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10 Unique Irish Gifts To Give Your Loved Ones

[sc:corkcity_300 ] People always ask me for ideas about what they can bring back from Ireland for a loved one, particularly for things that I would describe as unique Irish gifts. Of course, what you end up buying/giving is a very personal decision, and finding the right gift can depend greatly on the person you're buying it for. People's tastes differ greatly, but it shouldn't be too difficult finding something uniquely-Irish for that special someone in your life. The list below is a good start for some ideas (read the comments below too). Keep in mind, you don't necessarily have to go to Ireland to pick up a lot of these items. Most can probably be bought online. You can even save on some luggage space by buying, and shipping, ahead of time. And with all these airline baggage fees lately, that may be a smart move!

Unique Irish Gifts

1. I'm going to start off with jewelry. You can't get much more Irish than a beautiful Claddagh Ring. The Claddagh Ring is a traditional Irish ring given as a token of friendship, love, or marriage and is suitable to all ages and genders. The ring is made up of two hands holding a heart. Some designs include a crown mounted on the heart. These rings can vary greatly in price depending on the materials. Some are just the bare bones sterling silver, while other more expensive versions of the ring can include a heart shaped diamond as the centerpiece of a gold or platinum ring. I personally have given, as well as received, Claddagh Rings.

Claddagh Ring,unique irish gifts

Claddagh Ring

2. For the sports lover in your life, you could pick up a handcrafted Hurley, the wooden stick used in the Gaelic game of Hurling. Hurling is one of the national sports of Ireland and some form of it has been played in Ireland since ancient times. A decorative Hurley looks really well mounted on a living room wall, or of course you could pick up a few of these and have, what the Irish call, a "puck around". Make sure to include a sliotar (the ball used in hurling) as part of your gift.

3. The Certificate of Irish Heritage has become a very popular item with the extended Irish community in the last year or so. Many people looking to connect with their Irish roots have bought one to display in their homes, or to give as a gift. I think they start somewhere around US$55, and go up in price depending on whether you want it framed or not. There's a few different designs to choose from, and they'll ship it to you wherever you live.

4. A number of years back a guy came up with this crazy, yet successful, idea of bagging up Irish dirt and selling it to tourists and online shoppers. It seems like their business has had fairly decent success, and they now ship the Official Irish Dirt all over the United States and Canada. Everyone can now own a piece of Ireland 🙂

5. More very unique Irish gifts, this time in the form of Aran Sweaters, and Traditional Patch Caps (Paddy Hats). These are 2 of the most sought after pieces of Irish clothing by tourists visiting Ireland. Places like Blarney Woolen Mills thrive on the business that this kind of attire generates. Aran Sweaters, and those caps, are still commonly worn in Ireland, especially in the rural areas.

[sc:corkcity_300_b ] 6. You might be able to run down to your local store and pick up a bottle of well known Irish Whiskey quite easily, but why not treat the whiskey connoisseur in your life to something a little more special. Ireland produces some of the best whiskeys in the world, but many don't attain the heights of glory as the likes of Jameson. A few suggestions of what you could bring back from your trip include: Connemara Peated Irish Whiskey, Tullamore Dew 12 Year Old, Midleton Very Rare and Kilbeggan 18 Year Old Irish Whiskey.

7. Ireland also produces some very fine food items. These might be a little harder to bring back from a trip due to refrigeration needs, expiration dates etc, but you can still find a few food items to share with friends and family on your return. Irish Soda Bread, Ballymaloe Relish and many brands of Irish Cheese spring to mind. And for the tea drinkers we have some very fine teas, my favorite being my own hometown's Barry's Gold Blend.

8. Music plays a very significant part in the daily lives of Irish people. Modern pop music is of course the dominant genre these days, especially with the younger generation, but there is still a very strong following of traditional Irish music, or Trad, as we call it in Ireland. A few instruments that make up the unmistakable sound of Irish music include the Bodhran, Spoons, Tin Whistles and Fiddles. Many of these make great ornamental gifts, or can of course be used by the musician in your life to make beautiful Irish music.

