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
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
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.
This gorgeous Nicholas Mosse sheep mug! We could not resist this when we were curating April’s surprises and subscribers to last month’s MyIrelandBox received a cute shamrock heart plate from the same maker. The sheep mug caught our eye and we were immediately in love and knew that our subscribers adore it.
We love the story of Nick and Susan…: Over 55 years ago, Nick Mosse, the son of a flour merchant, was captivated by the sensuous beauty of clay and over time he developed a genuine passion and devotion to shaping pieces that felt beautiful. He met, married and fell in love with an American Botanical artist, who had been drawn to Ireland by her love of the Irish countryside and the beauty of the Burren, Co. Clare.
Drawn together by their craft and their shared love of nature, in 1976, Nick and Susan, based in a small shed on the Mosse family land in Bennettsbridge, Co. Kilkenny, formed their family business Nicholas Mosse Pottery. Nick and Susan say that they love their craft and to this day, make every single piece of pottery they produce by hand.
They apply the patterns using an age-old tradition dating back to the 18th century. Using cut sponges, they individually sponge dab the patterns onto each piece of pottery. In fact, every piece of Nicholas Mosse undergoes a 20 step, handmade process. and Nick personally trains every individual decorator that works at Nicholas Mosse.
We love this sheep mug and we cannot wait to drink our Barry’s Tea from it every morning at breakfast!
We wanted to send a handmade sheep to our treasured subscribers and Magdalena from Small Factory of Dreams was the perfect maker to engage for this special task. Her sheep are magical. We are calling ours ‘Mish’, which is short for ‘Misneach’, which is the gaelic for ‘Courage’ – it is pronounced ‘Mish-nok’. Often here on the Dingle Peninsula you will be greeted, or you will greet another, by saying ‘Dia dhuit - Conas tá an misneach’ – which is another way of saying ‘How are you doing?’. The direct translation means – ‘How is the courage?’. We knew that when Magdalena made this flock of sheep for our subscribers that they would come to life in a way that no other maker could achieve. Magdalena seems to have some magic about her. All of her creatures are dreamed up and created of course from her own patterns and are crocheted using high-quality natural materials such as cotton and alpaca wool. She says that each of her creations are made with passion and love, so that each of them has their own soul….and yes, this is perfectly put! Magdalena goes on to say that ‘Usually the project is just created in my head, and my hands are doing what my imagination tells them’. This is so sweet.
Most mornings we see a sheep peering over the ditch at us and this is why we chose the framed print by Pippa Sweeney. We thought that it would be lovely to send it to subscribers so that they too could see a friendly sheep greet them each morning when they wake! To see one of Pippa Sweeney’s original felt pieces of art is like landing in a field of shamrock – it’s a sight to behold. They are just beautiful and 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.
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
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.
We love the story of Nick and Susan : Over 55 years ago, Nick Mosse, the son of a flour merchant, was captivated by the sensuous beauty of clay and over time he developed a genuine passion and devotion to shaping pieces that felt beautiful. He met, married and fell in love with an American Botanical artist, who had been drawn to Ireland by her love of the Irish countryside and the beauty of the Burren, Co. Clare.
Drawn together by their craft and their shared love of nature, in 1976, Nick and Susan, based in a small shed on the Mosse family land in Bennettsbridge, Co. Kilkenny, formed their family business Nicholas Mosse Pottery.
Nick and Susan say that they love their craft and to this day, make every single piece of pottery they produce by hand.
They apply the patterns using an age-old tradition dating back to the 18th century. Using cut sponges, they individually sponge dab the patterns onto each piece of pottery. In fact, every piece of Nicholas Mosse undergoes a 20 step, handmade process. and Nick personally trains every individual decorator that works at Nicholas Mosse.
This little love heart plate put a smile on our faces. Tea break just got even better.
We first learned about The Cow Book whilst watching the '2018 An Post Irish Book Awards' and we knew straight away that it was once that would appeal to us. It won the Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year award that night. Over the next week or two we must say we found it difficult to purchase the book as every shop we entered had sold out! When we did eventually read it, we found ourselves carrying it everywhere - relishing any opportunity to dive right in to the Connell’s farm lives.
This is a lovely story capturing John Connell’s relationship with his home, the farm animals and his parents…in particular with his father. We note the dedication, hard work, often daunting weather conditions, the love of the farmer for the animals and the sadness at losing one, the joy, frustration and gratification in working the farm. Cleverly, John Connell manages to teach us all about the history of the cow in a page turning manner, slots in some very interesting and important elements of Irish history and all the while bringing us all on to the farm with him whilst he carries on with his difficult daily chores. We felt like we were there with him all of the time…and we missed it when the book ended.
What was most definitely not lost on us was a simple message we took from the book - enjoy the little things in life. A recent Irish Times article aptly reads that “This is a book which pauses regularly to savor life’s tiny nows – a newborn lamb’s head, a cup of hot tea pressed into a cold hand..”. It is the little things in life that should be savored and after a very hard slog on the farm, the tea break was treasured.
The Irish Times article went on to read that “With 139,600 farms in Ireland and a whopping 4.4 million hectares of the country’s 6.9 million hectares used for agriculture, the Connell family’s lifestyle and work must echo that of thousands of others around the country. But this is a personal story. An honest, vivid reckoning of what it’s like to simultaneously belong and not belong, The Cow Book becomes John Connell’s meditation on the real meaning of home and place.
The Three Biscuiteers - Beth-Ann Smith and Ken and Owen Madden
Can’t stop eating these! They are melt in the mouth delicious! We adore the packaging also and we reuse some of ours to store pens and kids coloring pencils. They are truly little nibbles from heaven.
The Lismore Food Company brings together three artisans who share a love of fine ingredients and a lifetime of experience in food. Beth-Ann Smith’s family history in food stretches back to Smith’s Stores, a fine food delicatessen and bakery on Cork’s Patrick Street. Having trained at the infamous Ballymaloe Cookery School, she is now the head chef at Lismore Castle. Brothers Owen and Ken Madden’s family opened a bakery and public house on Lismore’s Main Street in the early 1800’s. Now called ‘The Summerhouse’ and home to The Lismore Food Company, they continue this rich tradition of baking in the same historic location.
The name, the smell, the boiling of the kettle, the pouring of the boiled water in to the cup, the stirring of the tea spoon and the inevitable sigh of pleasure after the first sip. Memories…bringing us straight back in to the room to where our loved ones (some now gone) sat. We will always love Barry’s Tea.
Barry’s was founded in 1901 by James J. Barry, grandfather of current Chairman, Peter Barry and the family have spent years perfecting their blends that have been passed on through generations. In turn, these blends have been passed down through generations of most families on the Emerald Isle and to those living abroad.
Master Blender, Denis Daly, has been blending Barry’s teas for nearly 40 years and he tastes the blends three times a day to ensure that every moment you spend with their tea is as rewarding as the last.
Through word of mouth alone, the reputation of Barry’s Tea has continued to grow to become a much-loved Irish brand, a fact which makes the team incredibly proud.
Barry’s Tea most definitely is an institution and we were delighted to send it to our subscribers this month to accompany the delicious Lismore Biscuits!
How could we not send to subscribers the natural sweet scent of an Irish meadow after a summer shower? It is a wonderful idea to light this candle whilst reading The Cow Book!
Karen Lavelle is the maker, an Irish designer who recently returned to Ireland after 11 years in New York. On her return, Karen was inspired and overwhelmed by the outstanding beauty that she re-discovered living in the Irish countryside with her husband and family. This is something that she wanted to capture and share with the world, combining light, warmth and comfort with memory, inspiration and home.
Every Soilse Irish Candle awakens a particular landscape and memory, the scent being a wonderfully tantalizing and evocative fragrance inspired by the natural beauty of the Irish outdoors.
This candle was lovingly hand poured and made from 100% soy wax, infused with a unique blend of essential oil-based fragrances that are all naturally produced and environmentally friendly.
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
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.
One of the MyIrelandBox Community’s favourite makers was back! Whenever we include one of Juli Malone’s wonderful creations, we are inundated with wonderful messages from you all. Juli is a very special person with a magnetic personality and wonderful soul who has a very deep connection with nature and Ireland. All of this positive energy finds its way in to her creations and resonates with those that have the luck to use her products.
Nestled in the Irish countryside overlooking the serene view of Dingle Bay lies a cottage with a half door. It is in this magical setting that Juli Malone creates her Dingle Druid natural beauty and aroma products. Juli grew up in Dingle deep within the Irish countryside and from childhood has felt inspired by Mother Nature. In her beautiful garden she grows all of the plants that she requires to make natural beauty products. Honey bees live on the land with her and provide the beeswax and honey that she uses in her soaps and balms. We love that the pure clean water added to each lovingly made batch of all of her creations is fetched from her very own well! We have been excited to send you some of Juli's 'New Beginnings\Fresh Start body and room spray’. Juli created this with the Spring Equinox in mind, the awakening of nature, the need for balance, the celebration of new life, new beginnings and the potential in all of us. She remembers the ancient Irish Fertility Festivals honouring the Earth. She says that what happens on Earth is mirrored within and as nature wakes, so do we. We can create a fresh start at any moment and for any reason. Juli brings you floral waters and essences from her garden to aid in birthing something wonderful and beautiful in your life and to create a connection to within so that you live the life you are here to live, knowing that love is all there is!
Caulfield Country Boards is a family affair comprising a joiner, a philosopher and a geologist/baker. Caulfield joinery was established in 1978 by John Caulfield, the original joiner. Pearse Caulfield, the joiner/philosopher, joined the family business at a young age. He completed an apprenticeship in joinery and also studied a BA in philosophy. Louise Caulfield, the geologist/baker, studied a BA in geology and a MSc in environmental science. She lived in Western Australia while working in the mining industry. She returned home in 2011 and the keen baker called upon the joinery to make a few wooden boards for displaying baked goods... and so Caulfield Country Boards was born!
