An (almost) definitive list to this island’s best independent stores.
This Black Friday marks the second year we’ve decided to eschew price slashing mania and big up the independent makers and doers working extra hard to create lovingly crafted goods for our stockings.
Food-lovers, design geeks and culture vultures are all catered for, as well plenty of offbeat gifts for the people you find trickiest to buy for. So think about deactivating that Amazon account and spend some bills in some of these great stores instead.
Indigo & Cloth is the word in high-end and considered menswear in Dublin with plenty of à-la-mode Scandinavian brands like Norse Projects, Sandqvist and Rains as well as ranges in men’s skincare and shaving, beautiful Irish-made ties from Loft and gorgeous INSTRMNT watches from Glasgow. If you know a well-heeled dude looking for something unique this Christmas these are your guys.
One of Ireland’s oldest clothing shops, Ó’Máille’s of Galway was the first ever retailer of Aran jumpers and even provided costumes for The Quiet Man. Nowadays they pride themselves on their artisanal, handwoven blankets, knitwear and wool as well as the quintessential Aran jumper. For ultimate props for authenticity get your woollen goods here.
Championing timeless design that can be handed down through the generations, Liadain Aiken’s gorgeous knitwear stands out from the sea of furry pom-pom beanies. Custom-made to order in a range of beautifully flecked Donegal Merino yarn, these are slow fashion items to be treasured, making them an ideal gift.
Positing itself as a ‘destination store’, Cork’s most progressive womenswear boutique Samui specialises in coveted names such as Marni, Acne and Alexander Wang. Every item in the shop has been very carefully chosen by the exacting eye of owner Clodagh Shorten, with plenty of statement pieces you won’t find anywhere else. Not for the light of wallet, these are definitely investment garments for someone special, or even an early Christmas present to yourself!
Tweed trackie bots? Yes, please! The Tweed Project is a Galway-based brand created by costume designer Triona Lillis and Ard Bia restaurateur Aoibheann McNamara. Quintessentially Irish fabrics such as linen and tweed have been reimagined for contemporary one off pieces such as tweed tracksuits and wool gilets. Exceptionally crafted and unique in their design, Tweed Project clothes are created slowly as an antidote to fast fashion culture. Each piece is made to order and intended to last a lifetime.
Tucked away on the first floor of this Wicklow Street building, you could easily blink and miss this little gem of a boutique. Owner and designer Sharon Beatty has lovingly assembled a collection of designer goods and original pieces, like timeless silk scarves and gorgeous knits. It’s the personal service and recommendations from Sharon that hark back to times gone by that really makes this a special shopping experience.
Up and coming knitwear designer Pearl Reddington’s pieces are bold and unique. Using traditional Irish knitwear techniques and fusing them with high fashion sensibilities, her aim is to raise Irish knitwear out of the craft realm and into couture. Currently stocked in Atrium in the Powerscourt Centre, Reddington’s pieces can also be custom ordered via her website.
While you’re waiting for Ireland’s most anticipated cultural biennial to return in 2018 why not get prepared with Drop Shop’s Inis Oírr-inspired gear. With a range of sweatshirts and t-shirts emblazoned with the signature DE metallic island and ‘Loveen’ in dreamy shades you’ll be transported out West in no time.
Vintage shop Nine Crows has a reputation for finding and selling statement pieces that you won’t get anywhere else. With locations in Dublin and Galway as well as a range of ‘re-worked’ items that sit outside of the usual vintage trends. A gift card for the shop makes an ideal gift for anyone who likes a good rummage in a vintage treasure trove.
Folkster is so much more than simply being the wedding dress destination for the entire of Kilkenny. With a second shop in Temple Bar, it takes prettiness the nth degree in its collection of gowns fit for a ball, alongside everyday wear and accessories. They do a lovely line in homewares, cards and gifts too and their pieces have been sported by your Amy Hubermans and your Angela Scanlons of the world.
Like Suami, Costume is a womenswear boutique that sells designer garments and accessories. Taking pride of place on Castle Market in Dublin, Costume has been a family affair for 20 years stocking sought after labels like Isabel Marant, Roland Mouret and Zadig & Voltaire amongst others.
Siopaella is a designer exchange shop that sells new and preowned clothing, accessories and handbags for women with a select range of menswear. If you have champagne dreams but a prosecco budget this is the place to indulge your fantasies and pick up a Chanel handbag, Louboutin shoes or Dior accessories.
