Getting away from the stereotypical Irish souvenirs (whiskey, chocolate infused with whiskey, and Guinness branded products since you asked) can be a challenge. Getting something that truly sums up somewhere like Kerry – a rustic, rugged, old-worldly county laden with charm – is still harder. You could just pop down any one of the countless tat shops that line Killarney‘s main streets. Or, and we’re here to help you with this, you could do that little bit better. If you’re spending big and leaving the European Union for a substantial period of time after your trip, by the way, it’s worth checking out the tax rebate system on VAT (sales tax) for tourists. As for the shopping itself, here are our top suggestions.
Many people try to capture Kerry’s beauty, but as a visitor, nature can somewhat conspire against you: getting those perfect landscape photos is an exercise in extreme patience as well as talent. Peter Cox has both in abundance, and his Killarney store showcases the county wonderfully, offering the chance to snap up arty images of Skellig Michael, Mount Brandon, Dingle, and the Ring of Kerry, or pretty much anywhere else in the county you care to mention. Let’s be honest, his images are likely to far surpass your holiday snaps…
5 Plunkett Street, Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland, +353 646686076
First off, yes, Avoca is a chain, one that can be found in various corners of Ireland, but it’s a great one. A mix of classy food and high-end kitchenware, home decor and clothing, this is certainly not a cheap option but does seem to source some of the most imaginative local offerings. Examples? Herringbone throws, elaborate pottery, coffee table books, and local fashion. How good is it? Retail Week recently rated Avoca one of the 100 most inspiration stores in the world. Best book some extra luggage space…
Moll’s Gap, Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland, +353 646634720
Another imaginative little business located right out on the rural Atlantic coast, Skellig Chocolates is a spot where you can watch the rich products being made, or simply settle into indulging in an abundance of high-end sugary treats. Check out the demos and tour, get a personalised chocolate-penned letter for a friend (or an entire chocolate football boot), or go local and have your purchase blended with whiskey or strawberries. The views aren’t at all bad, either.
Waterford Crystal might be one of Ireland’s most famous companies, but ‘young upstart’ Dingle Crystal (whose impressive offerings date back to just 1998) is another place to beat the cliched whiskey import, and get a few beautiful accessories to drink the stuff out of instead. Decanters, crystal bowls, chandeliers and plain old (very, very fancy) drinking devices are the order of the day here. They use traditional Celtic designs, while you can also tour the workshop.
Green Street, Dingle, County Kerry, Ireland, +353 669151550