Seeing a niche in the market for locally crafted wooden cutting and serving boards, Caulfield Country Boards rose to the task and focused on creating the most magical products from beautiful sustainable wood. All of their creations are designed and made in Carnaross, Co. Meath, Ireland from sustainably sourced Irish hardwoods, which include ash, beech, elm and walnut.
It is rare to find an artist that can capture the essence and beauty of our national symbol, the Irish Shamrock in a contemporary and simple way. We have been drawn back to Sonia Cauldwell’s work on many occasions and we must say, she does it best! These shamrock images are prints of original watercolours by Sonia, based in Skibbereen, County Cork. Inspired by her surrounding in the West Cork landscape and countryside, she reproduces her paintings to create gorgeous and simple stationary items such as cards, calendars and information booklets on Irish flora.
Known as the “Irish Gemstone”, the beautiful and unique patterns of Connemara Marble are lovely to admire. Rare and beautiful, Connemara marble is found exclusively along Ireland’s rugged wild Atlantic coast. Each piece of Connemara marble is unique, with green of almost every hue in arresting layers and patterns.
Connemara Marble has a Primal Past. It was formed from sediment deposited in a shallow primal sea over 900 million years ago. These sediments were transformed by formidable forces generated in the formation of the mountains of the West of Ireland over time.
Connemara Marble Ltd was established in 1946 and is now run by Stephen Walsh. This is a family business that has worked the beautiful, green Connemara marble for three generations and they all take great pride in the Irish jewelry and Irish gifts that they produce. The family own and operate the oldest marble quarry at Lissoughter, Recess, Co. Galway, which was first opened in the 19th Century and it is from here that your wishing stone was born.
We could not resist the little fun pot of Grow Your Own Shamrock that Connemara Marble made for St Patrick’s Day.
We hope that all of our subscriber's wishes and dreams come true this year and that this special wishing stone helps them along. We have a thing for stones and actually collect them ourselves. We think they present a certain unexplained energy when held in in your hand.
With sayings such as 'Beauty won't make the pot boil', 'Many a day we shall rest in the clay' and 'A closed mouth ...a wise head’, it is clear that Irish history and folklore is rich with proverbs and sayings of old, full of timeless wisdom that still has resonance and truth today. This simply designed hardback brings together a whole host of these sayings and proverbs on topics as diverse as aging, the seasons, fate and nature. It just may have you nodding your head in recognition, remembrance and agreement!
As the book says: ‘Learn to banter like the Irish with these wise, witty and wicked sayings. And remember ..'It’s a good story that fills the belly.'
MyIrelandBox - February 2019
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.
Boru jewellery is family owned jewellery business nestled in the foothills of the Dublin mountains. It was so obviously to us when we met Lisa and Paul O'Neill that they and their team of skilled craftsmen and stone setters have a huge passion for creating jewellery that is inspired by Irish history, the landscape of Ireland, our amazing culture and unique heritage. We wanted to treat MyIrelandBox subscribers to something that they could treasure forever, that had a true sense of Ireland, that was handcrafted with love and passion in Ireland and that would ensure that each person had this beautiful country close to them whenever it is worn.
As each piece is handmade, we chose four designs to send to different MyIrelandBox subscribers. Each piece bears, in some way, the form of the Trinity Knot, also called a triquetra derived from the Latin for ‘three-cornered’. This symbol is one of the best known Celtic Symbols here in Ireland and indeed in Celtic culture. Whether this famous knot is encompassed in the Claddagh design, alongside a shamrock, or uniquely made on its own, it is often used by talented jewellers across Ireland in their handmade pieces.
We find these cards dreamy! They depict Lily Corcoran's wonderful artwork and portray Ireland in such a simple but beautiful and pretty way. Have you noticed that Lily uses Irish lace as an inspiration in her drawings in particular on this lovely Ireland postcard? We are drawn to the elegance of the patterns and we love how Lily combines the old tradition of lace work in her illustrations and gives it a contemporary twist. We think you will agree that Lily has a unique style and that her attention to fine detail, symmetry and her use of intelligent patterns are evident and wonderful! The bird illustration is beautiful. It immediately reminds us of starlings and of admiring the beauty of these birds with absent friends who have passed on.
Lily lives in the beautiful countryside of West Cork and is inspired by patterns in nature and especially those found in flowers. She particularly loves working in monochrome and concentrating on the shapes and detail of a design. Lily says that she likes to amalgamate the most intriguing detail from a number of different flowers into one representation. For nearly a decade Lily has been refining her unique illustrative style and her original lacing pattern that she calls ‘Flower Bomb’ which she uses in most of her work. Lily's aim is to create beautiful objects and pieces of art that people would love to have in their homes.
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
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!
We discovered this brand new business during the Summer at a craft fair in Dublin and we thought that Jill's work was contemporary, simple and appealing. It felt right to include this bookmark with the handmade journal as the field at Mám an Óraigh would not be complete without inserting a sheep!
Linen Lane was founded in 2017 with the aim of producing luxury handcrafted gifts from natural undyed Irish linen.
Growing up and still based in the same farming community, once famous for its linen production, Jill was keen to promote this famous fabric.
With a background in textiles and a love of the countryside Linen lane grew out of the chance discovery of one of the few working linen mills left in Ireland.
Inspired by the surrounding countryside, Jill screen prints her original designs onto the linen which are then handmade into lovely bookmarks.
Based in Little Island, Co. Cork, badly made books is a publishing house in its early stages. Sean O'Sullivan produces recycled paper stationery, picture books, art prints & art books in short editions.
The beauty about Sean's work is that he hand-binds, in small batches, all of the diaries and notebooks that he custom makes and then he prints with a Risograph duplicator.
We always wanted to share one of our favourite places with our treasured subscribers in a MyIrelandBox - being the image of the field at Mám an Óraigh, overlooking Ventry Beach on a foggy day that adorns the cover of the enclosed diary. We lit up when we discovered Sean's work, as we know that this particular image was a perfect fit for his hand-bound stationary. This is an image of an old family farm and Katharine has happy memories of driving up to it with her gaelic speaking grandfather singing 'The Fields of Athenry' at the top of their voices! The magic of this field is not only the stunning view when the clouds lift but that a fairy fort lies in the middle of the field. The scene is particularly mystical in the fog - a true reflection of the Irish countryside.
Alix Mulholland works from a tiny cottage nestled in the Mourne Mountains of County Down and says that she has ‘tried to “bottle” all that is lovely about Irish life and Ireland's landscape and wishes to share it with everyone’. Creating beautiful scents is at the heart of their business, and Alix says 'there’s nothing quite like the power of a scent to bring treasured memories of childhood days or holidays in Ireland flooding back. Whether it’s a lingering hint of a wild roses damp with dew, the fragrance of freshly cut grass bloom or the scent of “just” washed linen in the breeze, Field Day scents will whisk you back to happy times'.
We included this candle for subscribers and we think that its scent is a wonderful way to bring a piece of Ireland in to their homes whilst they plan their best year ever in 2019!
The MyIrelandBox Community are well aware that we love only natural hand-made beauty products and when we find some that we cannot be without, we need to send them to subscribers! Donegal Natural Soap is one company that we discovered last year and this massage bar is a winner.
The start of Isobel's business begins in 2010 when she and her family decided to change the way they approached the personal responsibility of their health. Isobel began to experiment with store-cupboard ingredients, teaching herself the methods and looking to nature for inspiration and resource.
And so it began. Starting with a simple unscented oatmeal soap crafted from larder ingredients, Isobel used it and loved it..as did her children. Since making the change to only natural soap, she and her family have never looked back. Isobel spent countless hours creating new recipes, many more foraging for ingredients and thousands more hours researching. When Isobel thinks about being able to work from home in her purpose-built workshop in Donegal, following her passion and hearing of the real difference her products make to people, she asks 'what could be better?'.
We love this massage bar and it is the most moisturising, natural, luxurious piece of pamper that we have discovered in so very long!
MyIrelandBox - December 2018
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…
We thought very carefully about the design of this year’s scarf and as mentioned above, we sought out the colour palette of winter as we know it in Ireland…. White cows in a field in winter, the snow-capped mountains of the Conor Pass on the Dingle Peninsula, the sun setting over the Giant's Causeway on an December evening and the white spray from the waters of Inch beach dancing in the air as the waves lap against the mainland on a crisp day.
We wanted the wrap you in these scenes for Christmas and Foxford Woollen Mills' most popular design this year was the scarf that we chose. To us, it represented the images that settled in our minds as we thought of winter Ireland.
Foxford Woollen Mills are based in County Mayo and it was originally founded by an Irish Sister of Charity in 1892. The area around Foxford was considered to be one of the poorest in the West of Ireland in the late nineteenth century. Mother Agnes Morrogh-Bernard felt the best way to combat these poor economic conditions was to establish viable local industries.
Foxford was built on the banks of River Moy and this inspired the idea for building a woollen mill. The River Moy provided the power, the sheep farmed locally provided the wool and the locals provided the labour.
Today, it is a thriving mill with master craftspeople creating beautiful pieces for sale worldwide.
Based in County Wicklow, Real Ireland Design 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 thought that MyIrelandBox subscribers would like to see a beautiful image of Ireland every month in 2019 with this lovely calendar. We love opening our every year to see what images of Ireland we will admire for the next twelve months!
We stumbled across Jo's quirky handmade decorations whilst travelling around Ireland recently. We love the fun play with words : 'Irish you a Merry Christmas'!
The cute shamrock, Irish wood and map of Ireland design are a perfect combination and lovely for MyIrelandBox subscriber's homes last Christmas to remind them of the Emerald Isle.
Jo settled in the idyllic location of West Cork just over 4 years ago. She is a trained architectural model maker, and we think that each of her small but perfectly formed creations are certain to appeal to the child in you, no matter what age you are. Her inspired designs, labelled under the Rossbrin Creative brand, are simple but beautiful.
