It’s been an exceedingly tough year for Irish businesses, so with just a few days to go for online orders here’s some great ideas for gifts from local companies – including streamed concerts and a glass of good cheer.  

Amazon doesn’t need your support or your cash for more junk made in China, so have a look at some of the gorgeous crafts, toys, handmade gifts and more which you can still get delivered to someone special for Christmas. Order today to squeak in the door before Christmas Day.

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FOR THE KIDS

Irish Fairy Houses
This is the prettiest gift for any child who loves fairy stories.

The colour and intricate detail is just beautiful – and the fairy houses are made from Irish wood with decorative door, moss, windows, foliage, steps, toadstool, swing, and usually a dotey wee clothes line.

There are still a few left for Christmas so order fast from https://www.facebook.com/irishfairyhouses/

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MacTíre Kids

Aoife Rose Designs is a business supplying handmade “fun and funky” baby clothes made by a busy mum of six. Check out the brilliant ‘dragon’ hoodies or the snazzy linen dungarees.

 

Her website Mac Tíre also stocks soft baby clothes from Alba and these absolutely cracking baby grows with dotey messages.

 

One of these gorgeous handmade frames will brighten any child’s room and make a lovely thoughtful present.

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FOR GORGEOUS CRAFTS

 

Michelle’s Home Grown Home

Based in Cork, this local business ships nationwide – and packages all the handmade gifts made by Michelle and her family to perfection.

There are hand-poured candles, candle-making kits, bath salts – all made or infused with organic flowers and herbs grown in the garden. Check out sweet crafty gifts like hand-made wreaths, bunting and coathooks.

One product that brings customers back again and again are the stunning bars of homemade soaps, which are beautiful to behold. “Close your eyes and imagine yourself holding a large bouquet of an assortment of wildflowers in your hands. Inhale their scent. These soap bars emanate a breath of clover flowers, honeysuckle, lavender with a hint of lemon. You can feel the sun on your skin & the fragrance on the wind through a wildflower meadow,” says Home Grown Home and in my experience it’s true. The soap is made using quality natural ingredients including organic Shea Butter and sweet almond oil.

They also sell a lavender bag, which works wonders to calm the spirits for everyone trying to work remotely at home while the dog is barking and the kids are fighting over playstation.

See the shop on Etsy or on their website – and get your orders in before Friday!

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Frugal Flair

If you live in the north, this online florist makes gorgeous wreaths, centre-pieces and arrangements for a Christmas present or a stunning table for the big dinner.

Check out the beautiful colours and styles at https://www.facebook.com/Frugal-Flair-109753837104287/

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FOR SOME CHRISTMAS CHEER

Craft beer and local whiskeys and gins have been all the rage for a while now, but the lockdown should give us a new appreciation of what our local businesses are capable of. Ditch the Bud and pick some craft beers or a good whiskey or gin to warm the cockles of your heart this Christmas.

West Cork Whiskey produces award winning whiskey – triple distilled, matured for a minimum of three years and then bottled on site at its West Cork facility. Check out their shop and order in time to raise a glass. https://shop.westcorkdistillers.com/ie/

Or have some craft beer delivered to share a toast through the window or by the fire. Four Provinces produce “distinctly Irish beer” crafted in small batches, packed up and delivered specially for Christmas

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FOR THE GIFT OF MUSIC

Albums

Irish traditional music doesn’t have the massive promotional budget of other forms but it has the kind of soul and beauty that is literally inimitable. My fiddle-playing friend once told me that she buys trad CDs for Christmas presents because it’s a great way to introduce people to a part of their culture that they might never have really listened to.

Lots of newly issued albums can be found at up and coming labels like Raelach Records who have some real gems in their collection. Although lots of launches were postponed in the Year of Covid, one re-issued album is a must-buy for anyone interested in trad who hasn’t yet got a copy of the original from 1979.

Noel Hill and Tony Linnane are two master musicians from Clare, and this superb album showcases their brilliant musicianship and the heart in their renditions of some of the best tunes in the tradition.  They are joined by Matt Molloy, Alec Finn and Micheál O Domhnaill.
Get a copy here

Lorcán Mac Mathúna’s long awaited sean nós album, ‘An Bhuatais and the Meaning of Life’ will be launched tomorrow on Facebook at 8.30 and is an exploration of philosophy and the revelations and wisdoms of songs. A gift to put meaning back into Christmas or a for reflection after a difficult year.

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COLLECTIONS

If you want to learn new tunes – or give someone else a valuable teaching aid  – Carmel Gunning’s collection of 60 tunes is a superb present with lively exciting tunes and some beautiful slow airs.

 

Piper and famed teacher, Joe Doyle, has also issued several beautifully presented collections of tunes – dance tunes and airs- that he learned from the playing of celebrated pipers and singers. Joe has taught them over many years, often refining his versions to make them more accessible to his students, but never losing what he considers to be the piping essence of each tune.

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CONCERTS

We’ve all felt the pain of being denied gigs during the lockdowns so a present of a ticket to one of the many online performances would be well received.

Here’s Seán Kane on December 17th with a ‘by the hearth’ performance.

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AND THE GIFT OF MEMORY MAKING

One of the best presents I ever got was a gift voucher for a family photograph. Here’s two options that might work as a thoughtful present.

Magda Christie says if your family is the most important thing in the world to you she will try to capture that in her stunning photos.

 

And Marie O’Mahoney aims to create real, natural, honest images that reveal “that your life is beautiful and your love is more than enough, it is perfect. Just the way it is.”

 

 

Happy Christmas!