MyIrelandBox - July 2019

The July MyIrelandBox curation was inspired by the sweet smell of baking from the old Irish cottage inside and the unique objects that were always found hanging on the wall or placed on the old dresser. The smell of a turf fire was always on our mind during the curation process and we could not resist the felt art of Pippa Sweeney in the form of this card that is perfect for framing.

…and of course we have the lovely Golden Shamrock prize to giveaway to someone special this month. We picked the name in a recent draw and the winner is Ayla from British Columbia who won beautiful earrings that were made by Skelligs Jewelry and of course inspired by the magnificent Skellig Rock.

Nicola Smyth from Big Red Kitchen

Baking this brings back two memories for Katharine here at MyIrelandBox – visiting her Gaelic speaking Grandfather’s cottage in Dingle where he would sit at his kitchen table mixing his bread mix and milk with his hands and then forming a round dough and putting it in to the oven. His cousin taught him how to make the bread and it was wonderful to see an older man that lived alone being so self-sufficient!

The next memory that this smell brings to life is when Katharine climbed Mount Brandon (Ireland’s second highest mountain in Ireland that we can see here from MyIrelandBox HQ) and she walked to her aunt’s house after her descent for a glass of water. A lady called Maureen was in the renovated pink Cottage and she whipped out of the oven the most delicious smelling soda bread and placed two slices in front of the tired hiker who had never tasted anything so nice in a long time. The memory lingers to this day.

Now, let us introduce you to the talented Nicola who started Big Red Kitchen as a hobby in 2010, after attending a local craft fair and seeing some homemade jams for sale. She fondly remembered collecting blackberries and making jam with her auntie as a child and decided that she would like to resume this hobby of hers. She began by attending a few local craft fairs and stocking her local café. What we love about this little cottage business is just that…it is not in the slightest bit taken by the lure of the big supermarkets who would love to stock Nicola’s products. Nicola understands what it means to be a cottage industry and she never wants to deviate from her principals. This is why it is so special that we sent subscribers this bread mix and jam. We have been baking this bread for months and we just look forward to it every morning slathered in real Irish butter and the delicious jam that Nicola makes to accompany it.

Island Turf Crafts

5000 years ago in Ireland the Great Elk wandered through the forests and mountains, it was a land of sweeping mists, gentle rain and soft sunlight. A Land of pagan carvings and mysterious rituals. A land where the soothing lilt of the harp floated over the cool, clear crystal lakes and rivers. It was the time of Cú Chulainn and Queen Maeve and the Red Branch Knights. This was, indeed the Celtic Twilight. Island Turf Crafts have captured the very essence of that era.

We were delighted to be able to bring this wonderful treasure from Ireland into subscriber’s homes in two forms, through this old Irish fireplace turf scented wax burner and this wonderful St Brigid’s Cross. Turf from the golden age has been excavated and processed to create this cross, carved from 5000 year old turf from some of Ireland’s oldest bog lands.

We have always been fascinated by the bogs of Ireland and when Katharine and Thomas lived in Dublin they frequently visited the National Museum of Ireland to see the exhibition, Kingship and Sacrifice. This exhibition the result of the findings of the Bog Bodies Research Project, which was established in 2003 following the discovery of two Iron Age bog bodies at Oldcroghan, Co. Offaly and Clonycavan, Co. Meath.

We have often seen the St Brigid’s Cross in old Irish homes, our grandfathers abode and those of older relatives here on the Dingle Peninsula. St Brigid was born in Dundalk in 450 AD, and she is accredited with first creating the unique cross which bears her name. The cross is thought to keep evil, fire and hunger from the homes in which it is displayed.

We have ours displayed at the front door of MyIrelandBox HQ and family members in Spain and Canada have theirs hanging proudly in their homes, as our ancestors did.

Pippa Sweeney Designs – Dungarvan County Waterford

Another treasures from Pippa Sweeney! Her original felt pieces of art are just beautiful to see. One immediately appreciates the talent, the passion and the attention to detail in each piece. Working from her studio at The Beach House in Dungarvan, County Waterford, Pippa creates her needle-felted art. The Irish landscape is a major source of inspiration to Pippa and she also loves to work playfully as seen in her character faces and ‘foody’ felts!