Karo's studio is tucked away on a quaint lane-way in Dublin city. We discovered Karo five years ago when we first set up MyIrelandBox and were delighted once again to work with her on this December's MyIrelandBox.
Karo has made a name for herself in Ireland over the past few years as a talented and renowned ceramicist and is known for her fine lines and playful illustration, simplicity and humour.
She is inspired by the characters of traditional Irish fairy tales, as well as the natural environment that surrounds her. We here at MyIrelandBox are lovers of Irish animals and the fox and hare were a must from her Christmas collection!
Nature and the organic forms are a never-ending source of inspiration for Karo, who also has a weak spot for all that’s whimsical and charming — magical realism and fairy stories are influential to her work. She tell us that she is a huge animal lover and 'furry or feathery creatures are often a recurring theme in my hand-sketched pieces'.
MyIrelandBox - November 2018
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.
In this wonderful book, Alice Taylor recalls Christmas in her home of Innishannon over the years. Even though the family had very little, Alice's mother made Christmas very special for everyone. Beginning with her childhood Christmas, Alice's book travels to the Christmas of today and celebrates old traditions like collecting holly, decorating the crib and baking a Christmas cake. Alice says that for she and her family, Christmas was a warm glow that radiated throughout the cold winter of her school days. She compares it to a beacon of a lighthouse saying that "Christmas shone across those bleak winter days, drawing us invitingly towards its warm heart".
Imagine that this is Alice's 24th book and was some two years in the writing!
November was the perfect time, and way, to bring Irish traditions in to the homes of MyIrelandBox subscribers to warm them up for Christmas!
We looked all over Ireland for the perfect apron for subscribers in November. We love adding Irish history, myths and legends to our MyIrelandBoxes and this was a nice way to do so.
Dúinn means - 'For Us' in Gaelic and all of Bernadette's designs are created by a fusion of the iconic landscape of Ireland with local Irish folklore, myths and legends to create really wonderful, contemporary designs that tell the story of Irish heritage ‐ but with an exciting modern twist using creative patterns and subtle colours reminiscent of Ireland's lands, seas and skies.
Bernadette's designs give new life to the story of Queen Meabh’s Brown Bull, the Orchards of Ireland, the Skellig Islands, Giant's Causeway, Newgrange, Trinity College Dublin, Irish Oak trees and Kilmainham Gaol.
Bernadette takes these well known iconic symbols of Ireland and turns them on their head to re-invigorate them and create patterns for today. Celtic patterns have been the foundation for Irish design for many years and are still widely used. Based on this knowledge, Dúinn Designs explores new avenues for modern Irish and relevant patterns that can be used both in fashion and household textiles.
Neasa Murphy started her career with a Masters degree in Business, but left her job in Financial Services in Dublin after a number of years, to train to become a potter! After many very happy years throwing pots, she settled into family life and three children later, she reignited that creative flame with her new greeting cards. She was prompted to set up this new business when she was looking for a card to send to a friend who was unwell. This friend is an Irish (Gaelic) speaker, like Neasa herself and she really wanted to buy a card for her in Gaelic, to let her know that she was in her thoughts. Alas, she could not find any cards that were to her fabulous taste, so Neasa decided to make one and the first ever Dingle Wild Card was born! It read ‘Ag Smaoineamh Ort’ which translates as ‘Thinking of You’, and was everything she was looking for - thoughtful and beautifully handcrafted, with a bit of sparkle!
We have been avid readers of Irish authored books recently and in one lovely book 'Lost and Found' by Dr. Jules Montague, we were reminded of the wonderful Gaelic saying 'Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine ' - an Irish saying that translates literally as “People live in each other’s shadows.” It means that we are shielded from the sun by each other, that we rely on each other for shelter. People need each other. It is a beautiful Gaelic saying that we seem to see everywhere since we recalled recently in that book and we are reminded of how important a message it is in our communities. A recent newspaper article quotes our president Michael D Higgins saying it, our local Secondary Community School has it over their entrance door and it seems to be the window to answers to many conundrums that we have in our daily lives.
People do need each other and the next time you dine with others, whether it is at Thanksgiving or otherwise, we asked MyIrelandBox subscribers to place this card (framed or unframed) in the middle of the table to remind them of the importance of reaching out and spending time with others.
MyIrelandBox - October 2018
Lily lives in the beautiful countryside of West Cork and is inspired by patterns in nature and especially those found in flowers. We were excited to at last send to MyIrelandBox subscribers one of Lily Corcoran's gorgeous tea-towels that depicts her wonderful artwork and portrays Ireland in such a simple but beautiful and pretty way. Have you noticed that Lily uses Irish lace as an inspiration in her drawings? We were drawn to the elegance of the patterns and we love how she combines the old tradition of lace work in her illustrations and gives it a contemporary twist.
Caulfield Country Boards is a family affair comprising a joiner, a philosopher and a geologist/baker. All of their creations are designed and made in Carnaross, Co. Meath, Ireland from sustainably sourced Irish hardwoods, which include ash, beech, elm and walnut. We were introduced to Caulfield's 'Native Collection' when we met up with them recently and we felt that their coaster set was perfectly representative of the woodlands of Ireland - the native trees and the fox and hare that are seen scampering around them.
Before TV and the Internet, people had to amuse themselves differently and one rather sweet 19th century pastime was the Myriorama. The name comes from 'myriad pictures' or 'myriad panorama' in this instance. The concept many years ago was that one would play with a set of illustrated cards that could be arranged and rearranged to make imaginary landscapes and tell stories. How bright of Sara Kingston to create a Myriorama of the Irish landscape and not only that, but to print each card as a postcard, capitulating on the upsurge of interest in sending such postcards to friends or relatives! While the original Myriorama cards were small, Sara chose to make this Myriorama postcard size. If you do think that you will post them then we like the idea of sending one at a time to the same person so that the can collect and rearrange each image over time.
We met Stasys & Nerijus of Unique Oak at the Autumn Home and Gift Fair in Dublin a few weeks ago and after speaking with them at length we soaked up the passion that they have for Irish oak and working with wood. Their wooden spoons with humorous sayings and lovely shamrock caught our eye and we imagined MyIrelandBox Subscribers stirring up something lovely in their kitchens this Thanksgiving and just had to include them in this month's MyIrelandBox.
Irish Coffee anyone? It's a fun treat and a great way to bring Ireland in to your home during Thanksgiving. (If you would like a non alcoholic version then just use rum extract - there are plenty of recipes online for it also).
We are huge fans of Graham and Mary's games and puzzles. They put so much thought in to the illustration, the fun factor and the educational aspect of the designs of their games. This Celtic Art Memory Game has beautifully Illustrated designs by Celtic artist Courtney Davis. It will stimulate the mind (perhaps after Thanksgiving dinner!) and will be an educational experience as you will be prompted to learn more about the images from the Book of Kells, Book of Durrow, Leon Bible, Lindisfarne Gospels, Newgrange and many more!
'The Beauty of Ireland'' MyIrelandBox - September 2018
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.
René creates her gorgeous handmade pieces from a small studio in her Belfast home as well as in her Belfast Print Workshop. We fell in love with the way she loves linen and brings the industry right in to the now by creating contemporary pieces that are unique in every way. She tells us that her work is informed by a sense of place. It is clear from her evident talent that René has ancestry links to the linen industry. Her mother's family were flax growers and on her father's side were expert flax millers. What we especially love about René's work is that her beautiful products often include words in gaeilge … again reconnecting with her homeland.
We asked René to create something special for our subscribers this month that would fit in with our Beauty of Ireland theme. We wanted subscribers to have an accessory to adore and to store the Irish made natural beauty products that we also sent this month. This perfect pouch was screen-printed by René exclusively for MyIrelandBox subscribers in Belfast.
Dublin Herbalists was founded in 2012 by Claire Brett, Dip. Herb., ND. Everything that is included in to their beauty products is 100% natural and never, ever tested on animals. That means no parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate or other nasty hidden ingredients.
“Looking back, I can see how my childhood had such a strong influence on the Dublin Herbalists of today. Growing up in rural Kildare, we had a huge garden and were surrounded by farmland. My father was a Geologist and a landscape gardening enthusiast, so our gardens were packed full of wonders and he taught me all about plants. We spent most of our time outside. I learned about orchards, herbs, vegetable and strawberry patches, raspberry vines, chestnut trees, bushes and hedges and flowers, and nature became “second nature” to me.
It’s really clear to me now how my passion for natural skin care products that are friendly to plants and animals was inspired.”
We have also included a sample hand cream for subscribers!
Based in the beautiful countryside of County Waterford, Deirdre & Karen passionately create bathing products that indulge the senses as well as the skin.
"When it comes to our products , only the best will do, that’s why we chose Flahavan’s Organic Oats for all our soaps and bath milks – and it is made right here in Co. Waterford.
All of our products are created right here in our converted farm building outside historic Lismore."
Over the past three years, the duo have learned to harness the natural beauty of mountain and hedgerow that surrounds them and merge nature with Irish oats and perhaps lavender from Provence to create the most wonderful natural products that contain the healing and soothing power of Irish Oats.
This Bath Milk may be used to soothe tired feet in a homemade foot spa or indeed in a bath. Whatever MyIrelandBox subscribers chose, they most certainly had a bathing experience of their dreams in Irish oats!
Skellig Soaps, is based in the lovely town of Portmagee in our beloved County Kerry where the famous ferry boats take passengers to the great Skellig Rock that lies just off of its headland . She has always been interested in the health and beauty benefits of herbs and natural oils.
It's a family affair at Skellig Soaps in the lovely Portmagee. Alice's partner Adriano created their website, and their two children help with packaging! As a family, they love making their products with an ethical approach to create pure soaps, hand & body butters, lip balms and massage melts that are nourishing and natural. The joy for us is that not only is this soap a bar of Irish natural goodness, it is free from preservatives, without artificial colors, perfumes or fragrances and instead is made with pure essential oils, herbs and natural additives.
