Kilkenny Design and Craft Centre
For the holidaying teens, there are ample souvenir shops selling springy sheep and t-shirts that won’t dent the pocket money. For grown-ups with a keen eye for style, look for gifts that are actually made locally.
The Kilkenny Design and Craft Centre supports bright, talented, local artists of handcrafted homeware, jewellery, pottery and knitwear. With an array of cafes to choose, you can refuel and easily spend a few hours here admiring their skill. The Design Centre is in built within the Coach Houses and Stables of Kilkenny Castle. Visit kilkennydesign.com. Even the on-site Anocht restaurant menu is inspired by local artisans!
Better still, why not visit the artisan designers in their home studio and watch them at work.
National Craft Gallery
Still in the grounds of Kilkenny Castle, you’ll also find the National Design & Craft Gallery. This is one of Ireland’s most exciting artistic venues that exhibits Irish (and international) designers and craft makers, helping to preserve Irish heritage and raise the awareness and appreciation of Irish craft and design. Whether your browsing or buying, this is well worth a visit, in support of Ireland’s arts. Visit ndcg.ie.
Jerpoint Glass Studio
The Jerpoint exhibition and glass studio is an exemplary opportunity to pick up a piece of history! Enjoy watching the skill of a glassblower from the viewing area, as they turn red-hot molten glass into beautiful shapes right in front of your eyes. In the shop, unique pieces of ceramic and pottery await you and whether it’s a functional serving plate, or a decorative piece for the mantel, you can rest assured it’s Irish, unique, and hand crafted! Studio and showrooms are open 7 days a week, nestled in the beautiful Kilkenny countryside. Visit jerpointglass.com
Home to the well-known Tipperary Crystal and Newbridge Silverwear, Duiske Glass is renowned for being an exclusive stockiest of some of Ireland’s favourite crystal and giftware which makes for an incredible gift and souvenir. You’ll also find a selection of scarfs, gloves, pottery, fragrances and candles from top Irish designers.
Look out for their engraving department, to make your gift that little bit extra special, situated in Graignamanagh in Kilkenny’s countryside. Visit www.duiskeglasskilkenny.ie
You can’t get more distinctively Irish than a woolly jumper from a flock of Zwartbles sheep raised in a grassy field in County Kilkenny itself! The Zwartbles name means Black with a White Blaze and you’ll find every blanket has four white stripes, which represent these four distinctive white markings. All natural, with no dyes, these pure wool blankets, rugs and yarn make for an incredible gift or souvenir!
Visit www.zwartblesireland.com for lots more information on the farm, the production of wool, and owner Suzanna’s comical stories about raising a family farm of Zwartbles.