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August 04, 2021
Flat caps have long been a trademark symbol of Ireland, synonymous with the culture and traditions which make Ireland so unique on a global scale. In a similar vein to the iconic Aran Sweater, flat caps have come to symbolize the transition of Ireland from a largely rural and agricultural country to a country which now operates on a global scale. Here at The Donegal Shop, our range of flat caps has been carefully chosen in order to represent the finest examples of this Irish icon available anywhere.
The origins and popularity of the flat cap can be traced back to a rather unusual and short lived law, passed in the 16th century which made it compulsory for males over the age of 6 to wear woolen caps. What is even more unusual, is that this law was only brought into effect only on Sundays and public holidays. The purpose of this rather strange law was to attempt to stimulate rapid growth within the domestic wool trade. While this may appear to be a rather crude manner in which to boost the economy, and unsurprisingly, it worked. By the time the law was repealed in 1597, 26 years after it had been introduced, the flat cap had become a firmly ingrained staple of male fashion. Fast forward to the 21st century and the flat cap has changed little in terms of both design and popularity.
Traditionally, Irish flat caps are made from wool or tweed, materials which are both renowned for their breathability and durability. As well as this, the primary reason as to why Irish flat caps are traditionally made from wool and tweed is that these are the materials which were readily available. A further reason as to why these materials have been continuously in use to make flat caps is down to their timelessly elegant appearance. As fashion has evolved, the appeal of wool and tweed has remained a constant, reflected in the continued popularity of flat caps.
Unlike other styles of headwear, such as the top hat, flat caps have remained almost popular throughout recent centuries. But why? Although the flat cap has remained consistently popular, with everyone from Colin Farrell to Bono being spotted wearing one, in recent years the flat cap has seen even further growth in popularity. Much of this can be attributed to another famous Irish face, Cillian Murphy, and his role in the immensely popular tv series Peaky Blinders. Despite the success of this show, the place of the flat cap within contemporary male fashion has long since been solidified.
When it comes to choosing the perfect flat cap for you, there are a number of factors to consider. Thankfully, here at The Donegal Shop, our range of flat caps encompasses a wide range of both patterns and colours, ensuring that we will always have the perfect cap for you. We have spent a great deal of time sourcing some of the finest quality flat caps available anywhere, and our range of flat caps currently features work from Hanna Hats of Donegal, The Hatman of Aran, as well as Carnaween Tweed. Each unique piece in our collection offers our customers something different, while maintaining the iconic look and feel of traditional Irish flat caps.
July 09, 2021
Irish knitwear, and Aran Sweaters in particular may appear to be somewhat trend proof having been consistently fashionable and in style for decades. But what exactly contributes to the lasting appeal of Irish knitwear?
Knitwear has been around for centuries, indeed the earliest traces of knitwear has been pinpointed back to the middle east in the 5th century. Following this, centuries later, knitting began to rise in popularity here in Europe. As a result of this growth in popularity, factories were set up across the continent simply to cope with the increasing demand for knitted clothing such as knitted hats, cardigans, scarves and jumpers.
One potential explanation for the continued popularity of knitwear is down to it’s durability and practicality. As many of us are already aware, clothing such as the Aran Sweater were born out of necessity. This meant that as well as being exquisitely crafted and unique, these sweaters performed exceptionally well in the harsh surroundings of the Aran Islands. Over time, as these garments made their way off the islands and into public consciousness, they soon became an iconic symbol of not only the Aran Islands, but of Irish tradition, culture and heritage.
Today, knitwear has become ever present within the fashion industry, with many major fashion brands frequently showcasing knitwear in their catwalk shows. This transformation of a traditional practice of making clothing into a genuine mainstay of the global fashion landscape means that Irish Knitwear also has its place secured amongst the most sought after styles of clothing available anywhere in the world. Indeed, in 2017 an Aran Jumper from the 1940s was selected for inclusion in the New York Museum of Modern Art as one of the most enduring and powerful examples of 20th century clothing.