Old Irish Farm Themed MyIrelandBox - August 2018
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.
Seen her already? We gave sneak peeks of this fine cow in Instagram photos of late and you may have noticed her! Some MyIrelandBox subscribers asked about her and were delighted that she was included in the August curation.
Saturday Workshop is a small studio based in Sandymount, Dublin that was started by Edward and Iseult O’Clery, who like to make objects together at the weekends….Iseult is a full time Architect and so…they make all of their handmade products together on Saturdays!
They use traditional skills and new technologies to make wonderfully simple yet original wooden products from locally sourced native Irish hardwood. Iseult and Edward have combined their skills in architecture, engineering, boat building and furniture and this has resulted in a range of products that are inspired by the simplicity of traditional objects, decor and toys.
They both now mainly work with Irish beech wood that they take from fallen Irish trees from estates around Ireland - so it’s fully traceable and sustainable.
This Irish Cow was handmade with great care and passion by Iseult and Edward and MyIrelandBox subscribers have been sharing images on Instagram of the lovely perches they have found for her in their homes.
It was such a pleasure for us to, at last, send to MyIrelandBox subscribers this porcelain piece, handmade by Rebecca Killen, a graduate of Belfast School of Art . From her ceramics studio based in County Down, Rebecca designs and creates unique interior accessories using fine bone china, cobalt and hints of gold. This particular range celebrates local historic industry, in which Rebecca creates moulds from beautiful antique bottles from industries that are no longer in existence. Rebecca's milk bottles are made in small batches using the slip casting technique. She says with enthusiasm, 'This collection is continually growing as I am always on the look out for beautifully textured bottles from around Ireland that give us a glimpse into industries of the past'. The quirky, fine bone china bottles in millennial pink, white and dusky blue aim to bring a fresh approach to nostalgic bone china.
Rebecca has created this old style milk bottle with the intention of evoking memories in MyIrelandBox subscribers, creating a sense of nostalgia and also hopes that this piece will serve as decorative object in their homes, to be used and treasured for years to come.
We wanted to remember the women who worked the land years ago and who in fact still do to this day. There are many stories here in Ireland of women who lost heir husbands at a young age and who worked very hard on the farm to keep food on the table for their young children. Women also worked alongside the very hard laboring men on a daily basis to keep the farm going and today we have many female friends who are famers working in the agricultural sector here on the Dingle Peninsula. We chose this card titled 'Say Cheese' for this very reason, to remember the women of the Old Irish Farm.
Kelly Cards are publishers of quality Irish made greeting cards and they are based in Baileborough, a small lively town in County Cavan, Republic of Ireland. Their aim is to produce high standard blank art / photo cards that the sender can be proud off and the recipient delighted with. Their new range of black and white cards entitled "Lost Moments" is a nostalgic series of images of Ireland through the years sourced from the National archives of Ireland.
July 'Blasket Island' themed MyIrelandBox
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.
Fiche Bliain ag Fás (Twenty Years A-Growing') was originally written in our beloved Gaelic Irish language and the sweet thing about the enclosed autobiography is that much of the idiom of our native language has been retained in the English translation. Readers will be enraptured in the old ways of life on the Island in this story told by Maurice O'Sullivan, an Islander himself, who wrote this book for his own pleasure and for the entertainment of his friends, without any thought of a wider public. His style is derived from folk-tales which he heard from his grandfather and then sharpened by his own lively imagination. Maurice tells a touching story of life in the islands and within its pages the reader will find Irish folklore, proverbs, old Irish traditions and culture, love, wisdom, mythical stories, legends and songs!
This CD and book is unique. We found the last recordings and there was just about enough for MyIrelandBox subscribers! We must first mention 'Port na bPúcaí' as it is very special to us. Katharine first heard it in her Grandfather Michéal O'Catháin's house (he too was a native Irish speaker whose family came from Clogher, on the mainland also directly across from the Blasket Islands). She thought that it was enchanting and asked him about it. He told her the story of how the tune was composed by the people who lived on the Great Blasket Island. He said that one night, these musicians heard a tune coming from the darkness and it was haunting but beautiful. Although they were unnerved as they believed it could be only one thing, Púcaí (Ghosts), they set about composing a tune on their instruments that sounded like the haunting song that surrounded the Island. Katharine was delighted when her Grandfather told her that the tune became known as Port na bPúcaí and that it was only years later that the link between the composed tune and the song of the humpback whale was made. Other versions of this story tell that it was the fishermen of the Blasket Islands who heard the sounds coming from the sea below their curragh and that they believed it was the fairies who were making the sounds around their boat!
It is clear to us that the humpback whales visited the waters surrounding the Great Blasket Island that night that Port na bPúcaí was composed and luckily they have returned to these waters again as they are frequently spotted by local fishermen and boaters.
Feadóg (the gaelic for 'whistle') are a family-run business founded in Dublin, Ireland in 1978 with a reputation and passion for producing high quality, traditional Irish whistles. The Feadóg is a huge part of the Irish Traditional music session and we think that it is one of the instruments that can really get your feet tapping and the crowd cheering! The tin whistle players here on the Dingle Peninsula are real professionals and you can be spellbound by the tunes that are played every night in the town. Children are taught how to play at a young age in the local schools and it is an easy instrument to take out and play when visiting relatives or entertaining guests!
We had to include Turf Peat in some form as it was such an intrinsic part of life on the Island. This Irish Turf Stack is handmade with love from bog in the heart of Ireland and of course each little piece is unique. The turf can also be lit to create the aroma of a real turf fire and you will note that instructions are included by the maker. Turf was so important to the Islanders and they only had a seasons supply at a time to rely on. Women brought home the turf on the donkeys and of course it was used in the fire for heat, cooking and light.
We are delighted to send this very informative book on the Blaskets Islands, written in both the English and Irish language that will answer many questions that MyIrelandBox recipients might have on the way of life of the Islanders, their pastimes, livelihoods, what they ate, where they lived and of course the high influence of the later visitors to the Island and then of course the infamous (well in these parts anyway) Peig Sayers who we learned all about in school as we studied her autobiography in Gaelic!
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
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.
We want to bring more gaelic in to the homes of our treasured MyIrelandBox subscribers. We speak so much of it here in Dingle - to our children and teachers and in our shops, homes and to the parents of other children. It is our heritage and so important to us. .This saying 'Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féin' [phonetically 'neel aye-on tin-tawn mahr duh heentawn feign' - there is no fireside like your own fireside (in other words - there is no place like home!) - is a wonderful Irish saying that is loved amongst the Irish and we are sure that some of you know it well. Under the Willow Paper Goods have a lovely contemporary talent that brings the language in to the current age and we love it!
How could you pass up an opportunity to send a Connemara Raindrop to someone who loves Ireland? When we spotted these adorable pieces of porcelain we were immediately reminded of the little raindrops that patter against the old sash window of the traditional Irish cottage in the West of Ireland. Rachel is a talented ceramic artist who mainly works with porcelain and is based in the lovely city of Galway where our own Katharine studied law at University College Galway. From her little studio in Galway she makes the most beautiful porcelain treasures, with the greatest passion for her work.
We could not resist sending this to you - the best of Irish Granny's classic recipes. It is a perfectly pocket-sized cookbook that includes all the classic Irish dishes. Have you tried Boxty? We love Barm Brack (it is a tradition to have it during Halloween (and sometimes a brass ring is cooked in to the brace for a lucky recipient to find!) but in our households, it is often in the kitchen. It is most delicious hot from the oven slathered with natural butter and homemade gooseberry jam or toasted the next day.
In this book MyIrelandBox subscribers will find all the traditional Irish recipes that our grandmothers and their mothers made.
René produces her gorgeous handmade pieces from a small studio in her Belfast home as well as in her Belfast Print Workshop. We met René from 'Placed Ireland' at Showcase Craft Fair back in 2013. We fell in love with they way she contemporised Irish writing on linen. She tells us that her work is informed by a sense of place. It is clear from her evident talent that René has ancestry links to the linen industry. Her mother's family were flax growers and on her father's side were expert flax millers. What we especially love about René's work is that her beautiful products often include words in gaeilge … again reconnecting with her homeland.
We asked Rene to create something special for our subscribers this month that would fit with our Irish cottage theme and we both decided on a good quality tote with her adorable screen print of the 'Bainne', 'Siúcra' and 'Tae' - Milk, sugar & Tea image - the staples of an Irish country cottage kitchen!
The May MyIrelandBox
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.
DANU Designer ceramics was founded by award winning artist and designer Ruth Power. Specialising in handcrafted, designer ceramic home wares, wall art and jewellery, every piece is made with love and dedication by Ruth in Dublin, Ireland.
Earthy, organic yet refined and contemporary aesthetics are combined in the making of each beautiful and unique piece. Ruth is inspired by travels, nature, wanderlust, antiquated trade routes and of course, her home country of Ireland!
Ruth says that within each design there are echoes of ancient artefacts from diverse cultures that can be detected – Celtic, Roman, European, Oriental and Mesoamerican – and yet each piece is unique.
Ruth chose the name 'Danu' for her ceramics collection as this is the name of the ancient Celtic Goddess of earth and creativity
We sent a handmade dark teal and gold trim Danu bowl to our male subscribers and obviously the beautiful ceramic moon and gold star necklace to our female subscribers. We know that subscribers will love each piece as much as we do and we hope that each time it is close to them, they will be reminded of the night sky over the Emerald Isle.
Rathbornes Candles are established as one of the oldest candle makers in the world dating back to 1488 (four years before Christopher Columbus set foot in America!) and since then their candles have been illuminating the streets, homes and churches of Ireland. Master chandler William Rathborne started making candles in Wine Tavern Street, Dublin all those centuries ago. A job at Rathbornes was seen as a job for life by most and generations of different families have dedicated themselves to the Company over time.
