The Irish Independent is helping readers to think local and shop local ahead of Christmas with the ultimate guide to shopping local in your county across Leinster, Ulster, Connacht, and Munster. It’s a handy guide to online shopping and the Irish websites that need your support – it could be the difference between ensuring we have shops to go back to when the pandemic ends or the creation of ghost towns.
A Touch of Class
Helen Mullins’ A Touch of Class boutique boasts labels like Luis Civit and also Linea Raffaelli, a luxury occasion-wear collection with an emphasis on comfort. https://atouchofclasscarlow.com/
Coolanowle Food Hall
Selling organic meat from the Mulhall Family’s farm on the Carlow/Laois border, this well-stocked food store carries a great range of local and Irish artisan food products. Shop in-person or online for delivery within 10km on Saturday mornings. Delivery is free for orders over €100. www.coolanowlefoodhall.ie
Husband and Wife duo, Willie and Cheryl, create beautiful and sustainable wooden cheese and chopping boards using locally sourced Irish woods www.ballyshane.com
Lollipops and Daydreams
Based in Carlow, they make soft furnishings, with everything from aprons for children, bunting, themed blankets such as tractors, fairies, mini doll bedding and fabric names in a frame. lollipopsdaydreams.com
The Chocolate Garden
Established in 2001 by Jim and Mary Healy, The Chocolate Garden of Ireland is an award-winning family business making handmade chocolates. They create individual hampers that would be a perfect Christmas gift. https://chocolategarden.ie/
Electro City is one of the larger independent Irish electronics retailers. It has outlets in Hanover Rd, Carlow, Ormonde Business Park, Dublin Rd and Purcellsinch Kilkenny where it stocks a range of computers and electrical goods. www.electrocity.ie
McNally Family Farm
The farm shop at the McNally’s organic farm in Balrickard, north Dublin has gone from strength to strength this year and now offers a host of artisan products as well as its own wonderful vegetables. You can order online for collection or simply turn up to visit the farm shop and little cafe, which has excellent coffees, sandwiches and home-bakes for takeaway. www.mcnallyfamilyfarm.ie
The Maker’s Market was due to open this weekend in the Om Diva store on Drury Street where Ruth Ni Loinsigh is like a fairy godmother to emerging and established designers. She has invited 20 designers, jewellers and artisans from all over Ireland to join her in the run-up to Christmas but November sales will be online. Come December 1, they can be viewed in a dedicated space on the first floor of the Drury Street space so expect talented potters to abstract artists, up and coming fashion designers to organic kids clothing producers. Omdivaboutique.com
Independent Cinemas in Dublin
Both the IFI and Light House cinemas are embracing the small screen with excellent VoD platforms (ifihome.ie and Volta.ie, respectively), offering the best independent and homegrown feature films and documentaries. The Light House Shop (lighthousecinemashop.ie/shop) has a fun range of cinema-themed cards and art prints, while the IFI Shop (ifi.ie/shop) has an extensive array of DVDs and box sets.
Duff Cycles have been in the cycle trade in Dublin for over 100 years. They have a retail unit in the Omni Shopping Centre in Dublin and supply quality bikes, clothing and accessories to cyclists, as well as offering a cycle maintenance and repair service. duffcycles.com
Headon Boxing Academy
The HBA was set up in 2017 by Sean Headon and his twin brother Paddy and it offers high quality non-contact boxing and fitness coaching to clients. Private training is also on offer. The company has pivoted to online training during the pandemic and gift vouchers are available from their website, www.headonboxing.ie
Coin lovers might like to take a look at an enterprising company set up in 2011 to preserve the beautiful images on Old Irish coins. They have coins dating back to 1928 and upcycle them into wearable items such as cufflinks and pendants. birthdaycufflinks.ie
McHugh’s off-licences is a specialty stockist with a range of beers, wines and spirits from Ireland and around the world. Looking for an obscure beer from Portugal or a Malbec from Argentina? There’s a good chance they have it. McHugh’s have outlets on Killbarrack Road and in Artane and sell gift vouchers and hampers. Also available online at www.McHughs.ie
With few Irish-owned technology producing companies, one exception is Tallaght-based One Sonic, who sell audio equipment and are due to launch high-end noise-cancellation wireless earphones. www.onesonic.com
Mary Greene’s store in Maynooth hums with her bubbly personality. Her clever, curated offerings include Irish labels such as the super gorgeous, affordable Irish brand, Aria-V drop earrings. www.divine.ie
Metcalfe Park Beef At Metcalfe Park, in Johnstown Bridge, Cynnie Fortune Ryan raises small herds of beautiful rare-breed Kerry, Kerry-Angus and Dexter cattle which are grass-finished and produce delicious-tasting beef with incredible marbling and depth of flavour. Boxes are available to order via Instagram message or [email protected]
Pestle and Morter