Vintage and contemporary boutique Om Diva is packed with striking, alternative looks from forward-thinking Irish designers. Their Drury Street shop has its own atelier filled with up and coming Irish designers on the top floor and two floors of bold and memorable designs that are a far cry from oatmeal aran jumpers, erring more on the side of strong patterns and loud colours. Not only does Om Diva support Irish brands and young designers but the majority of their stock (and their jewellery in particular) is affordably priced.
Made Dublin is another design collective that are working out of the enviable surrounds of the Powerscourt Centre. Housing jewellers Chupi as well as a range of designers specialising in everything from knitwear to ready-to-wear fashion the aim of Made is to showcase some of the best contemporary design from Ireland and Europe. Made also stand over the provenance of their products, which is a great source of comfort for the ethically minded amongst us.
Tamp & Stitch have been championing independent clothes and jewellery design out of their compact Temple Bar coffee shop since 2012. With a range of unique pieces from Irish designers their shopping experience is a relaxed and tasty one and you’re unlikely to find any of their stuff on the masses. Their clothes feature plenty of bold prints and unusual patterns as well as plenty of vintage tailoring, perfect for someone who wants to stand out in the crowd.
Jewellery brand Chupi was founded by Chupi Sweetman (who worked as a designer for Topshop before starting her own venture). Her jewellery is simplistically beautiful and the majority of it incorporates naturalistic elements that reference the Irish landscape – earrings that resemble feathers, rings that look like twigs etc. Pretty without being fussy, Chupi Jewellery has become a firm favourite for people looking to nab an unusual engagement ring or a future family heirloom with a difference.
Tropical Popical is the brainchild of Andrea Horan and her sister Michelle who wanted to transport the energy and glamour of a California nail salon to Dublin. With its bright, kitchey interiors, great tunes and friendly staff it is as joyous a place as its name suggests. No style of nail is too OTT or outlandish, and the talented nail artists have an idea for just about every occasion.
Ansley Watches combines the refined and covetable design ideas of the Swedish with the emphasis on craft and heritage that comes naturally from Ireland. The result is a collection of unisex timepieces that are made in Meath and are designed to endure and become and item worth passing down from generation to generation. They also feature interchangeable straps so you can update them depending on the season or your mood.
Stocking a mix of high quality Irish and international clothes labels, Scout is renowned for its eye for forward-thinking and singular designers. With beautiful, intricate knits from Electronic Sheep, minimalist and functional design from YMC and bold colours and angles from backpack makers Le Bas and Baggu there are plenty of great pieces to pick up here that you won’t find anywhere else.
Open seven days a week in the leafy suburbs of Ranelagh, The Company of Books first opened its doors in Ranelagh Village in 2009 and has the cosy feel of a classic bookshop that you could dawdle in for hours. With a healthy selection of children’s, fiction and nonfiction books as well as cards and stationery this is a nice place to stop off to grab something for a book lover.
Beautiful designed and proud of its status ‘Independent Bookshop of the Year 2017’, The Gutter Bookshopcan be found in both Temple Bar and Dalkey. Harking back to the bookshops of yesteryear, these are community institutions that are dog-friendly, feature personal staff-picks and regularly host readings and events. With a range of genres and a particularly extensive children’s section, the staff are happy to help you choose the perfect tome.
The Library Project is an outlier in Dublin as a space dedicated solely to high quality art publications, ranging from satisfyingly weighty magazines to beautifully designed photography books. The Library Project is run in Temple Bar by the guys behind the PhotoIreland Festival, which means they have contacts and access to a range of exciting new work by Irish artists as well as a discerning eye for nicely produced international publications, which they sell in abundance. If you have a typography or photography fan in your life, this is the place to go.
For the literature buff that has everything, Ulysses Rare Books on Duke Street is stocked with incredibly rare editions from modern and contemporary Irish authors. Think James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, W.B Yeats, Brendan Behan and Seamus Heaney to name but a few. Opened in 1969 and part of the very exclusive Antiquarian Bookseller’s Association these guys have bona fide credentials and a curated gift guide for those new to the world of rare editions.
Tramp Press is an independent Irish publisher founded by Sarah Davis-Goff and Lisa Coen in 2014. Dedicated to finding and fostering talented Irish writers and publishing their work, Tramp made waves this year for announcing they would no longer be engaging with any writers who outed themselves as sexists who don’t read books by women. They clearly already have an eye, having published an impressive roster of brilliant writers including Thomas Morris, Sara Baume, Joanna Walsh, and Mike McCormack. If you’re looking to read the next wave of great Irish authors then buying a Tramp title is a must.