Defying the vagaries of business, Rathborne Candles is still on the go and after over five centuries of trading, their luxury candles are still being hand poured in Dublin using their rich knowledge of techniques and ingredients. The 'Beyond the Pale Collection' captures the romance of the Irish Countryside. Essential oils mingle to create a balanced collection to which master blenders have given a luxuriously modern edge.
We chose this scent, firstly because it fit so perfectly with our theme for this month and secondly because we felt it would be universally adored!
From her studio in Dundalk Orla Barry paints the most whimsical and imaginative pieces of art and we are consistently drawn to the stories that she portrays. Orla says that she is inspired by spiritual symbolism, mysticism, surrealism, fairytales, animals, patterns and a search for perfect color combinations. We chose this mischievous card as we find that it is when evening descends that the hares and bunnies of Ireland are seen brave in the fields! The colours that Orla uses are just so eye catching and her imagination is absolutely wonderful. We are very glad to share this with you.
Orla is inspired by animals, nature, spiritual symbolism, sacred art, mysticism, surrealism, fairytales, patterns and a search for perfect colour combinations. Orla graduated with an honours degree in Fine Art from Dublin
In May 2018 we introduced The Golden Shamrock Prize. Every month a lucky MyIrelandBox subscriber will be chosen from our draw and will win a piece of Irish made jewellery. In May Rebecca from the USA won a pair of sterling silver Children of Lir handmade earrings worth over $250 USD.
The April MyIrelandBox
In 1924, David Hanna Snr. started a small tailoring firm in the townland of Donegal on Ireland’s north-west coast. By the early 60’s David recognised that the demand for tailored suits was declining and the business needed to take a new direction. Hanna Hats of Donegal are unique in every way. They use the finest Donegal tweed (pure new wool) woven exclusively for them. We believe that each piece created by them is a little piece of Donegal brought to life. This unisex tweed bag can be used to store your coins/keys and other bits and bobs! We use ours on-the-go to keep stamps, business cards and our USB key!
Adelle Hickey is an Irish artist and designer. Inspired by the symbolism of intertwined knots in traditional Irish Visual Culture, she reinterprets Ireland’s rich needlework tradition in new ways using a palette inspired by the Irish landscape.
We adore her latest project, a unique and exquisite notebook. The intertwined knots and stitches in these hearts and circles that loop back through centuries of traditional knitting, stitching and weaving all the way to the spirals carved in Celtic times
All of Adelle’s creations are made in the most sustainable way here in Ireland using paper linen and unbleached cotton paper.
Caulfield Country Boards is a family affair comprising a joiner, a philosopher and a geologist/baker! Caulfield joinery was established in 1978 by John Caulfield. All of their creations are designed and made in Carnaross, Co. Meath, Ireland from beautiful, sustainably sourced hardwoods, which include ash, beech, elm and walnut.We love this keyring of Ireland - a piece of old Irish wood carved by a passionate Irish Maker!
We collaborated with Vanessa Scott-Hayward of Six0Six Design to create these perfect pencils enwrapped in an extract from one of our favourite poems, Yeats' 'The Lake Isle of Innisfree'. We really wanted to bring you a sense of Ireland and Irish nature in the April MyIrelandBox and this poem seemed like a perfect way to do so. In this poem, Yeats dreams of his childhood surroundings - amongst nature, in the Isle of Innisfree, a place of serenity and simplicity, peace and solitude. He wrote this poem when he was a young man, living in chaotic London, longing for Ireland and its countryside. We worked with Vanessa to bring this poem to you in a beautiful natural format. We love the simplicity of the earthy tones of the parchment that is a perfect berth for this celebrated poem.
The March St Patrick's Day MyIrelandBox
Neasa Murphy was prompted to set up this new business in October 2017 when she was looking for a card to send an Irish speaking friend. Alas, she could not find any cards that were to her fabulous taste so Neasa decided to make one, and the first ever Dingle Wild Card was born! It read ‘Ag Smaoineamh Ort’ which translates as ‘Thinking of You’, and was everything she was looking for - thoughtful and beautifully handcrafted, with a bit of sparkle!
Elaine Fallon of Brookwood Pottery set up her first pottery studio in the garage at the end of her garden in Dublin City, in 2012. It was from this humble space that she launched her pottery range, Brookwood Pottery, “I love being a potter and for over 20 years I’ve worked with clay nearly every day,” she says. “I love the feeling of clay running through my hands on a pottery wheel and the excitement of opening a kiln and seeing what is waiting there. I’ve always wanted to share this experience of making pottery with others.”
Ferguson Irish Linen bears the name of its founder, Thomas Ferguson, and has been offering quality Irish linen to customers since 1854. Although there are still a few weavers weaving plain linens for apparel, the company is the only Irish linen damask weaver still remaining in the whole of Ireland. We adored the shamrock print and the superior quality of the linen fabric when we saw it and knew that we wanted to collaborate with Ferguson Irish Linen to make something nice for our subscribers. We decided on a useful and extremely pretty lavender bag - we think it is a wonderful idea to open your wardrobe every day, smell the wonderful lavender, admire the gorgeous shamrock print and perfect Irish linen…and be reminded of Ireland.
A real shamrock from the Wicklow mountains! The national emblem of Ireland is surrounded in gorgeous gold that catches the light nicely, highlighting the heart of this special piece, the Shamrock. This is one of Claire's most popular pieces of artwork and we had to pre-order it many months ago especially for subscriber's St. Patrick's Day MyIrelandBox.
Liz Christy, textile designer and hand-weaver, is inspired by the Irish landscape that surrounds her and the everyday colours and hues of the changing seasons. Liz is passionate about her work. She uses natural materials, along with specially spun boucle wool which is hand-dyed in Swallow Studios, producing stunningly different colours. Liz recently introduced t 'LizzyC Ramblin’ Sheep' lovingly packed in a pouch and we asked her to make flocks upon flocks for our subscribers for this month's MyIrelandBox.
The February MyIrelandBox
We love the colours used by Louise McGinty and the contemporary take on this Claddagh design and we agree that it is a bright and cheerful advancement of this timeless Irish symbol in to the present day.
The traditional Irish Claddagh symbol was created by an Irishman called Richard who was captured and sold into slavery from the fishing village of Claddagh. Many years passed and he wondered if his true love would wait for him. Over the years he stole tiny bits of gold from his master to make her a ring. He fashioned a heart for love, a crown for loyalty and hands as a symbol of friendship. After many years he finally returned home to Claddagh. Upon his return and to his joy he discovered his true love had waited for him. He gave her the ring as a symbol of their love, loyalty and friendship forever known now as the Claddagh.
John O'Brien and Joannes Berkery have run Irish Turf Peat Incense for the past 18 years! Joannes believes that people worldwide love the scent of a turf fire. It brings them back to their roots!.
With this Irish turf incense and the gorgeous Irish Pub we hope that we have brought a little bit of Ireland in to your home this month. We chose the Pub for this month's love theme as we are reminded often by our families about the matchmaking era here in Ireland. Pubs in Ireland often had what was known as a 'snug' - a small, screened-off room attached to the bar called the snug, a place where the matchmaker was foun - usually a trusted old man who would discretely arrange marriages between the sons and daughters of local farmers and shop keepers.
This is one of our favourite Irish songs and we are very happy to share it with you. Please do visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqL5qLqWWvA to hear Karen Casey sing the English translation beautifully or visit our Facebook page and you will note the recent post attaching the link! Dónal Óg is one of the most movingly told Irish songs of a girls total obsession with her lover young Dónal
Based in County Wicklow, Real Ireland Design 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 thought you would like to see a beautiful image of Ireland every day on the go with this lovely diary!
Kelly Cards have recently launched a new range of black and white cards entitled "Lost Moments". A slightly humorous and nostalgic range of Ireland through the years sourced from the National archives of Ireland. From this range we sae 'The Happy Couple' taken in County Leitrim in the 1920's and it invoked so many feelings and thoughts in us - sympathy, gratitude for what we have in today's world.
The January MyIrelandBox
`Maireann croí éadrom i bfad' - 'A light heart lives a long time'. One of the Irish proverbs that Fiann Ó'Nualláin explores in this wonderful book. We are delighted to share with you these Irish proverbs that are frequently used in conversations here in West Kerry and we love that they are merged with mindful living in this book.
Kelly grew up on the beautiful Dingle peninsula and he was always captivated with nature and animals. Kelly says 'I am convinced that every animal has a different personality and my passion is to capture it in an honest way'. We love this notion and we believe that Kelly's artwork speaks the language and the sentiments of Irish farm and country life. Irish cows peaking over the wall - we love it!
Lucy Hagerty's Crop Candles are created from her family farm in County Cork, from where a bounty of inspiration is at Lucy's doorstep - refreshing rain, rich green grass, energising earth. She will scribble down what she can smell and replicate it creating the most magical scents via her 'Crop' range that take you straight in to the Irish countryside with one sniff!
The December MyIrelandBox
We have loved Foxford Woollen mills ** for many years and we are very excited this year to finally be working with them especially for MyIrelandBox subscribers! We chose the gorgeous green shade as they represent the rolling green hills and landscape of Ireland so that you can wrap yourself in a little bit of the Emerald Isle this Winter.
Foxford Woollen Mills, in County Mayo, is where master craftsman meets modern Irish design.
Originally founded by an Irish Sister of Charity in 1892, the fledgling business overcame many challenges down through the years in order to survive.
The area around Foxford was considered to be one of the poorest in the west of Ireland in the late nineteenth century. Mother Agnes Morrogh-Bernard felt the best way to combat these poor economic conditions was to establish viable local industries.
Foxford was built on the banks of River Moy and this inspired the idea for building a woollen mill. The River Moy provided the power, the sheep farmed locally provided the wool and the locals provided the labour.