Sonia Deasy from Kildare has grown her company into a beauty editor’s cult favourite. The Pure Hyaluronic Serum has received nothing but rave reviews and would make a perfect Christmas present. https://www.pestleandmortar.com/
Based in Kildare, Sensational Kids is a specialist sensory centre for kids of all ages with additional needs. During lockdown they offer onsite and virtual therapy sessions and stock a range of books and toys of sensory benefit to children. www.sensationalkids.ie/
John Dwyer Strength and Conditioning on Wolftone Street, Naas offers a one stop shop for health and performance needs. While the facility is temporarily closed, it offers people their fitness kick through an online platform with videos and access to trainers. Team strength and conditioning is also one of the services on offer. www.jdstrengthandconditioning.com
Respected stylist and and boutique owner, Blanaid Hennessy has an incredible eye which fashion and lifestyle shoppers nationwide like to follow. She has stores in Kilkenny and Dundrum Town Centre and reports that people now are looking for “a little bit of magic”. www.Folkster.com
Aran Bakery at Barrack Street, Kilkenny. Bart and Nicole’s lovely little bakery is operating for takeout during the current restrictions – offering not just great sourdough breads but a brilliant all-day brunch menu including dishes such as Korean chicken wraps, cinnamon roll French toast and special sambos filled with wild boar sausages, fried eggs and ramson caper bearnaise. Be still our beating hearts. Order online or via phone on 0567756297. arankilkenny.ie
Le Caveau is a family-owned and independent wine shop in Kilkenny with a massive range from all around the world. Based at Market Yard, they also take online orders and ship around the country from www.lecaveau.ie
Khan’s Books, Kilkenny
Kilkenny’s much-loved bookseller Khan Kiely is operating phone-and-collect and delivery. Besides the top 20 bestsellers, she also has plenty of discount and remaindered options for those feeling the pinch. facebook.com/khans.bookshop
Lots of people travel to Kilkenny for its crafts, and jewellers have plenty of online gems available pre-Christmas. Nolan’s has a collection and delivery service, for example, while Lorimat is doing ‘surprise boxes’ from €50. www.visitkilkenny.ie
Rollercoaster Records in Kilkenny is more than just a shop, as far as music lovers are concerned. It has an extensive vinyl collection, as well as other products, and is offering a click and collect service. www.rollercoaster-records.com
Ann Marie Morrissey is the brains behind this Portlaoise boutique which also has a sister branch in Carlow town. She opened in 2004 with the aim of helping people find and develop their own style. The name means ‘His and Hers’ says Ann Marie who stocks By Malene Birger, Essential Antwerp, Inwear, Casting Collection and Fee G. www.erreesse.ie
Home-bakers can order stone-milled organic wheat, rye and buckwheat sprouted flours online, and find sourdough breads from Durrow Mills’ own bakery in local stores including Nuts & Grains, Mullingar; Bastion Kitchen, Athlone and Hereford & More, Tullamore. www.durrowmills.com
12 Acres Brewery
As local as it gets, the brewery was set up by brothers Patrick, Ian, Barry and Rory McDonald on their family farm. They named the beer after one of the fields where the barley is grown. You can order from their array of tasty IPAs, pale ales and others at 12acresbrewing.ie
The Arthouse Studios and Library, Stradbally, Co Laois. The upcoming Leaves Writing and Music Festival promises workshops, storytelling, podcasts, and much more besides, all co-ordinated by the Arthouse hub online. Details to come. facebook.com/thearthouseandlibrary
Kelly Lou Cakes
At Kelly Lou Cakes in Portlaoise, you can pick up freshly baked celebration cakes, layer cakes, cupcakes, cookies, brownies, and other delicious treats. The independent bakery is open at Parkside Shopping Centre for takeaway only, but they can take cake orders online. www.kellylou.com
Fabiani The award-winning boutique owned by Louise Brennan stocks the gorgeous Anine Bing clothing as well as Isabel Marant and Maria Black jewellery. Soon there will be a resident milliner, with Wendy Louise Knight available in store. www.fabiani.ie
There’s no reason to buy imported elderflower cordial or sparkling elderflower when you can order from Richmount in Carrickboy and have it delivered to your door. The elderberry cordial diluted with hot water makes a delicious winter drink. www.richmountcordials.ie
Celtic Rocking Horses are handmade from locally sourced hardwood timbers such as oak, beech, ash and even bog oak. A family-owned business, costs depend on the timber of choice and horse size. https://celticrockinghorses.com/
Backstage Theatre, Longford. Streaming stage drama (the excellent ‘Tom Crean Antarctic Explorer’ is the latest) as well as commissioning new works and residencies are some of the ways Backstage is keeping her lit. backstage.ie
Catch the Light
The brainchild of Mia Gray in Moyne, Catch The Light makes stained glass light catchers and candle holders using the famous Tiffany technique. Mia crafts various designs and has a Christmas range of snowflake and Redbreast Robin light catchers. Mia can be contacted on the Catch the Light Facebook Page or 086 835 5222.