Needle felting is a technique of shaping wool using finely barbed needles. Wool fibres have small scales and as these fibres are pushed together using these needles, they interlock, mesh and condense, forming shapes. Decoration can be added to the surface of these shapes using finer needles.

We have framed the Irish Cottage card in a lovely white square frame and it just looks so charming!

MyIrelandBox - June 2019

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We have always wanted to curate a MyIrelandBox that reminded us of Dublin and the time that we, Katharine and Thomas used to live there. We enjoyed walking along the canal at weekends and although we longed to leave the legal and financial corporate world at some stage and return to Katharine’s native Dingle, we always felt that Dublin was special and like no other city on earth. What is special about the curation of this MyIrelandBox is that we are, in some way, sharing the beauty of the Canal Bank with you through the talent of one of Ireland’s finest contemporary jewelry makers along with a poem from one of our favorite Irish poets. We knew that Maggie Marley’s letterpress botanical themed note cards would suit this curation so well and we worked with her with the Bláithín Ennis cuff in mind when choosing a range of her artwork that would remind us of the Canal. An image of Dublin through this little postcard was of course required and there are many images within it that bring us back to our time there. We just love to revisit this grand city. We have said that we want to send more Irish to you and we could not leave this ‘Céad Míle Fáilte’ (Pronounced: Kay-udh Mee-la Faw-l-ta’) (A hundred thousand welcomes) sign behind!

Bláithín Ennis - Jewellery Designer - Co. Wexford

The Canal is immortalised in the famous poem by the Irish Poet, Patrick Kavanagh. If you are ever in Dublin and go to the Canal, you will see Patrick Kavanagh’s stature that sits by the canal. It is his writing and this environment that inspired Bláithín Ennis to create this lovely cuff. Focusing on his work 'Canal Bank Walk', Bláithín references the structures of canal bank foliage. Each piece is tinged with deep and pale green tones, structured with cylindrical stems and quivery soft contours.

Bláithín Ennis is an original, unique and contemporary brand. She has been voted one of the best new jewellery designers on the Irish fashion scene. The label is beautifully designed, incorporating simple, traditional and craft driven techniques inspired by her natural surroundings in coastal Ireland. Her fresh use of experimental materials and off-beat aesthetic, has garnered her a devoted following at home and abroad. Bláithín’s pieces are the result of innovative, exclusive techniques and craftsmanship using fine nylon braiding as her primary aesthetic, combined with mixtures of robust metals and delicate, sparkling crystal. Her award-winning creations represent the ‘unconventional’ in jewellery design.

Bláithín says “I'm absolutely passionate about creating a quality, innovative brand for my customers who appreciate design and the handmade item. I'm based from my studio with my loyal, dynamic team in the South East of Ireland, where every piece is designed and handmade. “

Maggie Marley – Co. Donegal

Donegal native Maggie Marley is an illustrator/designer who produces beautiful cards and prints with a focus on typography and illustrations inspired by wanderings with her dog Alfie and her surrounding landscape of County Donegal and around the Irish landscape throughout Ireland.

"My typographical cards are inspired by vintage type and drawings, I try to keep them very crisp and clean. The botanical Letterpress range involves pressing plants, leaves and flowers in a book which are then scanned and traced to create black & white drawings for plate making. I then use a Vintage 1950’s Adana Letterpress machine to print the designs." –

These Letterpress cards are so special and we were so happy to work with Maggie in their creation to slot neatly in to this MyIrelandBox and to compliment the inspiration in the Canal Bank and the green tones of its foliage.

Real Ireland Picture Press

Based in County Wicklow, Real Ireland Design was established in 1979 and it was responsible for ushering in a whole new concept in postcard design.

It is a company that understands how to portray the beauty of the Irish landscape by using high quality images on items that can be used and admired every day. From calendars and bookmarks to mini jigsaw puzzles, Real Ireland Design's products represent Ireland very nicely! We wanted you to visualise Dublin and a nice touch is this multi-image postcard from the Capital City of Ireland.