Today, it is a thriving mill with master craftspeople creating beautiful pieces for sale worldwide. Wrap yourself in a little bit of Ireland - a true treasure to comfort you for years to come.
After the closure of the Waterford Crystal factory in Waterford City Ireland in January 2009, a group of master craftsmen with a combined total of over 130 years experience in glass- making, came together and made the decision to set up a glass making facility of their own in the very heart of Waterford City. Located in the new 'Kite Design Studio', The Irish Handmade Glass Company aims to bring the craft of glass making to life for visitors to historic Henrietta Street in the Viking Quarter of Waterford City. One can watch in amazement as renowned Glass Master, Richard Rowe transforms the molten glass into works of art before their very eyes. The Irish Handmade Glass Company aims to keep the craft of glassblowing and cutting alive, and to create beautiful, luxury glassware.
Your handmade glass bauble was curated for you to remind you of the importance of love, loyalty, and friendship this Christmas. We love the emerald green colouring that works perfectly with the Claddagh symbol, stunningly hand etched onto the surface of the bauble. We adore this special piece and we are sure you that you will find the perfect place in your home for it this Christmas.
Based in County Wicklow, Real Ireland Design 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 thought you would like to see a beautiful image of Ireland every month next year with this lovely calendar.
The Ursula Celano brand is all about designs that say 'Ireland'. Ursula's designs are award winning and have featured in Showcase Ireland's best 50 products each year that she has exhibited. Each of her designs are uniquely Irish yet contemporary. Her stationary might feature a girl jauntily riding a Dublin Bike, a tractor or a donkey! Her tea towels and aprons are pretty with prints of little Irish lambs and her oven gloves are decorated with funky shamrocks! Ursula also uses patterns of rolling hills as well as Irish dancers and cottages! We thought that her Irish dancer notebook would add a little Irish fun to New Year!
We were delighted when then talented Claire Kamber contacted us with a view to working together this year. We had been following her lovely Instagram posts that showcased her unique craft work and we had been waiting for the perfect moment to choose one of her pieces for MyIrelandBox subscribers. Claire is a trained map-maker! We think that is pretty cool. She merges this map making knowledge with her passion for picking and pressing wild flowers, her love for handmade papers and her very evident talent in craft making.
Claire uses modern paper cutting techniques to pair the map of Ireland with real shamrocks, vintage stamps and old book pages. The combinations are endless and are all Irish-themed. Be assured that these map of Ireland gift tags are just a taste of this maker's work. There is more to come from Claire in future MyIrelandBoxes! We think you will be very popular with a recipient of a Christmas gift that has this cute Ireland tag attached to it!
The November MyIrelandBox
It goes without saying that chefs love food. But what do chefs cook at home?
Trevis L Gleason has gathered together nearly thirty of the chefs of Dingle, County Kerry – named as Irelands inaugural “#1 Foodie Town” by the Restaurant Association of Ireland in 2015 – and asked them just that.
Not only do we find out what these talented chefs would cook, the accomplished author wends us through the backstory of rogues and family men and women alike who live in the world behind the swinging doors. You will learn why they shifted their lives to Dingle – many of them from other countries – and the stories of traditional foods and avant-garde gastronomy from the personalities who have come to make Dingle an unlikely culinary outpost on the edge of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.
You’ll meet the talent under the toques, the passion behind every plate. Dinners from Dingle is made up of recipes for exquisite 3-course menus for six with recipes of renowned chefs and talented comers alike. From famous restaurant kitchens to favourites of everyday West Kerry dinning, the best of Dingle’s food scene is represented in this beautiful book.
Menus range from a pizza party for the kids and cousins to a traditional roast duck dinner with all the trimmings and several other favourites from the tables of the chefs’ mothers and grandmothers. There is even a dramatic preparation of leg of lamb roasted in front of an open fireplace and served with an American twist on an Irish classic – Sweet Potato & Mustard Green Colcannon!
With rich food stylings and artistic photography to accompany mouth-watering recipes. We do trust that its beautiful pages will become dog-eared from use as the recipes become family staples and dinner party standards in your home!
Nestled in the Irish countryside overlooking the serene view of Dingle Bay lies a cottage with a half door. It is in this magical setting that Juli Malone creates her Dingle Druid natural beauty and aroma products. Juli grew up in Dingle deep within the Irish countryside and from childhood has felt inspired by Mother Nature. In her beautiful garden she grows all of the plants that she requires to make natural beauty products. Honey bees live on the land with her and provide the beeswax and honey that she uses in her soaps and balms. We love that the pure clean water added to each lovingly made batch of all of her creations is fetched from her very own well! We have been excited to send you some of Juli's 'Gratitude Spray' to enrich your Thanksgiving with a bounty of treasures from the Irish Countryside that will create feelings of relaxation, peace and harmony, joy and of course, gratitude. Juli brings you Irish Dandelion and Irish Nettle essence from her garden to enable you to accomplish your wishes and to invoke feelings of resilience and completeness. You must read the card attached to each special bottle and you will also learn that the Dingle Druid Rosemary Essence will help to remember your souls dream and to awaken and recall who you truly are. It will bring clarity and help you to remember your ancestors and their teachings.
Enjoy it. We adore it.
Ewe Sir is an Irish paper goods and textile range by the lovely artist Molly Ellis. Her wildlife art is designed with the individual character and personality of each animal in mind to awaken Irish nature in the hearts and homes of the owner. Each piece stitches together the connection between human and animal to evoke a kindred spirit. Molly lives on the Irish coast in the picturesque town of Caherciveen in the west of Ireland. Her home is beautifully situated at the base of a forest and Molly loves exploring the wild nature of the Irish countryside.
Molly's illustrations are inspired by her devotion to animals and birds and her desire to capture their spirit and personality is realised in her creations . Molly trails the countryside, forests and Irish coasts hoping to glimpse and study each little creatures unique traits.
We really wanted to send you a pair of Christmas Cards in The November MyIrelandBox so that you will have time to send them to a friend or family member on time for Christmas Day. Of course, you could always do as we do and frame one to make a lovely festive decoration.
Ulster Weavers Home Fashions is a home textiles company based in Holywood, Northern Ireland and this maker can trace its history back to the nineteenth century.
The Ulster Weaving Company was originally founded in 1880. Throughout the late 19th and early 20th century, the Company continued to spin, weave, bleach and finish the high quality linen for which Ireland and Ulster had become famous the world over.
During the 1960’s the Ulster Weaving company brought these years of textile expertise to the kitchen textile sector – specialising at first in Irish Linen Tea Towels and over the years expanding the range to include all types of kitchen co-ordinates, bags and giftware.
Ulster Weavers Home Fashions prides itself on the production of high quality linen and textile products. Every product is designed in Northern Ireland and the company still relies on the knowledge 135 years in the production of textiles. This tea towel was just perfect to include in the November MyIrelandBox when many subscribers are expressing gratitude and making toasts! Pass this Irish made tea towel around the dining table and read out the Irish toasts to each other! Have fun!
The October MyIrelandBox
We met Bernadette from Dúinn Designs at the beginning of the year and we loved the contemporary style of her creations.
Bernadette is a textile designer of old and took some time out from her craft to look after her children. Her daughter ignited the design flame one school evening after coming home very excited about the great Irish myth and legend of “The Táin and the Brown Bull of Cooley”. She was so full of the story that Bernadette began thinking about the many great myths and legends and stories of Ireland.
Dúinn means “for us” and it provided the platform to start designing patterns for a sophisticated contemporary Ireland using Irish myths and legends and iconic symbols of Ireland as inspiration.
Like ourselves when we are curating each month's surprises for you, Bernadette is now inspired by Irish icons, heritage sites, characters with folklore, myths and legends. She creates designs with a modern twist using creative patterns and subtle colours reminiscent of Irelands lands, seas and skies.
Ewe Sir is an Irish paper goods and textile range by the lovely artist Molly Ellis.
Her wildlife art is designed with the individual character and personality of each animal in mind to awaken Irish nature in the hearts and homes of the owner. Each piece stitches together the connection between human and animal to evoke a kindred spirit.
Molly lives on the Irish coast in the picturesque town of Caherciveen in the west of Ireland. Her home is beautifully situated at the base of a forest and Molly loves exploring the wild nature of the Irish countryside.
Molly's illustrations are inspired by her devotion to animals and birds and her desire to capture their spirit and personality is realised in her creations . Molly trails the countryside, forests and Irish coasts hoping to glimpse and study each little creatures unique traits.
This beautiful creation of Molly's is not just seen as a puffin paperweight, it is a collectible, a piece of art in its own right..We use ours as a handcooler…it feels soothing to have it between your hands!
We have read many stories about the Skellig Michael of old and the monks that lived there in the beautiful beehive huts. We searched for an image that would depict a Skellig Michael of ancient times to share with you and we found the perfect one by Gosling Gifts and Games.
Graham and his wife Mary set up the thriving family-run business that is Gosling Gifts and Games in the late 1980's.
Mary grew up in West Cork where, at the age of 19, she opened a tea room for summer visitors overlooking the beach near her family home. Mary’s excursions over to London to work during the winter months brought her and Graham together.
While bringing up their children in West Cork, Graham and Mary ran a guest house welcoming visitors from all over the world. Evenings were often spent discussing their guests’ travels and helping to plan itineraries for the following day. Out of that experience they set up Gosling Games and Gifts, creating games of travels around the Emerald Isle and in recent years Mary has collaborated with celtic artist Courtney Davis to develop a fabulous range of new products including magnets and homewares!
We come from the fishing town of Dingle and our own family have been fish merchants for decades. When we saw these Irish Sea greeting cards we had an inherent instinct that Sonia from Kilcoe Studios had captured the essence of the Irish Sea and it's inhabitants perfectly. These contemporary and elegant cards are just lovely to send to someone special.
Kilcoe Studios is based in Skibbereen, County Cork and was created by two talented makers.