The Ilk brand is gaining lots of traction for its menswear collection but, in honesty, women love it too. Think gorgeous shapes, cool colours and a classic shirt brand. www.ilk.ie
The Spotted Dog
The Dundalk restaurant now offers what brothers Brendan and Vincent call their take on a fish and chip shop, with seafood arancini, crab cakes, tempura scallops, buttermilk chicken burgers and what’s already a cult spice box, with both shredded chicken and monkfish versions. Locals love it. www.thespotteddog.ie
Roe River Books, Dundalk, Co Louth. Via phone and social media, Roe River are offering a personal touch, providing recommendations for customers starved of one-to-one interaction these days. They also run a monthly book club in conjunction with An Tain Arts Centre and Louth County Library. www.roeriverbooks.ie
The Sound Shop
Based in Drogheda the Sound Shop has been supplying musicians, both beginners and professionals from all over Ireland for over 50 years. It has an extensive range of guitars, keyboards, pianos, drums, accordions, strings and much more. www.soundshop.ie
Clips by Kiki
Handmade and personalised baby soother clips and bag tags. See @clipsbykiki
Rock Farm The organic farm at Slane Castle operates a small shop selling meat, eggs and vegetables, as well as a weekly Thursday afternoon market for local producers. It is also a pick-up point for neighbourfood.ie. Keith Coleman is now in charge of the food offering so look out for killer ‘single origin’ sausage rolls, made with rare-breed pork from the farm www.rockfarm.ie
Sorella Siblings Jeanette and Suzanne set up a fashion boutique in Navan and named it Sorella, the Italian for sisters. They are doing click and collect from the store for clothing, footwear and accessories and deliver nationwide. sorella.ie
Use your cupla focail in lockdown by playing Monopoly in Irish and buying the GPO or the Blasket Islands. It comes from Udar, a Glor na nGael company in Ráth Chairn and costs €25. They also do an Irish Scrabble in both junior (€29) and classic (€39.99) format and they will have Cluedo in Irish available soon. udar.ie
Antonia’s Bookstore, Trim, Co Meath. In collaboration with Maynooth Bookshop and Woodbine Books, Antonia’s are hosting virtual zoom events under the title of ‘A Tale of Three Indies’, featuring author readings, interviews and discounts on signed editions. www.antoniasbookstore.com
Experienced fitness instructor Aisling Reilly who is based in Navan, Co Meath is offering a range of unique fitness classes, including aerial hoop fitness and anti gravity fitness, a hybrid technique combining traditional yoga poses with aerial arts, pilates and dance. Free-weight lifting is also on offer. Fitness classes for kids also available. www.aislingreillyfitness.com
The business was established in Meath in 2013 and has since branched into venues and hospitality. At the core of what they do is still the beer and their online store would offer a quality, Irish made present for every kind of aficionado. Visit their shop at www.brubrewery.ie
This old-school butchers (no online presence) in Ferbane has its own beef farm and supplies high-quality meat. Locals say it is a gem.
