So in a little bit I will be leaving for my two-week trip to Ireland. I have family and friends here that I would love to bring back a little something for. Nothing large or expensive, as they are happy just for the thought, but still something definately "Irish". I'm trying to stay away from anything that has a leprechaun, four-leaf clover, the words "whiskey" "or "guinness" or anything else that screams stereotype. There is so much more to the country than that, but am clueless as to what I should look for that would really represents the country well. Any ideas or suggestions? Thanks!!
I can think of a few items. How about: knit wear, especially hand knitted, a wee bottle of Jameson or some other whiskey, a piece of hand thrown pottery, handmade soaps. If you are in Dingle and go along the Slea Head Drive there was a man there recently selling zodiac medallions painted onto beach rocks. Once, while on vacation, I picked up rock and brought it back to a friend. She was more pleased with this than the other purchased gift I gave her.
A few options come to mind. Book Marks. True, not specifically Irish but with a celtic cross design, a Book of Kells illumination, or simply a photo of green rolling hills, the recipient would have a peek of things Irish. Not to mention easy on the wallet, practical, as well as effortless to pack. Woolen scarfs. A CD of a local irish band than you hear in a pub. Jewelry pieces with the Celtic Cross. If you packed a poster tube you could look for posters of hurling, rugby or soccer to bring back to your sports fan colleagues. A James Joyce T-shirt. Lastly, if any of your friends are Irish you could find something with their family crest to bring back to them. Great country. Enjoy your time there.
We brought back a good amount of hand crocheted lace- small pieces that made perfect Christmas ornaments- or like mentioned above, bookmarks. For our moms we also got some lace place mats. We actually liked some of the shamrock motiffs we saw and brought back a few minture china plates and small china bells - I even bought an enameled broach with a shamrock cluster that I really enjoy. Celtic jewelery made of pewter is not expensive at all and you can also find enameled celtic designs. There is good pottery, excellent crystal (though that can get expensive) and china. Knitted or chrocheted items of clothing or scarves or embroderied or cut work linens- table runners, pillow cases, place mats, sheets, etc. You will also find crosses of all types and sizes from St. Bride's and St. Briget's made from hay straw, to lovely intricate earrings or necklaces or broaches, even wall plaques, in the celtic mode. We also like to bring home small art pieces done by local artists- I have a small fridge magnet and a lovely small watercolor from Scotland- but saw plenty in Ireland, too. there are also small imitations of the ogam stones (acient rune type of writing found on pre-celtic stones)that make nice desk pieces or paper weights. And Irish cookbooks (or recipes on tea towels,calendars, etc.) make nice gifts. You'll have plenty to choose from without going overboard on the stereotypes.
I always buy Blarney Woollen Mills' lavender soap and their lavender bath salts.
Belleek - I think it's actually pottery, but it looks like fine porcelain. And I wouldn't care if it had a shamrock or two on it.
Lovely, quality sweaters, scarves, other knitted wear. Celtic cross necklaces or brooches.
Belleek is lovely, but fragile- pack it well.