Run out of time to buy a present online? Here are 5 sustainable Irish craft gifts you can pick up right now
19th Dec 2019
Our round-up of the best sustainable Irish gifts and the homegrown makers who are setting the Irish craft bar high.
So you’ve been humming and hawing about buying a present online, but you’ve just realised that, factoring in delivery times, you won’t get it in time for Christmas. Rather than look at this as a problem, take this as an opportunity to #buyIrish. There are so many wonderful Irish makers out there, whose pottery, jewellery, textiles and beauty buys would make for the perfect present.
Not only would you be supporting creative Irish businesses, but these gifts also come with a much smaller environmental footprint then massed-produced options that are shipped all over the world. Sustainability has been the word of 2019 and as we edge towards the most commercial end of the year, we should be more conscious than ever of how and what we buy as gifts.
So, before you start wrapping everything in that non-plastic-coated festive paper (foil, glitter and plastic-coated wrapping is not recyclable) here are a few Irish makers you should know about ahead of 2020 and our picks from their collections.
There is ample homegrown jewellery talent on display in Kilkenny shops around the country, but Juvi has to be one of our favourite. Founded in 2007 by silversmith Vincent Tynan and designer Julie Danz, they make each of their earrings, bracelets and necklaces in their Dundalk workshop. Inspired by their travels, their designs have a natural, yet refined look that captures both the essence of home and the shores of some exotic coast. Juvi also has serious sustainability credit, with all of its silver and gold recycled from jewellery, giftware and electronic industries.
While each delicate collection features a range of colourful gemstones, for gift-giving it’s always best to keep it simple. We love this gorgeous starry bracelet. You Are My Shining Star gold bracelet, €79
Based in the Mayo village of Foxford, just south of Ballina, Foxford Woollen Mills was established in 1892 to use the River Moy’s quick waters to power the mill. Technology has movedo n since then, but so has Foxford and it has been a central part of Ireland’s manufacturing heritage for almost 130 years.
Made from extra fine merino wool, these scarves, like everything in Foxford, are spun by Foxford’s 30 craftspeople in their Mayo workshop. Extra snuggly and wide enough to wrap around yourself on a chilly day, this muted scarf would make a lovely gift that will probably be worn immediately. Foxford dark green merino stole, €80
The Nature of Things
Perfumes and candles can come with a lot of added chemical and toxins, so if you’re conscious of keeping the air in your home as clean as possible while also smelling delightful, it’s best to simplify your ingredients. Look for candles made of beeswax and natural essential oils, like Rathbornes Candles.
If you have smallies or simply don’t want an open flame, pure essential oils are an excellent alternative. With holistic qualities as well as warming aromas, Irish brand The Nature of Things, based in the Chocolate Factory, make a wide selection of pure essential oils.
Set up by Frenchman Benoit Nicol, these oils are incredibly high-quality, their aromatic qualities lasting for days at a time. Add a few drops to a cotton ball soaked in hot water or a diffuser to maximise potency. You can even mix and match oils to create a personalised scent. Peppermint is a great starter-buy, as its not only fresh and familiar, it works great in a bathroom, kitchen or bedroom, and even with a dash or two across the wrists as a perfume. Peppermint essential oil, €10
In December, more than any other time of the year, you notice the ubiquity of poorly made plastic toys. Small, flimsy pieces that probably won’t even make it to New Year’s Day never mind get handed down to future siblings and cousins.
Investing in high-quality wooden toys that don’t emit any any nasty toxins through glues or varnishes is really worthwhile. Not only will they keep your child happy and healthy regardless of how many times they’re are accidentally chewed, they’re also sturdy enough to be passed on once they’ve been outgrown. Plus, this little pull-a-long elephant is so cute you almost won’t mind tripping over it in the hall. Almost. Wilde & Wolfe Elephant pull toy, €24
A qualified reflexologist, Carlow-based Jo Browne has been making eco-friendly solid perfumes since 2013. However, the brand’s cult hit was the facial cleansing balm, made from soothing Camellia oil. Coming in a bamboo tub that’s not only sustainably sourced but bamboo is also anti-microbial, anti-fungal, hypoallergenic and odour-resistant. Which is why the balm also comes with an eco bamboo facecloth that’s kind on your skin. A thoughtful, luxury gift that also happens to be Irish and sustainable. Win-win-win. Face balm and cloth set, €42
Kilkenny Shop is at the forefront of Irish design, thanks to its determination to unearth, support and promote Irish makers across the country. Visit them online at kilkennyshop.com or any of its shops in Kilkenny, Cork, Galway, Clare, Kildare, Meath, Tipperary, Wicklow and Dublin.
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