The Woodfield Cafe in Birr (woodfieldbirr.ie) has customisable Good Food and Veggie boxes available to order for collection. (090) 645 4177
Caroline and Donal Boyd’s emporium, The Stables Birr, are offering click and collect and taking orders for sales of interiors, home accessories, clothing and gifting. thestablesbirr.com
Tullamore, Co Offaly. Post-Level 5, Midland Books will offer Sunday VIP slots for customers to browse in safety. In the meantime, virtual browsing and tailored recommendations are offered via Instagram and Facebook. www.midlandbooks.ie
Based in Ferbane, Cúltec make and sell synthetic hurleys which are becoming increasingly popular with some of the GAA’s top stars. For kids they come with a new tribal design in three different colours: pink, blue or green. They are used from at senior county level all the way down to ‘Go Games’. www.cultec.ie
A local shop with a national reputation. Galvin’s For Men in Tullamore is well-known for wedding outfits but also has a mix of formal and casual clothing. All the main brand names are included. Orders before 3pm get next day delivery. www.galvintullamore.ie
Baby Moon Baby Shop
This is a family run business based in Cloncollig Industrial Estate Tullamore and both owners are natives of Offaly. While they specialising in big ticket items like strollers, prams and car seats there are plenty of other smaller gifts for new parents or children, as well as vouchers available online. www.babymoonbabyshop.ie
Olivia Danielle’s popular boutique in Athlone has stood the test of time. The legendary Jos handles the fashion queries of customers from around the country. Old-school service with 21st century digital service. www.oliviadanielle.com
More than a fruit and vegetable shop, Athlone based Behan’s supports local farmers, has a great range of food and other products and offers a delivery service. www.behans-country-market.business.site.
Also in Athlone, Lowe & Co on O’Connell Street stocks organic and ethically produced food products.
Dead Centre Brewery
After years of homebrewing, Liam Tutty founded Dead Centre Brewing. They company brew their own beer and IPA and customize beer cans with personalized messages for patrons. They also offer delivery services https://deadcentrebrewing.com/
Just Books, Mullingar
As a supplier of children’s school books, this store is one of a few that have been able to remain open, albeit with restrictions. Orders and deliveries are of course provided too. justbooksmullingar.com
Woolly Castle, Kinnegad. This online wool shop is manna from heaven for knitting enthusiasts. Stocks well known and lesser brands of yarn and accessories. Woolly Castle ships nationwide for just €3.40 or free on orders over €50. www.woollycastle.ie
Inner Island jewellery
People are putting more thought into purchases reports jeweller Gemma O’Leary who designs beautiful pearl jewellery. She reports a new desire for nostalgia and heirlooms such as her Booley locket. www.innerisland.ie
With 90pc of its business gone with restaurants closed, Kerlogue based Scup has switched its focus to retail and you will find 500ml tubs of its delicious hand-made, small batch gelatos and sorbets – flavours include Wexford strawberry, rum and raisin, pistachio and salted caramel – at local retailers including Bella Napoli, Kilmuckridge; Kellys Café, Drinagh; Karoo Farmshop, Killinick; Pettitt’s Supervalu, St Aidans; Pettitt’s Supervalu, Gorey; Neighbourfood, Enniscorthy. www.scupgelato.com
Joyces of Wexford
Run by brothers Derek and Murt Joyce, the business celebrated 75 years in 2019. They have a 16,000 sq ft premises at Clonard Retail Park, Killeens, along with a number of other outlets. Their tech offerings include college specials and can be found at www.joyces.ie
Brian Walsh Hurleys and Sports is a firm favourite with inter county and club hurling and camogie players throughout Ireland and are made from the best quality ash. Sliotars, gaelic balls and training equipment also available on the website, and nationwide delivery is available. www.brianwalshhurleysandsports.ie
Red Books, Wexford town
Red Books has launched a new website. And a podcast. Oh, and a printing label and literary Journal. Did we mention their €15 book lucky bags for adults and children tailored to the customer’s tastes? www.theirishbookshop.com
The firm have launched new personal shopping and a food to order delivery service in their stores. Their green credentials include a Christmas Tree delivery service as well as recycled glass products, made from their recycled restaurant bottles. www.avoca.com
Based in Kilruddery, it’s an adventure tree park that offers fun for all the family. Established by Chris Lang and Paul Pascoe in 2014, it is shut at the moment and will reopen Easter 2021 for a new season, but vouchers can be purchased online for Christmas presents. www.squirrelsscramble.ie
Part of the Wicklow Naturally initiative to promote the food producers of the county, George and Hanna Finlay are sheep farmers who produces wonderful ice cream (chocolate ganache, lemon curd, raspberry crumble), sheep’s milk, kefir and a brilliant halloumi that’s perfect for WFH lunches at the family farm in the Glen of Imaal www.wicklownaturally.ie or Instagram @bally-hubbockfarm
Anne Sexton Pilates
Wicklow-based Anne Sexton first opened her doors in 2002 and her studio in Kilcoole is currently offering online classes during restrictions. The studio has a well established reputation offering a range of pilates classes including reformer, mat, back care, pre-natal, post-natal, corrective exercise and it operates a teacher training programme. annesextonpilates.com
Based in Newtownmount Kennedy, Wicklow Wolf is another of Ireland fledgling craft beer brewers. Their wide selection of pale ales, beers and stouts are available at wicklowwolf.com, including click and collect.