The fact that knitwear remains popular is unsurprising to us here at The Donegal Shop. Since 1995, we have been selecting and selling some of the finest examples of Irish Knitwear available anywhere in Ireland. As a result, the products we stock are nothing short of the finest Aran Sweaters for ladies and men, cardigans, hats, flat caps, scarves and shawls we can find.
June 30, 2021
On July 1st 1995, Carol took over the Donegal Shop here in Dublin's Stephen's Green Shopping Centre. It it hard to beieve through everything here we are still here trading through possibly the hardest 18 months in business the world has seen in a long time.
When we were forced to close for two days due to heavy snow fall in 2018 we thought that was a nightmare, little did we know that in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid Pandemic we would close for 6 months of each year.
Thankfully our doors are back open. Local regular customers warm our hearts with their enthusiasm and support of our shop.
Carol, who still works Saturdays in the shop and helps with buying as it is with her great eye we have been able to choose the best of Irish Products. Linda-Mae runs the shop now on day to day basis but mother and daughter are in constant contact discussing what is next!
We have had some very famous faces in over the years, we didn't get photos of them all as many stars simply wished to quietly shop which we always respected but some loved a photo like Ted Koppel CNN News Anchor.
Bill Clinton casually walked into the shop in 2006, congratulated Linda-Mae on passing the Irish Bar exams and shopped for a while!
In Autumn 1995 , Daniel O'Donnell came to Dublin to cut the ribbon on the shop and a very special night was had with a fashion show, a few songs by Daniel and drinks and canapes in what was the Dome Restaurant.
We have had some incredible staff members over the years which have helped us stay in business, coupled with a lot of hard work and grit here is to many more!
Use 26YEARSINBIZ for your 26% online until July 4th and thank you too all our loyal customers and friends for their continued support.
June 11, 2021
Aran Sweaters are an iconic piece of Irish heritage, recognized and admired for their lasting appeal and durability. However, how did these garments which are now famous across the globe rise to prominence and popularity? We all know where Aran Sweaters originated, the clue is in the name. But what is it which has secured their everlasting appeal and popularity.
The Aran Islands from which the famous sweater gets its name is made up of a cluster of three relatively small islands, Inishmore, Inishmaan and Inisheer, which are situated off the coast of Galway in the West of Ireland. Due to their location, harsh and unpredictable weather conditions have always been a part of island life. These conditions are what led islanders to craft sweaters which were capable of withstanding the tough, challenging climate of life on these islands. In order to do sheep's wool was used due to not only its durability, but also the warmth it provides when faced with the harsh elements of the Aran Islands.
Another characteristic which makes Aran Sweaters stand out from other styles of jumpers and cardigans are the intricate patterns which have made this strand of Irish Knitwear so iconic. These unique patterns were painstakingly crafted, with each carrying its own distinct meaning. The skill and expertise required to create these patterns has no doubt contributed to the lasting appeal of Aran Sweaters. Some patterns symbolize the fields on the islands, while others are intended to bring good fortune to the wearer.
Here at The Donegal Shop, many of our sweaters are made from 100% Merino sheep's wool. This is in keeping with the tradition of using sheep's wool or lambs wool when crafting authentic Aran Sweaters. The reason for this is simple. Wool was readily available to Aran Island residents due to the agricultural nature of the islands. In addition, sheep's wool and Merino wool in particular is water resistant and provided native fisherman with perfect insulation from the elements.
Thankfully, the Irish Government's campaign to promote and sell Irish made goods and products abroad throughout the 1950s saw Irish made clothing such as Aran Sweaters leave the island and enter the public consciousness. This was achieved through a variety of famous faces wearing their Aran Sweaters in public, such as Grace Kelly. Increased public awareness of these sweaters led to an increase in public demand and soon Aran sweaters became popular all around the globe. This has led to many international fashion brands putting their own spin on this unique slice of Irish heritage and history.
May 10, 2021
Famous the world over for their warmth, comfort and durability, Aran sweaters owe their name to a cluster of small islands situated off the west coast of Ireland. It was here, around the turn of the 20th century, islanders began crafting sweaters from sheep’s wool. The natural oils present within the sheep’s wool gave these sweaters water resistant qualities, making them ideal for the varied demands of island life. Initially, these sweaters were knitted by hand by island residents, forever linking this style of garment to the Aran Islands.
