ISLE magazine: Christmas Markets and Irish Handmade Gifts

Today is December 1st ! The countdown is seriously on now for getting all ready for the big day.  We previously published our 10 Irish Food Gift Ideas on our blog so hope you’ll find that list helpful. We feel most people enjoy to be treated to special food gifts.

Christmas markets all opened throughout Ireland last week and while many will stay open all through December – some will only be open for one or two days. We’ve compiled a list of some of those coming up.  They are a great place to buy not only Irish food gifts along but also other  handmade Irish gifts.  We’ll list what we can here but also check out our Facebook page – starting today we’ll be doing the 12 Days of Christmas gift ideas as well.

Christmas Markets:

Opening this Thursday and running until December 7, the National Craft and Design Fair is held at the RDS in Dublin.  Here at ISLE we always find a wonderful range of gifts here to brighten your home or fill your kitchen cupboards and it is a source of great inspiration and networking for us.

Some of our favourite finds from last year included – the beautiful wooden handmade toys made by Sicilian Rosario Calandra who lives in Tralee, Co. Kerry. His business is VentryToy.

Gnome and Fox from Ventry Toy

Gnome and Fox from Ventry Toy

Another company that we featured in the 5th Issue of the magazine and discovered at the RDS last year is Mairi Stone. Her ceramics  are inspired by nature and the sea and to be honest this is the latest thing we want to collect but we’ll have to take it one piece at a time – somehow! We adore her use of colour!

Selection of Mairi Stone pieces.

Selection of Mairi Stone pieces – photo courtesy of Mairi Stone.

We also love Red Rufus Sock Dogs and have been following them on Twitter for many years now and have watched their range continue to grow and flourish.  Many of them are really colourful, striped and fun – suited for both children and adults they are happy products that will make anyone’s day.

A pile of Red Rufus Sock Dogs

A pile of Red Rufus Sock Dogs

Put on your walking shoes and make sure you bring enough cash! It is well worth the trip to the RDS.

Ireland’s longest running Christmas market is in Galway. Now in its 5th year, The Continental Christmas Market in Eyre Square runs until 22 December. More than a market – this is an overall Christmas experience with over 50 traders, Santa and much more.

Glow, a Cork Christmas Celebration, opens this Friday and runs until 21 December.  They’ll have a ferris wheel on the Grand Parade, a craft & design pop-up shop, 2 Pantos including Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty plus entertainment and much more.              

Northern Ireland – In Belfast, I’ve previously mentioned St. Georges Market, but at Christmas time this market is especially good with the addition of lots of local craftspeople plus there is another market around the City Hall (which is already open and runs until 21 December) so if you are looking to go off on a shopping trip to Belfast – this is the time to do so.

Christmas Market at City Hall Belfast - photo by Eddie Cleary

Christmas Market at City Hall Belfast – photo by Eddie Cleary

In Derry the Christmas Market opens on 28 November and runs until 21 December. They’ll have an ice rink, craft wines & beer, a music stage and much more.

On Sunday, 7th December for one day only there is a Christmas Fair at Duckett’s Grove in Co. Carlow. We visited this splendid ruin in September and hope to get to the Christmas Fair too which has stalls with food and crafts. They have a craft shop and tea shop there as well but the main house is abandoned . On the day we visited, see photos below, we had fantastic light and the house made a fabulous photography subject.  Click here for more on the Duckett’s Grove Christmas Fair 


Duckett's Grove

Duckett’s Grove

There are of course, many other Christmas Markets and Craft Fairs on throughout Ireland – check out the Discover Ireland website for more suggestions in your county.  There are plenty to choose from!!

Happy Christmas and Happy Shopping!