My husband and I will be taking the "Best of Ireland" tour in September and we want to buy Aran Island sweaters. Where will we find the best selection, on Aran Island or in Galway? Are the prices better on the island or somewhere else? Thanks for your help.
Just a side note, because I don’t know about the prices, that are you will find a range of products called Aran Island Sweaters. The most expensive are those hand knit on the Aran Islands. Next are those knit in Ireland, not necessarily by hand, but using yarn and/or patterns from the Aran Islands. Finally, there are sweaters machine knit using traditional patterns in other countries.
When you are shopping and comparing prices, make sure you are also comparing quality and where the sweater was made.
When we did Ireland my wife bought her sweater in Dingle and it was made in Ireland and of Aran wool but wasn't made on the the island. The sweaters on the island are more expensive but you also have the original article made there so it may be worth it.
Your going to love the Ireland tour, of all the countries we have visited in Europe Ireland was the most amazing and has a special place in our hearts.
I just realized I know the OP!! She and her husband were on the Paris tour with us, I wish Bonnie and I were going with you two, have a great trip!!!
You can find hand knitted sweaters all over Ireland. They don't have to be from the Aran Island. Blarney Woolen Mills sells nice ones. I have three--a cardigan and pull over in the traditional ivory yarn and another that is a gray with multicolored specks. My husband bought one in a shop in Kenmare. Many of them will have a label that shows the name of the knitter.
Just a small suggestion that we found very useful especially when packing light -- the Irish knit sweaters can be very bulky and take up a lot of precious suitcase room. I packed a couple of medium size packing cubes and zipped the sweaters into those -- it compresses them without causing harm and then takes up way less room.
We went to the Aran Sweater Market on Grafton street in Dublin and they had a nice selection of sweaters in different styles, colors, etc. As I recall most were made from merino wool from New Zealand. Prices weren't cheap but we're reasonable for an all will sweater. They have other stores in Ireland.
Here's their website
We bought ours from an Aran Island store in Killarney. Not sure which location will give you the better selection, although I would imagine it would be the one on Aran Island. If you buy from another store, be sure to check the labels so you know you're getting the real thing.
My guess is that the prices are pretty consistent throughout the "company" stores. You might want to look online so you can see what you'd like and how the prices run there. You may find it easier to shop in one of the stores so you can try things on and see colors then order online when you get home. They will also ship directly to your home from the store. This was the option we used as we had 2 weeks left on our trip, and potentially would need the suitcase room (as someone else mentioned, they are bulky!). They were nice enough to delay the ship date so that we would be home to receive the package (may require signing for it). If I remember correctly, because everything was getting shipped out of country, there was no VAT charged.
I took the Best of Ireland tour several years ago and purchased a beautiful Aran Island sweater on Aran Island. The label is "An Pucan" and this label sweater can only be purchased at their two shops in Aran which are Kilronan and Kilmurvey(Dun Aengus). It was handmade there and they shipped it to me so I didn't have to carry it in my luggage. Great memories of the Aran Islands when I wear this sweater.
I went on the Best of Ireland tour last year and recommend buying your sweaters at the Aran Sweater Market in the Aran Islands. Like the person before me said, it was nice because if you spent $100 they would ship it home for you for free. I didn't have much room in my suitcase so that was nice. Also, a lot of the wool sweaters are super itchy. I ended up buying blankets at the market as I found some that were made of a much softer wool. You'll have a great time on your trip!
Or, you can save yourself a bunch of money (and time to do other things). End of season sale is going on now at www.aransweatermarket.com.
Thanks for all of your great advice. Yes, I know I can buy sweaters now, but I'd like to look at the patterns, colors and styles, Then try them on. I like to buy things from where they are made. Then every time I wear it, I recall wonderful memories of my trip to Ireland. I will be shopping at the Aran sweater market. We will be purchasing several sweaters, so will take advantage of the free shipping.
I found that the prices on Inishmore (Aran Island) and at the Aran Island sweater shop in Galway that a previous poster mentioned were fairly similar. But I just looked at those 2 places.
Make sure to buy some of the fabulous wool socks (especially if you live in a cold climate). You can sometimes find them discounted if you purchase 3 pairs. I bought some for myself and for souvenirs for family members. I ended up loving my wool socks so much I ordered some from their website- and paid TWICE as much for them due to shipping costs. I wish I remember the brand but mine are so soft, in muted rich colors and not itchy- plus warm and stylish to wear with leggings. Enjoy your trip! My husband and I went to Ireland last September and it was amazing. I planned the trip myself, but used the Rick Steves tour book for lots of great ideas!
About the free shipping--be careful you don't go over the duty limit or you will get a bill for shipping when you get home. We were not aware of the limit and bought several sweaters at the Aran Island Sweater Market back in 2015. The staff graciously offered to ship them to us, noting that shipping would probably be free but they couldn't guarantee that there wouldn't be a charge once they were delivered. Because we spent almost $250 (a bit over the duty-free limit at that time) we ended up with bill from DHL for import duty several weeks after they delivered the sweaters to us. So be sure and check the current limits.
Up to $1,600 in goods will be duty-free under your personal exemption if the merchandise is from an IP. Up to $800 in goods will be duty-free if it is from a CBI or Andean country. Any additional amount, up to $1,000, in goods will be dutiable at a flat rate (3%).
We took this tour summer of 2018 and loved it! I looked for sweaters all over before we went to Inishmore, ultimately deciding that I really wanted a handmade one from the island and that would be my only chance to purchase one. There are many shops, and many lovely sweaters. Decided on a color and price, then if you don't care if it truly comes from Inishmore, make your purchase whenever you see one you like. I had mine shipped home to clear up space in my luggage.
Enjoy your trip. Try the local favorite Gin & Tonic. You will not regret it!