Also from Real Ireland Picture Press is this lovely Céad Míle Fáilte pin-up. We really wanted to send to our subscribers something in Gaelic. It means ‘A Hundred Thousand Welcomes’. We love that it is written on a lovely green backdrop that suits the colors of the Canal Bank and the surprises that we have chosen for you this month. Subscribers can now welcome people to their homes in Gaelic and spread the love of the Irish language!

Golden Shamrock Prize

Every couple of months we surprise a treasured MyIrelandBox subscriber with a piece of handmade Irish jewelry. So, this month, Amanda from Montezuma, Iowa, USA was our Golden Shamrock winner and she has won the most beautiful pair of earrings inspired by the Skellig Rock. They are perfect little treasures made fom South Kerry slate cast in sterling silver.

MyIrelandBox - May 2019

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We are so excited to send you the Irish Sheep themed MyIrelandBox as it is one of our favorites to curate. The month of May is such an inspiring time to choose sheep themed treasures for subscribers as we are surrounded by lush green fields and fluffy white sheep and lambs prancing about – they are everywhere and a joy to watch.

GOLDEN SHAMROCK PRIZE

Every couple of months we surprise a treasured MyIrelandBox subscriber with a piece of handmade Irish jewelry. So, this month, Catherine from New Britain, Connecticut was our Golden Shamrock winner and she won the most beautiful pair of earrings inspired by the Skellig Rock. They are perfect little treasures made from South Kerry slate cast in sterling silver. They are so special. Congratulations Catherine. We have another pair of these beauties to give away to a special subscriber next month so cross your fingers that it is your name that is pulled out of the hat!

MyIrelandBox - April 2019

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MyIrelandBox subscribers were excited to see some foodie items in their April MyIrelandBoxes! Having read the wonderful Cow Book about life on an Irish family farm, it seemed perfect to share the treasured tea break with our subscribers. Barry’s Tea is a firm favourite in our family and of course world-wide and the Lismore biscuits that we included … - well we are in love! We had been munching on all sorts of artisan bakes and these came out tops. There is no better way to bring subscribers to the table than through taste and smell so the candle was a must for the scent of the soft day on the farm. We had wanted to send to subscribers a Nicholas Mosse piece for a long time and finally we included the gorgeous heart shaped ceramic plate that is perfect to lay your spoon, biscuit or tea bag.

GOLDEN SHAMROCK PRIZE

Every couple of months we are going to surprise a treasured MyIrelandBox subscriber with a piece of handmade Irish jewelry. So, this month, Sandra from Texas won The Golden Shamrock prize …visit our Facebook and Instagram page to see what she won! Congratulations Sandra!

MyIrelandBox - March 2019

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The March MyIrelandBox was curated with St. Patrick’s Day in mind and a focus on new beginnings and Irish blessings. We were inspired by the energy of Spring in Ireland and the wonderful and unique way that the Irish for centuries have passed blessings, sayings and old proverbs to each other and how many of these wise words are still spoken today. We included nods to the shamrock especially for St Patrick’s Day but also to celebrate nature awakening here in Ireland and new beginnings. The chopping board was perfect for this month’s theme – the engraved Irish wood is a lovely merger of nature and blessings. Of course, the Connemara marble wishing stone was our wish to our treasured subscribers that all of their hopes and dreams come true this year. It is a lovely combination of Irish nature and wishes.

MyIrelandBox - February 2019

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We love the month of February… some of the MyIrelandBox team celebrate birthdays, nature begins to wake from a sleepy winter slumber and of course, love is in the air!

We sent subscribers a beautiful pendant made with love in Dublin by a wonderful family team , Lisa and Paul O'Neill and also the fabulous work of Lily Corcoran who created beautiful cards. We think that these makers are wonderfully talented and we were so excited to share these surprises with subscribers in Februray.

The Golden Shamrock prize was back and a lucky member of the MyIrelandBox Community won a gorgeous pair of Irish made Boru earrings.

GOLDEN SHAMROCK PRIZE

Every couple of months we are going to surprise a treasured MyIrelandBox subscriber with a piece of handmade Irish jewellery. So this month, in addition to the beautiful necklace that she will have received, Tara from Overland Park, United States, a lovely MyIrelandBox subscriber, will find in her MyIrelandBox this month the most darling pair of Trinity Knot earrings that were handmade by Boru jewellers.