Also sometimes referred to as Aran Jumpers, these hardy garments began to enter public consciousness around the 1940’s, and by the 1950’s had started appearing in fashion magazines such as Vogue. As a result, these jumpers which had originated as workwear for islanders, had now made the transition into public consciousness.
Mass production soon followed in an attempt to meet public demand, with various famous faces such as Grace Kelly and The Clancy Brothers all providing invaluable publicity to the Aran Sweater. Today, the Aran Jumper remains popular and relevant with stars such as Taylor Swift recently seen wearing her own slice of Irish Heritage.
There are also various styles of stitching synonymous with Aran Jumpers. These include Cable Stiches, The Trinity Stich, Diamond Trellis Stiches and Plaited Cable Stitching. Each of these provide Aran Jumpers with their unique appearance and identity and have helped make these garments famous and celebrated the world over. These stitch patterns give Aran Sweaters their unique appearance, as well as helping to keep us well protected from the elements.
Here at The Donegal Shop, our range of Aran Jumpers features a wide array of authentic styles and colours, all remaining true to the heritage of these iconic garments. So, why not browse our range of authentic Irish Knitwear today?
February 08, 2021
We have stocked John Hanly & Co's product since we opened in 1995, their quality and style has always been of the higest standard, they weave beautiful blankets and scarves using a wealth of fabrics from lambs wool to Merino Wool mixing it up with Cashmere's. All made in their factory in Tipperary.
Originally Set up in 1893 by Denis Hanly and his son John when they converted a disused Flour mill into a weaving mill powered by the nearby Nenagh River in Ballytella County Tipperary, and began spinning anf weaving wool from local farmer's fleeces.
In 1938 The traditional water mill wheel was replaced by a new water turbine. The same water turbine is still working and produces electricity from the Nenagh river, providing a sustainable source of power.
The business survived through World War II despite the world shortest on raw material.
In the 1960's John Hanly + Co. Ltd were the first woollen weaver to replace the traditional shuttle loom with the more modern rapier loom
Over a period of a few years all shuttle looms were replaced by these rapier looms which produced fabric more efficiently and with better quality.
This is Brian Hanly , the fourth generation Hanly who has steered his family business into the future with an innovative online presence as well as maintaining the Companies high standard pf premium quality Fabrics and modern designs.
One of our favourite Hanly products is the Merino Wool Cashmere Blanket it's luxurious and cosy, extremely warm and a real comforter.
One of the most popular items in store for us is the Brushed Merino Wool Scarf
A Hug in Rug. What a gorgeous idea , for the month of February we will give a free "Hug in a Rug" , a lovely fabric branded bag from Hanly to carry your blanket to the beach or for a picnic, a great Valentines gift for the family!
August 13, 2020
In our third installment of #designerspotlight this month we wanted to talk about Ireland's Eye Knitwear, who are based here in Dublin. With The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland launching the wonderful #madelocal campaign last month promoting Irish made home grown products, this gives us all the chance to own something that is genuinely #madelocal.
It's something we have always promoted in our shop and we are delighted to be a part of this campaign in such an uncertain time for our industry. Buying #irishmade products keeps a long line of jobs in Ireland.
This brings us to Ireland's Eye Knitwear, a family owned company that have been making beautiful knitwear in North County Dublin for over 30 years.
Brothers Paul & Brendan O'Sullivan inspired by their father knitting Aran Sweaters for the family have grown a company that exports its products world wide and throughout shops in Ireland.
Kate O'Sullivan is the third generation bringing her own style and knowledge to the family business.
They have kept to tradition making beautiful #Aran Sweaters in a contemporary style using soft and ultra soft Merino wools. Our personal favourite is the Aran Lattice Collar.
The company get their inspiration from their beautiful surroundings of Howth & Baldoyle and the tiny uninhabited island of Ireland's Eye, which drives the waves over Claremont Beach in the village of Howth.
Having stocked Ireland's Eye for 25 years we have gotten to know the O'Sullivan family and their staff who are always a pleasure to deal with, great fun and their products sell themselves. We love to tell customers their sweaters are made here in Dublin.