For musical tech gear, Everest Music, on the Dargle Road, in Bray, stocks a wide range, from electric drum kits and keyboards to mics. Christmas shopping can be done online at www.everestmusic.com
Virginia Park Lodge
Richard Corrigan’s luxurious dinner box serves four and contains soda bread, smoked salmon, beef Wellington with madeira sauce, seasonal vegetables from the garden and a steamed caramel and pumpkin pudding. From €165. Order by Thursday for Saturday delivery in Cavan or Meath, and collection at Virginia Park. www.virginiaparklodge.com
The Bear Essentials
Teddy Bear Hospital in Bawnboy fixes and mends teddies that need a little TLC. They have over 800 different products listed on onlibe and stock famous, high quality brands like Steiff. Bearessentials.ie
Orla Hand set up Vanilla with her mum, the late Eileen Fay, 17 year ago. She stocks brands like Tara Jarmon, Laurèl, Luisa Cerano, iBlues, Luis Civit on vanillaboutique.ie
Tara Henderson, personal trainer. Tara is based in Belturbet. She provides fitness classes at Belturbet Fitness Centre. At the moment during restrictions, she is posting classes on Facebook Live. Tara also provides personal training and nutritional advice, and caters for people of all abilities. www.tarasfit4life.com
Cian’s Tech World
Based in Moyne Hall Retail Park, Ballinagh Road, Cavan, Cian’s Tech World is a 100pc Irish-owned business dealing in phones and laptops. Customers can shop online cianstechworld.ie
Sisters Kathy Sherry and Caroline Quinn moved their vintage emporium, Dirty Fabulous, from Dublin to Monaghan and then online with a splendid collection of bridal and occasion dresses from the 1920s-1970s. The rollcall of designers includes Mike Benet, Ceil Chapman and Elizabeth Arden. www.dirtyfabulous.com
The Carrickmacross restaurant is offering a takeout menu at weekends, with a menu that includes dishes such as buttermilk fried chicken with chips and aioli and fillet steak with onion rings as well as sourdough bread and hand-made chocolate and hazelnut truffles. www.courthouserestaurant.ie
Painted Clans offer custom and hand-painted contemporary family coat of arms by Monaghan based artist Brendan McCarey. Each crest is researched and redesigned with a modern minimalist style keeping all the original elements that make up the crests. See www.paintedclans.com
Louise Loughman Batiks
Inspired by the bog lands, drumlins and rugged landscape of Monaghan. See www.louiseloughmanartist.com
James Cleary and business partner Brendan McCarey came together to design a functional long lasting fire pit that is easy to store. Their product range includes flower pots, bottle openers and more, using sustainable materials. Based in Mullan, they offer free delivery for orders in Ireland and the UK, visit www.rawsaol.com
From a van to a 90,000 sq feet store, the legendary McElhinney fashion destination in Ballybofey has pivoted online. 50 years on, two floods and one fire bomb later, it is a big success online. www.mcelhinneys.com
Goose & Gander
The wood-fired pizzas for takeaway at Goose & Gander in Downings are keeping locals cheerful at weekends – combinations include the Applewood (brie, bacon, mozzarella and drunken apple) and Black & Blue (Clonakilty black pudding, gorgonzola blue cheese, garlic roasted mushrooms). Instagram: @goosepizza
Based on the Main Street in Bundoran, it was established in 1990 and the shop has grown to be one of the best known retailers for surfing equipment, whether that is wetsuits, accessories and surfboards. Easy gift cards are available online at www.surfworld.ie
Irish company Lottie Dolls was launched in 2012 and are ‘inspired by kids’. The dolls don’t wear make-up and are based on the proportions of a nine-year-old child. lottie.com
Paul McGowan Fitness and Health
Based on Bath Terrace in Moville, Paul McGowan is the head coach at the gym he set up over two years ago. He has created a friendly environment where his clients experience is always at the forefront of his programming. The trainer offers diet plans to clients trying to keep healthy during the pandemic. www.paulmcgowanfitness.ie
John McCrossan Computer Sales
John McCrossan has a well established business in Lifford offering a computer repair service, and also sourcing new and used It equipment. From netbooks to tablets to printers, he can source it. www.johnmccrossancomputer.town.ie
Red Rooster Coffee
William Davenport’s small roastery in Tullaghan ships bags of coffee all over Ireland and if you buy in bulk you need never risk running out again. The Bantam’s Brew – strength 4 – is a classic Mocha Java blend that’s their best-selling product.
