Shopping IrelandWhere are the best places to buy souvenirs in Ireland?
Everyone has an idea of what they are looking to buy when they are planning a trip to Ireland - Irish wool sweaters or crystal! Ireland offers so much more than just wool sweaters and crystal so we're here to help make some recommendations and point you in the right direction when it comes to saving money.
Ireland offers major shopping malls in cities like Dublin, Galway and Cork as well as small, quaint family-owned shops in the smaller villages. Each offers their own purpose and it will depend on your travels as to where to do your souvenir shopping.
Irish Wool Products - Sweaters, Blankets, Scarves and More
One of the biggest items you're going to find in Ireland is the traditional Irish wool sweater, blankets, scarves and anything else that can be woven. The options you will see in just about every village, town, or city will overwhelm you as you try to determine if you are getting a good price or not.
One of our favorite shops is Blarney Woolen Mills, with locations throughout Ireland. It's a huge store that offers everything from crystal to the common Irish wool products. The selection is huge and we've found the prices quite competitive so we always hit one of their mills on our journey and shop for gifts we want to bring back for friends and family.
Galway also offers many sweater shops in the shopping district so you can do some shop-hopping to compare prices and styles but you can spend an entire day.
If you find something that you like and it doesn't appear to be in every shop you've passed -- make sure you buy it. Traditional items you can compare throughout your trip and buy it when you feel like you are ready.
Irish Crystal - More Than Just Waterford
We weren't fans of crystal ... until we took the Waterford Crystal Factory Tour over 20 years ago and it was during that tour we found out that each piece was hand-made with hundreds of hours put into each piece. We had a new-found appreciation for crystal because it wasn't just a product but rather a piece of art. That is when the collecting started and we found that prices can vary.
Obviously Waterford is the most well-known crystal factory however you will find crystal all over Ireland, with smaller factories like Galway Crystal gaining more notoriety these days.
Here are some of our recommendations:
- Buying Direct: For artisanal pieces, you're going to want to purchase that direct. For instance, we purchased a Calla Lily Vase from Waterford as we knew these were limited edition and wouldn't be found elsewhere.
- Department Stores: When purchase stock wine glasses, we found that some local department stores would offer sales (we traveled off-season) so we would find some local deals which would include free shipping if we purchased a certain amount or quantity.
- Airport Duty Free: Not only do you save the VAT tax but you don't need to fill out forms to reclaim that tax and we've found good prices on common items, including wine glass patterns. Smaller items are perfect to purchase here and best of all, you're not lugging these items around during your travels.