One word that sums up the brand for us is style. They have it in abundance; from their unique designs to the final hand finished products. As well as their beautiful annual catalogue, which is always shot in Dublin, and their innovative displays at Showcase Ireland year in year out.
When Covid-19 hit and the factory in Baldoyle closed the company pivoted their business using their machines and skills to make face masks for the large amount of nursing homes in the area. There was such a strong reaction #Faceit was born: a business in itself selling Irish made masks online. Check it out on Facebook.
That's what we call community!
May 20, 2020
We're back again today with the second installment of our latest blog series, #designerspotlight.
In these difficult and uncertain times, we wanted to dedicate some space on our brand new website to share with you the background and origin stories of some of our most loved suppliers.
This week we're chatting all about the famed traditional Irish brand, Magee 1886.
Founded in Donegal in 1886 by John Magee, the business bought and sold handwoven Donegal tweed.
Experiencing great success over the next number of years, the brand passed hands to businessman Robert Temple and continued to grow and expand.
Overcoming many challenges such as the First and Second World War, Magee 1886 went from strength to strength and were even responsible for designing and weaving the green tweed for the first Aerlingus uniforms.
Fast-forward to 2020 and Magge 1886 is celebrating 154 years in business.
The Donegal Shop has been a proud stockist of their clothing for both men and women for many years now and hopes to continue to introduce our customers to this fabulous heritage brand for many years to come.
Check out some of our top picks from the brand over on our website today.
April 20, 2020
April 08, 2020
April 07, 2020
Last year we had the pleasure of attending and sponsoring the latest of in a long line of incredible events that are run and organized by the tweeting goddess, Samantha Kelly.
The Women's Inspire Network met at Harveys Point in Donegal and gathered together exceptional women from all over the country, business coaches, social media advisors and many business owners, large and small.
There was a fantastic buzz surrounding the event and a truly incredible bunch of people gathered together on the day.
April 07, 2020
We’re so proud to be a stockist of so many wonderful Irish brands. Stocking high quality, traditional and unique Irish made pieces is at the heart of what we do, so today we wanted to talk you through some of the brands you can expect to find online and in-store at the Donegal Shop.
1) McNutt of Donegal
Located in the seaside village of Downings, on Donegal’s Wild Atlantic Way, McNutt of Donegal have been producing some of the world’s finest weaves for over 60 years.
Every collection is designed in-house by a dedicated team of talented designers who remain constantly inspired by the rugged coastline and nature’s playground that surrounds them.
Using only the very best quality wool, combined with excellent local craftsmanship, McNutt of Donegal create something very special every day.
2) Irelands Eye Knitwear
Irelands Eye has always been about a deep sense of kinship and an inseparable connection to a place.
Three generations of the same family and a devoted, talented crew of workers (many with a quarter century’s history with the company) all working to build a vibrant international knitwear brand.
Over the past 40 years, we’ve combined a traditional Irish knitwear heritage with the very best of European design. The results are now sold in over 20 countries across the globe.
3) Orwell and Browne
Orwell & Browne is an award-winning Irish heritage brand creating luxurious handmade Donegal tweed products.
Founder Catriona Mc Ginley launched the company in late 2014. The craft of weaving tweed fabric has been a tradition in her family for the past three generations and with a love for textiles and design she has created a range of products using traditional materials but with a contemporary twist.
Each product is designed and handmade in Ireland using locally sourced Donegal tweed fabric which has been inspired and designed to capture the colours and textures of the Irish land and seascapes.
4) Aine Knitwear
Áine was established at the turn of the century by fashion designer Áine Behan.
Growing up on the Wild Atlantic Way on the west coast of Ireland has deeply influenced Áine.
The strong family heritage of knitting ensured that Áine was immersed in the craft as she watched the women of her family instinctively knit Aran sweaters without patterns or guides, having mastered the craft from the previous generations.
This experience created in Áine a love of knitwear that continues to inspire her to this day.
THE DONEGAL SHOP
201 St Stephen's Green Shopping Centre