Gifts from Galway
Like the abundant green-tinged souvenir shops found in every corner in Dublin, but far classier. Gifts from Galway deals in Guinness memorabilia and Celtic-embossed hoodies, but also in Connemara marble, Claddagh rings (and plenty of other local jewellery), tweed, and traditional charms.
Cloon Keen Atelier
A suave family-run business in the heart of medieval Galway, Cloon Keen Atelier offers a unique allure: the scent of Ireland. Their niche, Galway-made scented products also take in plenty of toiletries, and the shop always has a qualified perfume expert on hand to advise. Their scents, they say, are “unconventional and understated,” and made using traditional manufacturing techniques.
21A High Street, Galway, Ireland, +353 91565736
A spot for delicate, high-end purchases that specializes particularly in China, pottery, linen and fragrances, this is the kind of place where you could easily blow a budget, but you’ll get quality in exchange. Check out iconic soft toy ‘Paddy Bear’, an impressive array of Waterford Crystal, and the traditional Bodhran drum (below).
33 William Street, Galway, Ireland, +353 91563862
Vanda Luddy Art Gallery
The go-to place for Galway -themed art, Vanda Luddy makes stark, sunshiney imagery of the city at its very best, featuring all the prominent locations, as well as a few you might not have checked out. If you can’t stretch to the originals themselves, she also has prints, and pretty much any other common souvenir you care to mention printed with images of Galway Bay or the Connemara hills.
11 Abbeygate Street Upper, Galway, Ireland, +353 87 285 5705
Away With The Fairies
One of Ireland’s great start up success stories of recent years, Away With The Fairies produces beautiful miniature fairy doors (a longstanding, traditionally-rustic Irish pastime), complete with an almost endless array of accessories. Designed to be mounted around houses as a talking point for children, they’re interactive, detailed, full of finesse and an all round charmingly simple but memorable idea. Get in on the ground floor before this really goes global (Away with the fairies, incidentally, is an Irish expression for someone who’s lost their mind).
Glass Art by Sue Donnellan
A few kilometres outside Galway city in a tiny timeless craft village, Sue Donnellan produces unique, colourful glass offerings that range from jewellery to gorgeous glass lamp shades. A Dubliner inspired (like many before her) by Connemara’s rugged hills, much of Donnellan’s work is reflective of her immediate rural environment. Call ahead if you’re planning to visit in winter, as opening hours are more sporadic.
This minuscule little jeweller that looks little-changed in decades is one of Galway’s top producers of the famous Claddagh Ring, so well worth a glance. The shop has been going since 1879, and produce their own jewellery (including to order) on the premises, both in the traditional Claddagh form featuring a crown and two hearts, or in Celtic styles, often including marble from Connemara.
10 Williams Gate Street, Galway, Ireland, +353 91561 226
Royal Tara China
Set in the 18th-century family home of Galway’s Joyce tribe, the Royal Tara Visitor Centre is a solid tourist attraction in its own right. The distinctive, Celtic-image embossed china they produce is the main draw, however. Think spirals and weaves, blessings and plenty of Gaelic, all printed onto entire dinner sets, or just your own chunky tea mug to drink tea like the locals.
As well as being a fantastic throwback to the childhoods of the big kids amongst us, Wooden Heart’s range of traditional toys is gorgeous and in many cases quite unique. Naturally, much of what’s on offer is wooden, from delicate, fully operational music boxes to Russian dolls, via puzzles, pirates and musical instruments. If you look carefully, you can find a few with a nice Irish theme, too.
3 Quay Street, Galway, Ireland, +353 91563542