We are featuring all Irelands Eye Knitwear and Keith Jack Jewelry starting Monday, February 18 through Saturday, March 16. Make a purchase and get 10% off any item from these fine crafters. Like most of the items we carry, our support of these makers is as much about their story as it is about the quality of their product.
On Valentine's day we think of love, romance, passion, Ireland... It's a cool and dreary island, with frequent gray days which makes for a passionate group of folks! Let's look at some Irish (there are too many to list here) terms of affection: A chara (uh KHAR-uh): This means friend Mo anam chara (mo anum KHAR-uh): Soul friend, this differs from soul mate, as it can be used in a less romantic sense, and more of a spiritual sense. A stór (uh stohr): My treasure, can be used for a romantic love or for a child, a more general endearment.
ShanOre Claddagh birthstone ring I cannot count how many times, we've had a customer ask "where to you get all this?" Good question! Terry buys from many places, including Ireland, Scotland, England, and even trade shows in New York and Las Vegas. Let's take a look at where she buys some of the exclusive treasures you love. Ireland: Once a year in Dublin there is a trade show called Showcase Dublin, billed as "the best of Irish creativity in one of Europe's most vibrant cities"; where artists and craftspeople from Ireland congregate to set up a booth to showcase (see?) their goods. Among these are some familiar names: Branigan Weavers, Jimmy Hourihan, John Hanly, Mucros Weavers, Mullingar pewter ShanOre Irish Jewelers, Fado Jewelry, and Hannah Hats. This is also where Ireland's best and brightest new artists, craftspeople and designers come to present their goods for sale to shopkeepers around the globe. Some of the individual artisans Terry has found there include: Skaramanda jewelry, Ian Carty ceramics, Ian Carty Ceramics Candle Pot BombyxMORI silk and felted wool scarves, and Siobhan hats and capes. Great Britain: Many of the pieces from Great Britain are companies that are at Showcase Dublin such as: A E Williams Pewter, St. Justin Pewter from Cornwall, and many others. New York: There are a multitude of trade shows in New York, recently Terry has been travelling there to gather pieces from all over, to increase the fair trade collections in The Celtic Ranch. Among these are: Copper and tin ornaments from Thailand and India, and leather goods from India. While these are not specifically Irish companies, they embody the Irish spirit of supporting small artists. These pieces come from companies who improve the quality of life of small villages, creating a means of support, and in many cases enabling schools and housing to be built for the residents by selling the goods they make. Caring for each other, seeing each person as a treasure: definitely Irish, very much The Celtic Ranch. She has also found some companies making quality scarves and t-shirts, which complement Irish sweaters beautifully, and several jewelry businesses, one of which is producing some of our own designs. Las Vegas: Yowza! One of the largest markets in the country takes place in Las Vegas, and it is HUGE (think several football fields). This has been a resource for some of the more whimsical gift lines, many of which are in our forest. Little notebooks, fairy statues, gnomes, and of course more clothing to complement the Irish sweaters. US small artisans: Terry has found several small artisans who create the pieces you see in the store; our nail crosses, hearts, nativities are designed by well known artist Travis Burford, who has passed away, but whose legacy lives on. Terry also sources smaller businesses to purchase the wooden signs, and the horseshoe pieces. So, where do we get these treasures? EVERYWHERE! Terry is a busy traveller and cherry picks the best from all over just for YOU.
It’s nearing St. Valentine’s Day and love abounds. Chocolate, wine and roses are popular gifts for a reason, but a true romantic will go straight for the heart with a gift of the Claddagh ring. The ring represents one of Ireland’s loveliest traditions. No one is completely certain who invented the original Claddagh ring, but both stories are beautiful. One tells of a young widow who returned to Ireland, used her wealth to invest in her home town of Galway, fell in love and remarried an Irishman, then was rewarded for her faithfulness and good deeds when an eagle flew by and dropped the first Claddagh ring in her lap. The second story tells of Richard Joyce, a fisherman from the town of Claddagh, who was kidnapped, torn from his true love, and taken to northern Africa. While there he became a goldsmith apprentice and created the ring’s distinctive design. Years later, he was freed and returned to Ireland - ring in hand - to marry his true love. The endearing symbol is two hands clasping a heart topped with a crown, symbolizing love, loyalty and fidelity. There’s a specific way to wear a Claddagh ring:
- Single and available? Wear the ring on the right hand with the bottom of the heart pointing toward the fingertips.
- In a relationship? Keep it on your right hand, but point the bottom of the heart toward your wrist.
- Engaged? Move the ring to your left hand, bottom of the heart pointing to your fingertips.
- Married and committed forever? Wear it on your left hand with the bottom of the heart pointing toward your wrist.