate her! Let’s get started!
We’ll start off with this fabulous Celtic Knot Necklace and matching Earrings! Crafted in Co.Dublin by JMH Jewelry using the finest sterling silver. Each item is hallmarked in Dublin Castle and placed in a beautiful gift box - ideal for giving to your Mam! There are loads of great designs so find one perfect for her here!
If she’s mad about style, then these gorgeous Herringbone Ponchos are for her! Crafted using 70% Lambswool for that extra warmth and durability. Features two stylish buckles on the shoulder and a lovely collar. Available in both cream and black! Made in Co.Louth by Branigan Weavers!
These lovely Forgotten China pendants and earrings are my favourite! Each piece is totally unique! Handcrafted using repurposed plates and cups, these beautiful china pieces will not be staying in the cupboard! Available in a range of designs, you can see them here. Handmade in Co.Dublin!
And if there’s one thing your Mother deserves, it’s a day off! Why not get her everything she needs to spend the day pampering herself! The Handmade Soap Co. makes everything from hand soap to candles to body lotion and more! Made in Co.Meath, Ireland! Oh, and by the way - these handmade soaps and creams smell AMAZING!!! So fresh and revitalising - not to mention 99.7% natural!
After having a soak in the bath with her new candles and soaps, let her put her feet up for the night, wrap up warm and watch a great movie (with a glass of wine of course)! Our new McNutt blankets will be just perfect for that! Available in beautiful colours, these blankets and throws are crafted in Co.Donegal using 100% Pure New Wool! So soft and so durable!
I hope this helps you to spoil your lovely mother! Happy Mother’s Day to all the great Moms out there!
So you’re thinking about visiting Ireland? Good choice! I’ve drawn up a rough plan of a route you could take around the country - hitting all of my favourite spots along the way. For the sake of argument, I’ve made this a 10 day plan, of course, you can spend more time in some places than others but this should give you a rough idea! Remember, driving from Dublin (on the east coast) to Galway (on the west) takes only 2.5 hours so 10 days gives you a good amount of time to see all of the ‘must- see’s ! (I also write this with the assumption that you'll be flying into Dublin. If not, you can just change your starting point and still reach each of these places.)
I would definitely stay at least 3 days in and around Dublin. There's a huge amount to see there. My #1 for Dublin would be the Guinness Storehouse. It's absolutely amazing and ends with a complimentary pint of the black shtuff that you can enjoy in the 360 bar; a large circular glass room giving you a 360 degree view of the entire city. It's absolutely unbelievable! Tickets are usually available at the door but it’s no harm to book your tickets before hand.
Kilmainham Gaol (Jail) is also in Dublin. This will definitely require tickets being booked in advance. The prison is a huge part of Irish history and the tour is very moving. It’s very interesting. If you’d like more information about the Gaol, we have a blog with information from a recent trip! You can find it here!
Trinity College is located in the heart of Dublin and is a beautiful old building that you can walk around. It also houses the Book of Cells and the Trinity College Library which are both well worth a look.
Besides that, there is plenty more to see around Dublin including the GPO (General Post Office - very historic), Grafton Street, the Spire and much much more. About 45 mins North of Dublin, is Newgrange - a huge Neolithic building. The architecture is stunning. It's a really amazing structure that was built around 3200 BC!
3 days should be enough to see Dublin and the surrounding area and of course, you can break that up into a few days when you arrive and a few at the end before you fly out if you wish!
I would then consider driving South West towards Kerry. You could stop off in Cork along the way - it's a beautiful city. You could spend a day there or at least an afternoon before heading to your hotel or B&B in Kerry.
Kerry (and the surrounding area) is full of beautiful sites such as:
Killarney National Park: This area of land is just stunning. Full of lovely walks through the forests, hills and mountains. You can see all of the lovely flora and fauna. It's really something special.
The Ring of Kerry: This is a very famous and scenic drive around the Iveragh Peninsula. It's 179km-long so you probably won't be able to do all of it, but you can use it on your way to see Kerry's other sites. It'll take you along the cliffs and seaside villages.
Skellig Michael: An unbelievable island off the coast of Kerry! Star Wars was recently shot there due to it's unusual little stone huts and jagged surface. It was once a monastery in the 8th century but it's now preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This will definitely require booking tickets in advance!
I would then head North towards Galway along the coast of Clare! You'll get to stop along the way to see the Cliffs of Moher. I can't really describe the cliffs - they're simply amazing and probably my #1 favourite spot in Ireland. Just incredible and on your way.
I would spend the next few days in Galway and the surrounding areas. Galway itself is very cute - the quintessential Irish town full of great pubs and live music. You'll find great pubs and live music everywhere of course but Galway is special and is located on a beautiful bay. You could take a day trip out into Connemara which is a large valley full of beautiful sights: river, lakes, waterfalls, flora and fauna. Connemara is very close to where I'm from! Connemara is also home to Kylemore Abbey, a huge castle/monastery that is built at the base of a hill surrounded by gorgeous lakes and rivers. You could take a tour - it's lovely!
By this time, you can start heading back towards Dublin. Like I said, the journey only takes 2.5 hours so it's no huge deal. Here's a rough outline of the journey!
I hope this helps and always feel free to contact us if you have any questions - we’re always happy to help!Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Last Thursday night, myself and himself had the great pleasure of attending the 18th Annual Chicago Irish Film Festival. I had been excited for the event for a long time as I watched it approach - and let me tell you, the festival did not disappoint!! The place was buzzing! Such a great atmosphere, great company and a great film! Let me tell you all about it!
We arrived at the Gallery Theatre in Chicago and were greeted by the big screen and theatre seating. The venue was great and decorated with beautiful art pieces. We immediately met with Jude Blackburn, the Director of the Chicago Irish Film Festival. She was so welcoming and lovely- it was a pleasure to finally put a face to the name! Not too long after that, we were all seated and ready for the main event!
We watched two amazing films created by Irish filmmakers. The first was a short animated film called ‘Buoy’ about a wee lad who dropped his telescope over the edge of a fishing boat and jumped over the edge to try to rescue it! The film was beautifully made using techniques of animation that I had never seen before. It was short and so so sweet! You can watch 'Buoy' here!
The next film, ‘Atlantic’, was directed by Risteard O’Domhnaill and narrated by Brendan Gleeson. The film follows the lives and challenges of three Atlantic fishing communities on the coasts of Ireland, Norway and Newfoundland. The docufilm follows these villages as they struggle to maintain their way of life in the face of mounting economic and ecological challenges compounded by the presence of powerful multinational corporations that threaten to carve up the ocean’s resources for their own benefits. They film was very powerful and educational. Being from Mayo (on the west coast of Ireland), I had no idea that the fishing communities, so close to home, were struggling so much. I would absolutely recommend giving it a watch! You can find out more about 'Atlantic' here!
After the film, there was a brief Q&A with some of the filmmakers involved in ‘Atlantic’. It was so interesting to hear their perspectives and to dive into some of their creative processes as they made this masterpiece! The festival continued over the weekend and I’ve no doubt that each night was more moving and powerful than the last! Chicago Irish Film Festival has been alive and well for 18 years. Long may it continue! A huge thanks to Jude Blackburn for letting us be apart of this celebration of Irish film! We had such a great time at the Chicago Irish Film Festival.
Go raibh míle maith agat.