For fans of the ever-expanding world of Brother Hubbard their first cookbook will help you bring some of their Middle-East & Mediterranean-inspired magic home. Owner Garrett Fitzgerald released the cookbook last year, featuring 130 different recipes that showcase Brother Hubbard’s signature style and leanings towards fresh and often vegetarian foods as well as a raft of delicious sweet treats.
Hidden away below ground on Temple Bar’s Crow Street, All City Records has been furnishing the capital with vinyl and graffiti/street art products for more than 15 years. Not only this, its record label has been releasing a huge range of records from Irish and international artists including some excellent hip-hop and electronic cuts. If you have a graff lover or a crate digger in your life this is the place to buy from.
With retro games upstairs and a broad selection of records downstairs, R.A.G.E is another of our our favourite places to pick up vinyl in Dublin. Located on Fade Street, R.A.G.E. is the go to for lovers of old Nintendo and vinyl appreciators alike and they’ll also do trade ins.
Freebird Records is one of Dublin’s most discreet record shops, tucked away on Wicklow Street all but invisible to the naked eye in the ‘Secret Book and Record Store’. This is a great place to pick up second hand books, new and used vinyl and some CDs and DVDs as well. Freebird has been kicking about since 1978 in a variety of locations around the city so if crate digging and book shopping is your persuasion be sure to support a true Dublin institution.
Since the early 90s the Irish Film Institute has been concerned with programming a diverse and interesting range of films from the cult arthouse classic to the big-effects blockbuster. For anyone who still covets a cosy night at the cinema above all else an annual membership to the IFI will give them discounts on tickets, food at the delicious IFI café and even 10% off purchases in the IFI shop.
Food and Drink
Food and Drink
Serving authentic Chinese cuisine and expertly mixed cocktails in the setting of a 80s New York discotheque, eating in Hang Dai is not your average dining experience. Not only is the food and drink menu carefully curated, a custom-built Hatchett sound system adorns the neon interior with some of the country’s best DJs taking to the decks each weekend. Your gift card comes on a beautifully designed faux-metro card, making for a rather lovely gift to hand over on the big day.
The Woollen Mills is smack bang in the heart of the city overlooking the Ha’ penny Bridge. Putting an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients it serves an eclectic mix of cuisines including contemporary Irish and Middle Eastern. It also has its own bakery which makes a mouth watering selection of cakes, pastries and breads and a deli that’s open during the day serving salad and sandwiches.
Located on Camden Street and housed in an elegantly refurbished Victorian building with a cocktail bar built into the first floor, Delahunt brings old fashioned glamour back into dining. Serving food that reinvents Irish classics and an extensive array of cocktails, this is a great spot for occasion dining with a cheeky nightcap upstairs to finish off the night.
Aspiring baristas – or anyone that dreams of opening their own coffee shop – should make a 3FE brew class part of their R&D. This beginners class aims to introduce people how to accurately taste and brew coffee in an open, friendly environment, and once you’ve boned up on that you can start acquiring all the coffee gear and special blends of your dreams. Founder and CEO Colin Harmon has even written a book – ‘What I Know About Running Coffee Shops’ – to help you get started.
For those who prefer to leave the coffee making to the professionals Vice Coffee on Middle Abbey Street offers their version of the Chef’s Table, where participants sample a range of different origins, blends and brewing methods to delight your tastebuds and over-caffeinate your brain. Tasting Table vouchers are €30 and encompass 4 different ‘courses’ that include pour-overs, cappuccinos and even coffee cocktails. You’ll also get a bag of beans to take home.
While you’re pitched up in Vice Coffee, why not check out the mixologists’ heaven that is the Brew Tonic Drinks Shop. Gold-plated jiggers, ice mallets, strainers and a range of fancy bitters are on hand to up your home drinks game. Pair the gear with some nicely designed cocktail bibles and you’ll be off the premix Jack and Cokes in no time.
With an open-plan chocolate factory overlooking Skellig Michael in Kerry, Skelligs Chocolates Chocolate do a Christmas range that includes special hampers, festive flavoured truffles and even Christmassy chocolate lollipops. If you’re in their vicinity drop in and enjoy the magic of the chocolate making process, otherwise you can treat a chocolate-lover with some of their award-winning flavours by buying online.
Ó Conaill chocolate is a beloved Cork based chocolate brand with two outposts in Cork city and a beautifully packaged range of bars, baking and even a range of chocolate hurls. If you can’t make it down to visit them in person for a hot chocolate then you can order one of their Christmas hampers online.
Cocoa Atelier is a high end chocolate boutique on Dublin’s Drury Street. Hand pick your own combination of gorgeously finished Irish chocolates or macarons in a massive range of flavours before having the boxes are lovingly gift wrapped. They’ve got a great selection of Christmas flavours on the go as well including port & fig ganache, mulled wine spheres and gingerbread éclairs. Well worth indulging your sweet tooth for.