Roy Humphreys Woodturner
Mohill-based woodturner Roy creates handmade bowls using native Irish wood and no two pieces are the same. The fourth generation of his family to work with wood, Roy also has a range of lamp bases, pens and homewares.
The Reading Room
The Reading Room in Carrick-on-Shannon will tailor a ‘book profile’ individual to you and send handpicked recommendations as part of a subscription service. A very popular gift idea for all ages it’s turned out to be, too.
Leitrim-based Fiona O’Driscoll creates commissioned knitted animals in freshly washed natural fleece. Her work celebrates the natural world, the warmth of childhood in a wonderful variation of colours and textures.
Bairbre Kennedy, based in north Co Leitrim, makes light and colourful pottery in four distinct colour ways, heather, pink, lichen and blue. She also has Christmas-themed present ideas on her website.
Gra Chocolates, Kilchreest, Co Galway
Young chef Gráinne Mullins set up her hand-made chocolate business in the middle of the pandemic, and you can pre-order now for delivery in December. Flavours in the beautiful range include Nuts About You and Mint To Be.
Maggie Mangan of Cloon Keenon Galway’s High Street
Maggie Mangan recently opened her second store in Dublin’s Powerscourt Townhouse and continues to sell her bespoke and very exciting collection of candles and fragrances from her website. These gifts are heaven scent.
Galway Food Tours Guide Book
Unable to run food tours right now, Sheena Dignam and Gosia Letowska have produced a cute pocket book outlining a self-guided stroll. It costs €35, but contains vouchers and discounts worth €55. That’s a stocking filler right there.
This Connemara business is Ireland’s best little bookshop and is on hand for all enquiries and offers attractive national delivery rates. For November, this hub for all things Tim Robinson is packaging his essential Connemara Trilogy for €40 including postage.
Based in Oranmore, Galway Bay brewery, which has expanded greatly since it opened in 2009, has a massive range of beers. There’s even an online shop.
Order from the heat and eat menu by Wednesday for collection on Friday, with dinner priced at €23pp. Last week you could have had chicken and ham hock pie with cauliflower cheese and garlic and rosemary crushed potatoes, followed by tiramisu or a selection of Irish cheeses. Add on a bottle of organic wine for €15, and visit the Rua shop and delicatessen on Spencer Street to stock up on supplies for the week ahead while you’re at it.
Foxford Woollen Mills
There’s more to fancy lifestyle stores than Avoca, you know. These Mayo mills make a brilliant browse and lunch stop in Ballina, but for now you can shop its homewares, clothes, furniture (and yes, throws) online.
Personal shopping appointments – private time slots to browse the shelves with complimentary refreshments – are on the menu at Tertulia in Westport, along with member discounts (membership is free) and giftee deliveries.
Local Westport brewery Mescan sells a range of beers such as IPAs, stouts and saisons, including hampers that can be bought online or in a range of off-licences listed on the website.
Husband and wife team of Gearoid Muldowney, a craft designer and Jo Anne Butler, an artist and architect, create simple and beautiful home goods for people who love the wild and outdoors. Superfolk tells the story of the ever-changing colour, patterns and texture of the wildlife, wild food, landscape, geology and seasons surrounding them in Clew Bay.
Sham Hanifa of the terrific Cottage Restaurant in Carrick-on-Shannon has a new cafe located just across the county border in Roscommon offering takeout breakfast and lunch, and his delicious small- batch sauces, all made without additives or preservatives. Think poke bowls, curries and stir fries, as well as more traditional sandwich options and a serious breakfast bap.
