Irish crafts

can read like a shopping list for tourists, and this one is no exception. Simply put: these products feature Irish aesthetics in both form and function – becoming tangible representations of Ireland itself.

But while crafts can serve as creative Irish gifts or holiday souvenirs, you might wonder how learning about them helps advance your family history research. After all, it can be hard to envision lead crystal and freshly laundered Irish linen being part of daily life for families living in mud and thatch cabins like so many did during the 18th and 19th century!

However, most of these crafts developed over time from ancient skills that had been handed down through generations and remain regional specialities – such as Tweed making. While others originated as imported skills before being elevated further by local materials – such as Irish linen.

Although our ancestors likely only purchased or used some of these crafted items themselves, many communities in Ireland benefited greatly from the employment these early industries provided. Irish crafts played an integral part – often an extremely significant one – in our ancestor’s lives and can help us better understand more about their world and society at that time.

Watch, Learn and Buy
Nowadays, Irish crafts are typically produced in high-tech 24/7 factories that feature visitor centres where you can learn more about each craft involved as well as shop for its beautiful Irish gifts and souvenirs.

Craftspeople across Ireland continue to hone their traditional skills in small studios and workshops, where you can purchase handmade crafts while watching their production process unfold. Though scattered around Ireland, it shouldn’t be hard to locate them; many now have websites or are listed by tourist offices; alternatively you could contact Design and Crafts Council Ireland.