If you ever find yourself in Dingle, County Kerry make it your business to drop into Crinkle Stores. An artisan food store and takeaway coffee shop, Crinkle Stores was at the vanguard of Kerry’s foodie movement and features plenty of unique Irish products. With food, preserves, oils and even beauty products hailing from the peninsula this is a great way to package up a taste of the West and take it home.
Bean and Goose create beautifully packaged, single origin chocolate fused with unusual Irish flavours. Their Tasting Club subscription includes limited edition bars and tasting notes and information on producers for people who want to take a deeper dive with each bite. For those just looking for a taste you can also grab some single bars, Winter’s Bark, truffles or a collection of bars from their website.
Covering 3 floors of food, wine and fabulous produce Fallon & Byrne on Exchequer Street in Dublin is the kind of place you fall into and get lost in. With cult American candies, artisanal Irish fare and a cheese counter worth poring over the easiest way to get a mix of the good stuff is to go for a seasonal hamper. Choose from Gourmet Irish, a Christmas special or – if someone has really changed your life – an Extravaganza hamper. If you have a gourmand in your life with a taste for the finer things this is an ideal treat.
Another artisanal food pantry, Cavistons in Glenageary is famed for its seafood (served best in its adjoining restaurant) but also does a roaring trade in homebaked breads and organic good. With hampers themed around ‘Italian Christmas’ or ‘Fireside Snack’ you’ll find something that can double as a reason never to leave your home again as you munch and quaff to your heart’s delight.
Honey is obviously delicious, but there have long been connections with honey and health, with many people swearing by it to reduce their allergies or boost their immune system. The Dublin Honey Project seeks to produce raw, local honey for each of the city’s postcodes so you can get the honey that will best suit you and your local environment. Using native Irish black bees, the founders Gearóid and Kieran are also all about raising awareness of the value of bees and how their support our ecosystem. You can find out where to purchase through their Facebook page.
Having opened their first Galway shop in 1995 and their first Dublin shop in 1997 the Sheridan brothers have established themselves as one of Ireland’s leading cheesemongers. What began as an Irish-only affair soon expanded to showcase Europe’s best cheese producers and other artisanal fare. Adding their own range of crackers and condiments to the mix has made them the go-to for all your Christmas cheese board needs.
If you have a natural wine convert on your gift list then your only man is Green Man. Founded by husband and wife team David Gallagher and Claire O’Boyle Gallagher, Green Man have actively pursued winemakers who produce organic and biodynamic wines with as little intervention as possible. Their staff are super knowledgeable and able to bring you on the natural wine journey and you can even get carried away and stick around for some small plates and snacks in their wine bar.
Jewellers Clare Grennan and Laura Caffrey set up Irish Design Shop in 2008 when they saw a gap in the market for an Irish led craft and design shop. Since then, the Irish Design Shop has been at the centre of the Irish craft revival, championing designers across homeware, cosmetics, prints and jewellery amongst others. Pieces range from stocking fillers to more substantial homeware pieces to cherish for generations.
Ail+El is an Irish homeware brand based in Dublin. Influenced by Dublin City’s contemporary architecture and graffiti, Ail+El combine the industrial qualities of concrete with geometric patterns and bold colours to create vibrant homeware products.
Magic Forest Toys create handmade soft toys and accessories in brightly coloured wools and fabrics and stuffed with hypoallergenic filling to keep little noses happy. Using fabrics like linen, felt, cotton and even merino wool these are beautiful created and affordable – perfect for a new addition to any family.
Industry are in good company on Drury Street’s design strip sitting beside the Irish Design Shop and just a stone’s throw from Om Diva and Costume. Hit them up for a range of homewares and gifts for him and for her, with lots of high quality ceramics, substantial notebooks and luxurious skin care for a range of budgets. They also have a wonderful café with coffee from Roasted Brown and a great selection of salads and sandwiches.
Billed as a designer, maker and teacher, Laura Butler’s bright and complex cushions and quilts and designed and handmade by her. Based out of the Chocolate Factory on King’s Inn Street, her soft furnishings are unique and eye catching, named after local streets and inspired by the world around her.
Founded by Niamh Banks in 2015 Seven Wood sells furniture, light fixtures, homeware stationery, prints and beauty products. While everything they sell is of great quality their furniture is particularly well curated. Seven Wood is a primarily an online shop but they’ll be joining us at our new Fade Street spot for the month of December for all your bespoke home furnishing needs.