This fashion gem in Boyle got its name from the Marian Year when it opened in 1954. Perpetua McGee sells online, offers click and collect and also offers a virtual personal shopping service.
Roscommon Arts Centre
Virtual arts and crafts activities for kids can be found via the centre’s social media channels, while it is also streaming live drama right to your home. History podcasts are another speciality.
Timi Kovacs, based in Castlerea, Co Roscommon, makes keto-, diabetic- and coeliac-friendly, low-carb breads and sweets. Since lockdown the business has moved online and Timi ships baked products and dry mixes all over Ireland via post.
Based in Roscommon, near the Leitrim border Hazelrock uses ethically mined/sourced genuine gemstones from around the world to create jewellery to bring joy. (Oh, and there’s free postage in Ireland.)
Baker Boys, Finisklin Road, Sligo
Baker Boys of Finisklin Road is the younger sibling to Shells in Strandhill and is playing a lockdown blinder with great coffee, milk bun sandwiches, croissants, amazing doughnuts (pistachio and salted caramel anyone?), salad boxes and hot food to go, six days a week.
The White Hag Brewery
The White Hag is an innovative brewery in Ballymote that offers virtual beer tasting parties and will have online gift boxes including two brand new seasonal beers, The Noel Eggnog Christmas Ale and Dark Druid Mexican Hot Chocolate Pastry stout.
Ingrid Morgan buys one of each size for Zulu boutique. She stocks sizes 8-18 and assesses every piece based on its fit and relabels them on a nought-to-five sizing mechanism.
@zulusligo on Instagram or (071) 9144738
Shells Treat Boxes
Because nobody can survive Level 5 without treats (that’s just science). Strandhill’s Shells Café has Treat Boxes for delivery nationwide, packed with yummies like chocolate fondants, soda bread and hand-roasted coffees. From €48;
Offers bespoke Christmas book hampers, a 3-for-€10 book range, a vinyl record selection, and free deliveries for orders over €30 are being served up by Sligo’s Liber Bookshop. All the usual click-and-collect services provided too.
Robbie McCauley’s pop-up menu is available for order on Wednesday for collection or delivery on Friday. The three-course menu changes weekly, and you can add on extras including cocktails, sourdough and local cheeses. 25pc of the profits are split between Clare Haven and Pieta House.
Maureen Harrison of Seoidín jewellers in Ennis, and Skerries is one positive lady. Two weeks before lockdown, she launched her Hope collection of earrings, pendants and cuffs in crocheted gold. Seoidin means ‘little jewel’ and 24 years after opening, she has 350 pieces of jewellery to buy online.
The Burren Perfumery
This family-run company makes perfumes, soaps, lotions and creams inspired by the Co Clare landscape around it. Choose from ‘scent families’ like Atlantic Coast or Herb Garden (lotions from around €24) until we can visit this wild National Park again.
Salmon Bookshop & Literary Centre
Nothing is a problem for Ennistymon-based Salmon, who are on hand for recommendations, virtual browsing, and collection or delivery solutions. Poetry is a speciality, but all genres are catered for too.
Linda Bracken personal trainer
Personal trainer Linda Bracken is still working online with her clients during the current restrictions. Based in Kilalloe, Co Clare, she has a private training space and has a wide range of equipment to cover all abilities.
Aisling Moore’s fish and ale-focused restaurant on Oliver Plunkett Street in Cork city has morphed into a fishmonger, offering a range of fish and seafood sourced from local day-boats as well as heat at home dishes to pop in the oven.
Fran and Jane
The store on Oliver Plunkett Street is a popular Leeside style destination along with Clodagh Shorten’s Samui on Drawbridge Street.
Take care of lockdown boredom with a mix of kids’ craft and activity kits, educational books, design goodies and even online masterclasses from a gallery that is always innovating.
With the pubs often closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, one option is to bring the pub to your house. SnugPub, based in Macroom, Co Cork, build backyard bars.
O’Leary’s Camera World
This is a small, family-run business located on Oliver Plunkett St in the heart of Cork city. Established by Kieran O’Leary in 1985, the business is now one of Cork’s leading photographic specialists. Whether a professional photographer or an enthusiast, they have what you are looking for.