MyIrelandBox - January 2019

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This January, we wanted to send a 2019 diary to MyIrelandBox subscribers that was handmade and that would remind them of Ireland every day. We were delighted to work with Sean O'Sullivan from Badly Made Books in Cork and the result was a merger of one of our favourite places in Ireland with hand-made, to give subscribers something they could use all year round. 

Next, this marvellous massage bar! Step out of the shower or bath and use this on your wet skin. The smells are beautiful, it is the best moisturiser for Winter, the ingredients are local and natural and what we love also is that each bar is handmade in the most quaint cottage in Donegal! 

MyIrelandBox subscribers could not write down all of their dreams and daily plans without a lovely scent of Ireland so this candle from Field Day was a must to take them straight to the Irish coast and countryside. 

When we spotted Jill from Linen Lane at a craft fair during the Summer we asked her to please begin at once to make the linen sheep bookmarks for our treasured MyIrelandBox subscribers. We suggested that it could be used to mark the diary page, as the field on the cover of the diary is always filled with sheep that surround the fairy fort in the centre of it!

MyIrelandBox - December 2018

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Inspired by a white Christmas in Ireland, the December MyIrelandBox was one of our favourite curations of 2018! We sent our treasured subscribers some warmth in a beautifully made scarf, a subtle yet quirky Christmas decoration made by wonderful ceramicist that we adore and a fun handmade decoration by a new maker that we're so excited to have discovered! We sent some breathtaking images of Ireland to look at each month in 2019 in the form of a neat calendar and a postcard depicting the colour palette that inspired our curation in December ….  We asked subscribers to cosy up, light the fire and to enjoy their surprises from Ireland in December…

MyIrelandBox - November 2018

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We brought the Irish kitchen to MyIrelandBox subscribers this November with a beautiful apron, designed on County Louth and sewn and printed in Donegal. 

'Home for Christmas' by the wonderful author, Alice Taylor, was the perfect warm up to Christmas - the reader jumps right in to her little Irish town and the old traditions of Christmas are remembered. 'Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine' is a Gaelic saying that means that people live in each other’s shadows and that we are shielded from the sun by each other - we rely on each other for shelter. People need each other, We wanted to share these wise words with MyIrelandBox subscribers for Thanksgiving and what better way to do this that on a beautiful card by Dingle Wild Card.

MyIrelandBox - October 2018

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'The Beauty of Ireland'' MyIrelandBox - September 2018

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We love natural beauty products and we only choose the best in Ireland for our treasured subscribers. To soak in Irish oats felt like a dream to us and we knew when we met with Deirdre and Karen of Wild Oats that their passion for Irish oats and natural, clean beauty was a perfect fit for us and for MyIrelandBox subscribers.

We are huge believers in a good bar of soap and when it's made with all natural ingredients and smells lovely, then we are hooked. We also included a lip balm by one of our favourite natural beauty makers, Dublin Herbalists. We have been using their gorgeous creations since we discovered them at the beginning of the year and we would love to send more of their products to MyIrelandBox subscribers in 2019.

We adore the screen printed pouch by Placed Ireland made in Belfast. We asked René Mullin to create something for us that would store all of MyIrelandBox subscriber's natural goodies that we sent to them in the September MyIrelandBox and we are thrilled with what she created.

These wonderful surprises fit so perfectly together and MyIrelandBox subscribers loved this curation.

Old Irish Farm Themed MyIrelandBox - August 2018

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We loved the theme for August 2018 - The 'Old Irish Farm' and especially adore the wooden Irish Cow that was made at our request especially for MyIrelandBox subscribers by the amazing father and daughter duo that is 'Saturday Workshop'!

We have always wanted to work with Rebecca Killen ceramicist, as she instantly brings one back to the days of yore when the old style milk bottle was left by the milk man at the front door. 

The 'Lost Moments' series that have been printed by Kelly Cards are special - the selection is indeed nostalgic and we chose this image in particular to praise the hard working women of the Old Irish Farm.