Bodhran

Bodhran

9. Waterford and Galway Crystal have long been firm favorites with tourists visiting Ireland. In fact you can easily buy their pieces online too, and I've even seen Waterford Crystal stores in the United States.
Belleek China is another big hitter. They make some very fine tableware as well as other beautiful items for your home such as picture frames, candle holders and statues.

10. And finally for your very favorite book lover! Ireland has some of the very best writers that the world has produced. W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde and Jonathan Swift are the first that spring to my mind. Why not pop into a local bookstore and search for Irish writers. Alternatively you could shop for Irish writers on Amazon.com

***UPDATE***
I recently got some feedback from visitors to Ireland. I asked them for their Irish souvenir ideas, and you can see what they said in this brand new post. I really love what they had to say.

image credits: Claddagh Ring, Aran Sweater, Bodhran

12 comments

  1. Hi Liam,
    Now you are entering ground I know well, you did a nice job narrowing the choices down, I suppose it depends on who is the buyer, Irish born or Irish descendent. I still have people asking me to get them a descent cap. One of my favorite Irish crystal companies is Irish Heritage in Bilberry, Waterford. , i’m off to see Niamh Parsons in june and the IvyLeaf of Boston (Trad band)in the end of may.
    Cheers,
    Brian

    • Hi Brian

      I’ve never heard of that crystal company you mention. I must look them up.
      Enjoy the 2 shows you’re heading off to. It’s nice to have a few events lined up. Takes the sting out of the grind 🙂
      Thanks as always for stopping by, and leaving your comments.
      Liam

  2. Irish linen (also from Blarney Woolen Mills) and his and her woolen scarves. Or a Claddagh necklace to match the rings that are so popular. I couldn’t decide between silver or yellow gold, so I got a ring in sterling silver and a necklace in gold. That way I have something to match the color of whatever else I’m wearing. Oooh, and we found beautiful Christmas ornaments when we went to Ireland. There are so many treasures in Ireland, for the eyes, for the ears, and the other senses.

    • Debby
      Just what I wanted to hear 🙂 I don’t know why I didn’t think of Irish linen. If you find the right type, it definitely is uniquely Irish.

      What kind of Christmas ornaments did you find? Was it Blarney also?
      Thanks

      Liam

  3. A few people on Facebook gave some more suggestions to add to the list of unique Irish gifts. Here’s what they had to offer:

    – Jerpoint Crystal – find it here http://www.jerpointglass.com
    – Donegal Pens – http://www.donegalpens.com/test/
    – Holden Leather in Dingle

    Great additions. Thanks guys.

  4. FunkyGibbo Irish Art is the creation of designers Veronica and Paul Gibson. Inspired by the richness of material found in Irish traditional music and Irish mythology, the result is a quirky collection of original cards and posters in some of the more subtle shades of green from the selection on offer. They not only serve as memorable keepsakes, but also provide the perfect gift for anyone with an appreciation of Irish culture.

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/FunkyGibbo?ref=si_shop

    Many thanks, Paul Gibson

  5. we are a small company in co cavan,we keep bees and make range of natural face and body creams from the beeswax, they make excellent gifts are natural and chemical free are ideal for babies as you cannot be allergic to them
    yours sincerly
    eugene farrelly

  6. A shillelagh! My sister has my grandfather’s and I’d love to have one of my own.

  7. If you are short on cash and/or luggage space, little packets of shamrock seeds make for a fun Irish gift…

  8. I would highly recommend gifts from the Burren Perfumery. http://www.burrenperfumery.com/

    “At the Perfumery we make perfumes, creams, balms, soaps using natural and organic ingredients. Everything is made on site, by hand, in small batches.”

    They have a lovely tea room as well. Definitely worth a visit!