Designist are another independent homewares and design shop that champion both Irish made products and international designers who have found ways to solve everyday problems with inventive gadgets. If you know someone who is constantly trying to innovate new ways to solve household problems or love a good lifehack then Designist is the place to shop. Their stuff looks great and often has more than one useful function.
Makers & Brothers is run by brothers Jonathan and Mark Legge, showcasing the finest in Irish crafts. They operate an online store, but have popped up in London, NYC and Dublin over the past couple of years and will be pitching up in Dawson Street for the festive period. The Makers & Brothers collection is essentially a wet dream for anyone looking to start a gift registry but for those of us just looking for something unique for a friend or family member with a design interest it’s just the business.
Ard Bia at Nimmos is an institution in Galway and has won countless awards for its food. Aside from the restaurant they also sell handcrafted crockery, bags and a cookbook with a selection of sumptuous recipes that encompass the ethos and spirit of the restaurant. For those that can’t make the pilgrimage you can get some of that Galway sensibility directly to your home via their online shop.
Our very own shop has had a bumper year this year with three exhibitions, more than 100 new prints and an ever-growing roster of incredibly talented Irish and international artists. Our recent 60×60 exhibition provided a benchmark for Irish contemporary art and design at an affordable price that make ideal Christmas gifts. Drop into us in our new Fade Street concept store from December 1st or grab your own limited edition at our online shop.
Beautifully designed Christmas decorations, luxe notebooks and sumptuous textiles make up Article’s bright and airy space in the Powerscourt Centre that was once the dressing room of Lord Powerscourt himself. With a mix of Irish and international designers and a carefully curated stock this shop is a pleasure just to walk around and another great spot to support Irish design this Christmas.
A design studio in the West of Ireland with an eye for stunningly crafted, wild-inspired pieces Superfolk has a mission to share their passion for the environment. Led by husband and wife team Gearoid Muldowney, a craft designer and Jo Anne Butler, an artist and architect, the Superfolk range includes printed paper, fabrics and ceramics that are guided by a quest for more sustainable living. With pieces inspired by their surroundings of Clew Bay this is the perfect way to include a bit of the wild West in your home.
A combination of great coffee and art & craft in the heart of Galway town has made for the perfect stop off to relax with a flat white and pick up some Christmas gifts at the same time. Coffeewerk specialise in gorgeous coffee table books, natural cosmetics and carefully crafted homewares that stand out. If you don’t like the hustle and bustle of the typical Christmas shopping experience this seems like the antidote.
Those with an interest in homeware are moving increasingly towards curating the pieces in their home at every level, including the lighting. Dowdy lamp shops of yore are now being replaced by their trendier, more up to date cousins and Mullan Lighting is at the forefront of this movement. Founded in 2008 on the site of a once-abandoned shoe factory, the lighting design team of Mullan Lighting have expanded to their factory in Co. Tyrone and have provided their expertise in design to international brands, celebrities and even the Royal Family. If it’s good enough for them…
Chaim Factor are based out of Avoca, Co. Wicklow and specialise in homewares that are handmade from Irish hardwoods. This means sleek chopping boards and cheese platters as well as a set of carefully crafted knives. If you know someone with a kitchen that’s curated down to the very last detail then these guys are your port of call.
Diem Pottery is the ceramics brand of Thomas Diem, a second generation potter and designer from New York who is now based in Ashbourne, Co. Meath. His pieces are simple and functional and there is also the option to work on wedding sets with him. Stockists include Arnotts, the Kilkenny Shop and Meadows & Byrne but he also encourages people to drop into the studio itself!
The Bearded Candle Makers are an artisanal candle company that make environmentally friendly candles in scents that take inspiration from quintessentially Irish experiences such as sitting beside a turf fire or going to a midnight mass. Their soy candles have been tested and tweaked to get the best burning, scent profile and consistency so you’re guaranteed a quality product that will last.
Handcrafted in Co. Kildare, Candella create lovely alternatives to those overpriced Jo Malone candles with a series made from 100% natural soya wax, upcycled wine bottles and cork. With scents including tea leaves and bergamot, white fig and grapefruit you can avoid your home smelling like a commercial air freshener or an overly saccharine donut while supporting recycled and natural materials.
Jessica Rooney Deane is an artist working through the medium of paper collage and illustration in Dublin. Her pieces often feature the shop fronts of local businesses or places that have significance for people, be it their family shop or the place they met their significant other. Rooney Deane’s bright and playful designs are often chosen as a first wedding anniversary gift due to the ‘paper’ significance. You can find more of her work above or by rooting through her Paper Ireland Instagram page here.