Nicky and Anne Foley and their team in Dingle have reinvented themselves several times over during the pandemic, their latest offering is an Indian pop-up on Friday nights. It sells out quickly, so book early.
Aidi Mac Dáibhiis
A third-generation master goldsmith based in Listowel, Aidi is currently working on “miniature works of art in precious metals” and special pieces for under the Christmas tree.
The Listowel shop offers click-and-collect or delivery services are available, while owner Brenda Woulfe has a very special treat planned for the first three customers through her door after lockdown – book hauls worth €50.
Based in Tralee, Landers is a family-owned business that has been operating since 1984 with the aim of supplying outdoor enthusiasts with a complete range of specialist clothing and equipment to optimise their enjoyment of the outdoors. Deliveries nationwide are available online.
Anne Louise LaFlamme based in south Kerry designs and creates by hand, contemporary jewellery from old vinyl records, metallic detail and recycled magazine paper. She ships worldwide in plastic free packages with free postage within Ireland.
Wade Murphy’s Abhaile menu is a ‘collect, heat and eat’ offering in Adare that allows you to experience the talented chef’s excellent food at home. The €32pp menu changes weekly and is available for collection on Saturday and Sunday – last week you could have had crab fishcake, navarin of lamb and a fancy tiramisu.
All about slow-fashion, Aoife McNamara pioneers sustainable luxury clothing in tweed and linen. She opened her boutique in Adare in September and is open to bespoke bridal commissions.
Besides free delivery for orders over €20, the mighty O’Mahony’s have lots of special Christmas offers on their website, from bestsellers, to toys and stationery, to tailored book subscriptions.
It opened its first outlet in Galway in 2011 and has gone from strength to strength. There are two stores in Limerick. As well as operating a RepairHub, it has a wide variety of products for sale including macbooks, printers, tablets and gadgets.
At Duo, they have hand picked the best eco-friendly and sustainable goods, with all orders packaged responsibly using plastic free and eco-friendly materials. From tote bags, to face masks to body care and skin care, food and books. Online deliveries are available too.
The Scullery, Nenagh
Florrie Purcell started making Christmas puddings back in 2004 and produces a wide range of Christmas products including fig chutney with balsamic vinegar and Cumberland sauce, as well as barbecue sauces and year-round chutneys. Without a physical shop, in other years Florrie sold mainly at Christmas fairs. Now everything is available via her online shop for delivery nationwide. The mini plum puddings with brandy butter are her biggest sellers.
Nicola Connolly’s Nunaïa natural skincare range has won a slew of beauty awards for its hero products including a nourishing serum, superfood cleansing balm and its very comforting hand sanitiser infused with soothing lavender and tea tree.
Can’t take a trip to Tipp? Bring the county to you with a ‘Taste of Tipperary’ hamper crammed with goodies like Con’s Irish Cider, Cooleeney Camembert and Galtee wildflower honey from €70. A neat Christmas gift idea, too.
Sheela na Gig
This charming bookshop, cafe and wholefoods store in Cloughjordan is offering 10% discounts on all Christmas Book Wishlist orders received before November 18. In the meantime, there are gift hampers, take away coffees and order collections worth calling by for.
Paddy Coady set up Phoenix Fitness Gym with Daniel Connolly in 2013 in Clonmel and they have lent out their loose equipment like dumbells, plates and kettle bars to members for lockdown. They are currently running online classes and seminars to keep all their members engaged.
Beach House, Turkey Road, Tramore
Peter Hogan and Jumoke Akintola opened their wonderful restaurant earlier this year and have since added a gorgeous food and wine shop and a Beach House At Home menu, available to collect on Friday and Saturday. If you’re making the trip to Tramore, be sure to visit the Seagull Bakery and Mezze deli too.
Designer Bebhinn McGrath is currently knitting up a storm making jumpers and hats in 45 different shades of Donegal wool. She is taking Christmas orders until the end of the month.
When it opened back in 2015 Blackwater distillery was the first micro-distillery to open in Waterford for 174 years. The producer is currently selling its range of gins online.
Kelly and Dollard
Located in Kingsmeadow Retail Park, family-owned Kelly and Dollard is part of the Irish-owned Electro City group and sells range of tech from computers to TVs and deliver nationwide.
Waterford-based artist Kiki paints bright and bold abstracts and funky looking animals such as cows and hens. Originals and limited edition fine art prints available from her online shop which offers worldwide shipping and free nationwide postage.