Eamon makes fine furniture from a mixture of Irish and European hardwoods, using age-old handcrafted techniques and Sonia Caldwell produces beautifully detailed watercolours. Inspired by her surroundings, the West Cork landscape, coast and countryside, designer/illustrator Sonia reproduces her paintings to create gorgeous and simple stationary items such as cards, calendars and information booklets. We love the presentation of this beautiful Irish Sea greeting card pack.
The August 'Sheep Themed' MyIrelandBox
Saturday Workshop is a small studio based in Dublin that was started by Edward and his daughter Iseult, who like to make objects together at the weekends…using traditional skills and new technologies to make wonderfully simple yet original wooden products from locally sourced native Irish hardwood.
Tinnakeenly leathers is a small family run leatherwork company, located in the beautiful Medieval village of Carlingford, County Louth. Since 1972, Humphrey Murphy and his talented team have produced leather craft using traditional manufacturing techniques to produce luxury items that are designed to last.
"I've finally found out what I want to do when I grow up!" - This is what Karen from Swinky Doo shouts from the rooftops when asked about her growing textile business. This Irish Sheep was made with love and passion inspired by the beautiful Irish landscape that this maker wakes up to every day!
The July MyIrelandBox
Trevis is a wonderful writer and manages perfectly to ensure that you dive straight in to the wonderful town of Dingle and to the world that he happened upon when he first entered 'the Town'.… so much so that you are almost in shock that you are not there when you look up from your book! We especially love the stories that unfold when visitors arrive at his little cottage. Trevis' story is uplifting, guiding, heartwarming, motivational and beyond doubt, ensures that you appreciate life and encourages one to be brave and strong in the face of fear. Enjoy it.
Máirín is a knitter from the Aran Islands who combines traditional elements of Aran knitting (e.g. cables, lattice work) with more modern techniques, such as seamless knitting, to create her own original designs. We discovered Máirín's adorable Aran knit bookmarks on our recent rambles around Ireland and we contacted her immediately.
Michael and Mark are two bearded men from Belfast with a passion for scent. We chose their Gorse candle as we are surrounded by this gorgeous plant here in West Kerry and the smell of it evokes the most wonderful memories of our childhood! It's the most brilliant way to bring a little bit of the Dingle Peninsula to subscribers in a MyIrelandBox!
We knew that Claire and her husband had a great sense of what really is Irish when we spotted their fun and quirky signs in a craft shop window! Trevis Gleason in the enclosed 'Chef Interrupted' book says that 'Hope without a plan is just a dream' and we thought that this was so motivating!
The June MyIrelandBox
We could not send an Irish Cottage MyIrelandBox to subscribers without including a St Brigid's cross! This would have been found in every traditional Irish cottage around the country and is still placed in homes to protect them! Founded in 2011, SNOW is a design and laser-cutting company run husband and wife team Fiona Snow and Michael Mohler. They utilise digital fabrication in appropriate ways to enable the development of objects that are seen in Irish design shops all over Ireland!
We had been secretly working with Helen Magee of Hairy Fruit Art over the past few weeks leading up to this month in the making and designing of this 'Irish Cottage' inspired notebook that is unique to treasured MyIrelandBox subscribers. We love the little Irish Blessing that we chose to be printed on it.
Helen Magee is a long established Wicklow artist and member of the Design and Craft Council of Ireland. Her designs are inspired by anything from the beautiful Irish countryside and local gardens in County Wicklow (known as 'The Garden of Ireland'), and from her life growing up in a home with a Mum who is a fine artist with a great eye for color and a natural flair for interior design.
We bring your the symbol of Ireland in the shamrock and also the old Irish tradition of embroidery in this cute lavender bag by Samuel Lamont & Sons.
Samuel Lamont & Sons Ltd is a family business which has been manufacturing and supplying a wide range of house-hold textiles for almost 200 years!
René produces her gorgeous handmade pieces from a small studio in her Belfast home as well as the Belfast Print Workshop.
It is clear from her evident talent that René has ancestry links to the linen industry. Her mother's family were flax growers and on her father's side were expert flax millers. What we especially love about René's work is that her beautiful products often include words in gaeilge … again reconnecting with her homeland.
We chose this piece as not only would a tea towel be seen in a typical Irish cottage, but the Irish words for other products typically found in such an abode are printed thereon … such as Siúcra (sugar), Tae (tea) and of course, 'Bainne' (milk)!
The Ursula Celano brand is all about designs that say 'Ireland' and we have included her wonderful products in the past. Each of her designs are uniquely Irish yet contemporary.
Ursula's Traditional Irish barns print is reminiscent of the old style sheds or barns that are found close to the Irish cottages of old, deep with the heart of the countryside. As we see these old barns or outhouses (some converted now to houses!) within many green fields in Ireland, it seemed right to include a nod to them in this month's Irish Cottage themed MyIrelandBox.
Ireland is a magical land of fairies, and the Irish people have been telling stories of these mystical beings for hundreds, maybe thousands of years. David creates various enchanted doors so that fairies, leprechauns and all their friends enter your world.
The May MyIrelandBox
Giolla, one of 4 children, was born in the West of Ireland from a line of carpenters and craftsmen. Each piece created by Giolla is handcrafted in the family workshop under the Sliabh an Iarainn mountain in County Leitrim.
Wood and sunlight seem to go naturally together. For Giolla Liddy it means using the woodworking skills he learned as a child to create a range of beautiful moon suncatchers, iris suncatchers and ring suncatchers which throw dazzling rainbows of light all around. Set in the window to catch the light, the suncatchers, made in a range of woods and Asfour crystal shapes, create a spectrum of coloured light on the dullest of days – just beautiful….
Judith Ritchie runs her wonderful jewellery business from Ireland's capital -Dublin City! We discovered her new line of treasures earlier in the year and we decided that we must work together to create this piece inspired by the Three Sisters hill range on the Dingle Peninsula.
We wished for our subscribers to, in some small way, keep the hills of Ireland close to them…
Stephen Flynn is an artist who is based on the Dingle Peninsula. He is clearly inspired by the most beautiful coastline and countryside that surrounds him. This image is of a painting of his with the beautiful montbretia that lights up our hedgerows during the late summer months and the alluring Three Sisters gracing the background.
The April MyIrelandBox
A lovely nod to Easter this year! Jenny is wowing Irish design enthusiasts with her beautiful creations. She has been described by one of our national newspapers, The Irish Examiner, as "A leading light among this new generation”.
We love this artist's work! Take a look at her pieces over at www.deirdremckenna.com. She is from Dingle, Co. Kerry and is inspired by the bog, the ocean (she once sailed from Dingle to Spain on a Jeanie Johnson replica ship!), the Wild Atlantic Way, Irish culture and the 'Wren Boys'.
The original limited edition etching in your April MyIrelandBox is worth over $60 USD and is of Tory lighthouse in Donegal - one of the famous lighthouses along the Wild Atlantic Way. We love Deirdre's work and her enthusiasm for Irish traditions.
After the closure of the Waterford Crystal factory in Waterford City Ireland in January 2009, a group of master craftsmen with a combined total of over 130 years experience in glass- making, came together and made the decision to set up a glass making facility of their own in the very heart of Waterford City.
Your handmade glass bird was curated for subscribers to give luck, to admire, to hold for comfort and to think of Ireland, the Wild Atlantic Way that adorns its western shoreline and the beautiful birds that have happily made it their home.
Described as Ireland’s most spectacular natural wonder, at the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way, the Cliffs of Moher are simply awe inspiring.
Kelly Cards are publishers of quality Irish made greeting cards and they are based in Baileborough, a small lively town in County Cavan, Republic of Ireland.
St Patrick's Day March MyIrelandBox
In Dublin recently we stumbled upon Louise's very cute and contemporary work. We just loved how she managed to take our national symbols and make them trendy and fitting for inclusion in today's homes. Louise has over 20years experience in this graphic design. She worked as a Senior Designer in leading Advertising and Design agencies in Liverpool and Dublin.
Louise was prompted to set up her own business after initially designing bespoke wedding stationery for family and friends. Through word-of-mouth, demand for unique invitations grew rapidly and then, Impact Design was born!
We were delighted to work with Louise for the St Patrick's Day MyIrelandBox! She says that your card may be framed or indeed, sent to someone who would love a little taste of Ireland.
The makers at Erin Knitwear specialise in hand-knitting and the business was set up in 1965 by Tom and Sally Lane. The company began by producing both traditional and fashionable Aran hand-knits and accessories for ladies, gents and children. All of their gorgeous products are hand knit using 100% wool.
Let us know how you wear your little sheep. We would love for you to post a photograph of your sheep corsage on Instagram or on Facebook and tag us (@myirelandbox)!
We bumped in to Bernie Everard recently and we were very happy that we did! She is a creator and her chosen material is slate. It’s heavy, rough around the edges and, as Bernie says, 'frustratingly non-uniform', but that’s what she loves about it. It’s a natural material, 500 million years in the making. Not quite perfect but perfectly beautiful. Bernie designs and crafts slate products in her family’s business premises in Co Kildare, Ireland. She advises that 'Mother Nature took her time to make our raw material. All our craftspeople have to do is coax out the unique beauty in each piece of slate - to find the diamond in the rough. The slate is cut by hand into the shape we need. It's a tricky process and requires a steady hand. It's here where we notice how different one piece of slate can be from another. It's a challenge but also part of the joy of working with a natural material.'
Bernie and her team collaborated with 'Doodle Art' to bring you this beautiful piece that depicts the Irish heritage, culture and landscape and combines this with ancient natural slate. We hope you love this piece as much as we do!
The Wild Goose Studio in Kinsale Co. Cork Ireland is a family run business that has been designing and making gifts to inspire the imagination since 1970. Together with leading Irish artists and craftspeople, Wild Goose has created a unique range of artefacts which combine heritage with the contemporary inspired by Irish myths, legends and history. We chose the Shamrock hanging decoration especially for St Patrick's Day and to be hung somewhere special to remind you of the Emerald Isle.