July 'Blasket Island' themed MyIrelandBox

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The Blasket Islands are magical. They lie off the coast of the Dingle Peninsula where we are based here at MyIrelandBox. We have always wanted to share the history, music, tradition, culture, song, gaelic language and stories of the Great Blasket Island with MyIrelandBox subscribers and finally we have succeeded in sending it to all of our treasured subscribers, a MyIrelandBox that is full of the spirit of the Island. Listen to the beautiful music that the talented musicians composed on the Blaskets whilst you read the wonderful book that we enclosed by Islander Maurice O'Sullivan. Then, try your hand at the tin whistle - we have provided a link to very entertaining Irish Tin Whistle Lessons by the Online Academy of Irish Music. The turf peat was a must of course, it represents the main source of fuel for the Islanders and it is a nod to the sorrow of the evacuation of the Islanders in the 1950's on to the mainland, due in part to the decline of the turf peat on the Blaskets. This can be lit (carefully!) to create the aroma of a real turf fire.

We also included a very informative book on the Blaskets written by the award winning author, Pádraig Ua Maoileoin, who was born on the mainland directly opposite the Blasket Islands, at Dunquin in 1913. This book is so informative and it is very special as it is in both the English and Irish language.

We want subscribers to enjoy the old world of the Blaskets Islands. We are so happy to bring them there.

The Golden Shamrock Winner…

….is… Pamela from the USA who won a beautiful sterling silver celtic necklace with the bright shiny emerald embedded in the celtic heart symbol. It is worth over $160 USD!

More Irish made jewellery will be won by lucky subscribers as part of the Golden Shamrock prize draw that is held every month. It could be you or your chosen recipient next month!

The June 'Irish Cottage' themed MyIrelandBox

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We have been so excited over the past few months to work with the Irish makers regarding the June MyIrelandBox. We were inspired by the raindrops that patter against the old sash window frame and also by the traditional Irish contents that adorn the old dwelling inside. We wanted to bring the Irish Cottage right over to you!

 

…and of course we have the lovely Golden Shamrock prize to giveaway to someone special this month. We picked the name in a recent draw and the winners are Brooks and Barb from USA. They won a lovely 'Growing Home' sterling silver Ireland Brooch where Ireland is represented as a tree with deep roots – resilient and enduring – that has remained standing strong, swaying but unbroken.

The May MyIrelandBox

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This May MyIrelandBox was inspired by the beautiful night sky that covers the Emerald Isle in a blanket of sparkly dark blue on a clear night, the crescent moon hung beautifully above and the scents that linger in the air from a day in Irish countryside beneath. The gorgeous handmade ceramic crescent moon necklace by Danu represents this arrival of nightfall in Ireland. The luxury Rathborne candle is included to reproduce the scent of the Wild Mint that grows along the banks of a nearby river, it's smell remaining amongst the sleeping Irish wildflowers. The hares and rabbits prance in the darkened fields before bedtime, alert to the chances of the handsome red fox emerging to prowl in the night. We loved this card by Orla Barry as the hare and rabbit in the field at evening time is a common and welcome image outside our window. 

 

All of the surprises that we have sent to you this month were chosen so that you would feel the sense of the Irish countryside at dusk and at night. We are surrounded by it here and as we type this letter to you. Darkness has fallen and all seems still but the sky is alive with glittering stars and a beautiful moon, the night owls are alert, whilst others sleep and the aromas of the day still linger.

The April MyIrelandBox

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The March St Patrick's Day MyIrelandBox

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The February MyIrelandBox

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The January MyIrelandBox

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The December MyIrelandBox


The November MyIrelandBox

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The October MyIrelandBox

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The August 'Sheep Themed' MyIrelandBox


The July MyIrelandBox


The June MyIrelandBox


The May MyIrelandBox


The April MyIrelandBox


St Patrick's Day March MyIrelandBox


The February Grá (Love) MyIrelandBox


The January MyIrelandBox


2016 MyIrelandBoxes

 

 

The December MyIrelandBox

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The November Thanksgiving MyIrelandBox


The October MyIrelandBox


The September MyIrelandBox