10 Unique Irish Gifts To Give Your Loved Ones
People always ask me for ideas about what they can bring back from Ireland for a loved one. Of course this is a very personal choice, 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. Here’s a list of ideas that will get you started. 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!
Shop Claddagh Rings
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. Image credit
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 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. This website even allows you to have a picture burned on to the Hurley e.g. a family crest.
3. The Certificate of Irish Heritage has become a very popular item in the last year or so. Many people looking to connect with their Irish roots have bought one to display in their homes, or give as gifts. I think they start somewhere around US$55, and go up in price depending on whether you want it framed or not. Currently they offer 3 different designs and I’m pretty sure they ship worldwide.
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. Aran Sweaters, and Traditional Patch Caps (Paddy Hats), are 2 of the most sought after pieces of Irish clothing by tourists visiting Ireland. Places like Blarney Woolen Mills strive on the business that this kind of attire generates. Aran Sweaters are still commonly worn in Ireland, especially in the rural areas. I personally have never ventured towards buying one of the sweaters, but from time to time, I’ve been known to step out in a tweed cap.
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 it is called in Ireland. A few instruments that make up the unmistakable sound of Irish music include the Bodhran, the Spoons, the Tin Whistle and the Fiddle. Many of these make great ornamental gifts, or can of course be used by the musician in your life to make beautiful Irish music.
9. Waterford Crystal and Galway Crystal have long been firm favorites with the 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. It even seemed cheaper that what it may cost to buy it in Ireland. 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
Have you got any other ideas for gifts that are uniquely-Irish? Why not share them with us in the comments below.