The February Grá (Love) MyIrelandBox
Nestled in the Irish countryside overlooking the serene view of Dingle Bay lies a cottage with a half door. It is in this magical setting that Juli Malone creates her Dingle Druid natural skincare range. Juli grew up in Dingle, deep within the Irish countryside and from childhood has felt inspired by Mother Nature. Her own honey bees buzz around the cottage, providing the beeswax and honey that Juli uses when making her natural skincare products and candles. We love that the pure clean water added to her products are from her very own well! We were really excites to send our subscribers Juli's beeswax candles.
We collaborated with Vanessa Scott-Hayward of Six0Six Design to create these perfect pencils enwrapped in an inspiring extract from the Irish Constitution - 'Relying in the First on Her Own Strength She Strikes With Full Confidence of Victory!'. We had never seen this quote written on its own anywhere before and we sent it in poster form to subscribers last year. Now it is on a pencil and we hope that it brings you strength in 2017! Vanessa studied Architecture at the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow and then completed an apprenticeship in the family business designing and making bespoke furniture.
This experience encouraged Vanessa to establish her business, Six0Six Design. From her workshop in County Kildare, Vanessa hand covered each pencil using these wonderful quotes, making every one pencil unique and different from the other.
Anita Elliott and Martin Gleeson are the talented designers behind Clover Rua. They design and print a range of gift ware that celebrates the richness of Irish design, culture and architecture. They hand screen print irish linen cushions, tea towels and aprons and design prints, notebooks and greeting cards. Clover Rua recently won a first place award at Showcase Ireland in the Homeware category. Supporting Irish manufacturers is central to their business, and all their prints, greeting cards and notebooks are 100% Irish made - of course we would accept nothing less! We were delighted to rediscover Anita recently and when we saw her Grá print, we knew that it would be perfect to include in our love themed MyIrelandBox.
Get the box of tissues out, this one’s a tear jerker…if you find the world of romance to be sometimes overwhelming!
The poet and musician have always been held in high esteem in Ireland. There are certain songs that, through intimate expressions of love, are part of the fabric of our national identity. One of Ireland's most iconic images is of Luke Kelly, eyes shut tight, head thrown back, delivering 'On Raglan Road' from deep in his heart. However, if one of our favourite poets, Patrick Kavanagh, had never encountered a young medical student from County Kerry, we would never have been graced with this national treasure. This lively account uncovers how this and other great love songs came to be, and includes engaging biographies of the songwriters and their muses.
The January MyIrelandBox
'Tea and Talk', by one of our favourite Irish authors, Alice Taylor. We are so delighted to share her newest novel with you. Alice manages to remind the reader to appreciate the simple things in life and invites you to her parish, her world, in Innishannon, County Cork. This is a special, warm and enjoyable read and we hope that you love it as much as we do.
Máire McKeogh's creations provoke a reminder of Ireland past and present. Her designs have been described as 'Fresh, cultural and nostalgic', evoking fond memories and celebrating the generosity and love of Irish friends and families.
‘Sealed with Irish Love’ is a creation of creative Irish gifts and homeware for people looking for a flavour of Ireland in their homes. Máire McKeogh hand-draws traditional Irish imagery - the village water pumps, the old cottage, old signposts (all seen throughout the Dingle peninsula where we live!) and the old Irish bicycle for example. She then combines these images of old Ireland with bold, geometric patterns.
Alix Mulholland works from a tiny cottage nestled in the Mourne Mountains of County Down and says that she has ‘tried to “bottle” all that is lovely about Irish life and Ireland's landscape and wishes to share it with everyone’. Creating beautiful scents is at the heart of their business, and Alix says 'there’s nothing quite like the power of a scent to bring treasured memories of childhood days or holidays in Ireland flooding back. We included this candle for you and we think that its scent is a wonderful way to bring a piece of Ireland in to your home whilst you read Tea and Toast and visit Alice's world in the parish of Innishannon.
The Ursula Celano brand is all about designs that say 'Ireland' and we have included her wonderful products in the past. She has some many gorgeous designs and styles that remind us of Ireland. We would love to surprise you with all of them!
Ursula's designs are award winning and have featured in Showcase Ireland's best 50 products each year that she has exhibited. Each of her designs are uniquely Irish yet contemporary. We have in the past included a similar Irish cottage tote for some subscribers that Ursula created with the old abodes of Ireland in mind - that still remain to be seen in our countryside. We imagined our subscribers popping their new book, candle, the Sealed with Irish Love mug and a flask of tea or coffee in to this tote and stealing off somewhere peaceful to enter into Alice Taylor's world that will bring you and your imagination to Ireland.
The December MyIrelandBox
When we met the team at McNutts and experienced the quality of this particular scarf we knew that we had to send it to our subscribers. We chose the gorgeous green shades as they represent the rolling green hills and landscape of Ireland! Since 1953 Donegal Woollen Mill has been producing high quality, 100% woollen products. All goods are manufactured locally with knowledge and skill that has been handed down from generation to generation. The mill, now over 60 years old, is based in Downings, Co. Donegal.
From Tullow, County Carlow, Rachel Gilsenan creates the nicest knitted toys and quirky home ware designs that we have seen! We discovered Rachel on Instagram and after getting to know her and seeing the quality of her work, we learned how passionate and dedicated she is to her knitting craft. This little Irish fairy was designed exclusively for MyIrelandBox subscribers.
Based in County Wicklow, Real Ireland Design 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 thought you would like to see a beautiful image ofIreland every month next year with this lovely calendar.
When Sonia of Kilcoe Studios contacted us during the Summer to let us in on her plan to create Christmas cards we knew that they would be just perfect in the December Christmas MyIrelandBox! Featuring seasonal ivy and birch, these images are prints of original watercolors. Sonia knows how to capture the essence and beauty of Irish nature at Christmas perfectly in print. Kilcoe Studios is based in Skibbereen, County Cork and was created by Eamon who makes fine furniture from a mixture ofIrish and European hardwoods, using age-old handcrafted techniques.
The November Thanksgiving MyIrelandBox
Helen Magee is a long established Wicklow artist and member of the Design and Craft Council of Ireland. Her designs are inspired by anything from the beautiful Irish countryside and local gardens in County Wicklow (known as 'The Garden of Ireland'), retro art and design principally the '60's and '70's, and from her life growing up in a home with a Mum who is a fine artist with a great eye for color and a natural flair for interior design. These 'Céad Míle Map' oven gloves are just perfect to bring a little bit of Ireland in to your home this Thanksgiving!
This recipe book is so special for so many reasons. Not only are the proceeds destined for a really great cause (Temple Street Children's Hospital) but some of the most popular chefs in Ireland have shared really special (and until now 'secret') recipes with us. Our favorite recipes are the BQ Baby Back Ribs from TriBeCa and that really super Superfood Salad!. We would absolutely love it if you shared what you have cooked or baked with us on Instagram or even Facebook! (Make sure you get those oven gloves in the photo too!). There may very well be a surprise for the most delicious looking dish!
We asked Karyn to create a hanging decoration for your home this Thanksgiving that would bring the Irish kitchen right in to yours this month. The Irish are known for putting on the kettle and having a 'cupán tae' especially when visitors arrive!
The October MyIrelandBox
We are partial to the odd seaweed bath here in MyIrelandBox. We had our first one in Strandhill, Co.Sligo years ago and we felt that we had been brought back in time to old Ireland when seaweed baths were found throughout the country!
Mungo Murphy's Seaweed Co. uses only sustainably hand-harvested seaweed from the West of Ireland in the making of its seaweed bath products, bringing the wild energy of the sea, to the cosy comfort of your home.
We met sisters Jacki and Nicole at last January's Showcase Ireland Event. To merge this beautiful scenery that we see every day here in West Kerry (Have you been following us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook (@MyIrelandBox) to our images?) with fashion is in our opinion just genius!
Their wonderful bags and purses made with sustainably sourced materials, feature images of photographs from Irish coastal and waterside areas.
At it Again design and create pocket guides, notebooks, cards and posters themed to classic literature. All of their products are created, designed and printed in Dublin, Ireland, on sustainable material. The illustration on this greeting card features a quote from the original Gothic novel 'Dracula', (written by Bram Stoker who was born in Dublin) where as in a dream, three voluptuous women mysteriously appear to seduce Jonathan Harker. A perfect card for Halloween and our little nod to all things spooky!
Nestled in the Irish countryside overlooking the serene view of Dingle Bay lies a cottage with a half door. It is in this magical setting that Juli Malone creates her Dingle Druid natural skincare. Honey bees live on the land with her and provide the beeswax and honey that she uses during the process. We love that the pure clean water added to each lovingly made batch of natural skincare is fetched from her very own well! This gorgeous soap blanketed in Irish wool felt was the perfect option to choose from her range. This is because in olden days here in Ireland, sheep's wool was wrapped around soap as an exfoliant. Those ancestors of our were smart! We wanted to take you back in time with this lovely natural product!
The September MyIrelandBox
The Giant Irish Elk, now extinct, is believed to have roamed the lowlands of central and eastern Ireland, weighing up to 800-1000 lbs. and stood at 2 metres at the shoulder. With antler width of up to 4 metres, ( and weighing up to 35kg) these are the largest antlers know to have existed on any deer. It is understood these Irish Elk were a victim of the Ice Age, finally disappearing from Ireland around 10,500 years ago.
We have had our eye on Saturday Workshop's handmade treasures for the last year now and we were delighted when we finally got the opportunity to work with Iseult and her father Edward this month.
Saturday Workshop is a small workshop based in Sandymount, Dublin that was started by Edward and Iseult O’Clery, who like to make objects together at the weekends! Iseult is a full time Architect and so…they make all of their handmade products together on Saturdays!