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Irish Aran Sweaters- Your Shopping Questions Answered

childrens aran sweater

Child’s aran sweater at Kilkenny Design Centre

Where can you get affordable, authentic Irish Aran sweaters?

This is a question I’ve been asked a few times, most recently by two travel bloggers visiting Ireland for the TBEX conference. Mariellen BreatheDreamGo.com, and Kristin from SouvenirFinder.com, were looking for some tips on price, styles, and degrees of scratchiness 🙂

It will not come as a surprise to you that these traditionally made Irish jumpers (sweaters) are not cheap. The most expensive are the ones which are completely handmade, next in cost are the ones handmade on a loom, followed by sweaters machine made but hand finished. But, I’ve a tip you may use to save yourself some money!

In our part of Kilkenny we’re very lucky that we’ve 3 local shops that can stock Aran sweaters- the first two are small & wonderful, but they don’t really specialize in the sweaters, although they can have some.

These two shops do have lovely craft items though, and if you are in the area they are worth a visit. Cushendale Woolen Mill in Graiguenamanagh specializes in blankets & knitting wool yarn; they also are online. The Craft Shop & Cottage Museum at Ballilogue Clochan is a total gem, but is only open to non-Inn guests from June through September. Do click & have a look online- you’ll want to make that trip!

Those places are special but only small, so I’m going to give you information from the larger Kilkenny Design Centre, which is located across from the Castle in Kilkenny City. It has a wide selection, a long tradition in Irish craft, and the staff are very helpful. They’ve also an online shop, but for best selection, do go in.

 Irish Aran sweater knit patterns meanings

Irish Aran sweaters: knit pattern meanings

For Aran sweaters, as well as the traditional ‘scratchier’ wool, you can now also get them in softer Merino wool. Prices depend on the degree of hand-work involved. The approximate prices in Euros are:

Handknit (i.e. knitting needles):  190-220

Hand-loomed:  125

 Machine made but hand finished:  50-70

These are the Kilkenny Design Centre prices, I’ve been told by shoppers it can sometimes cost more in different Dublin shops.

If you really want an Aran sweater bargain, also check the second-hand/pre-loved shops! Seriously- that is where I bought my Aran sweater; it only cost a tenner 🙂

The patterns on the traditional Irish Aran sweaters have different meanings; this photo (opposite) tells you some of them.

There are many colours available, and variations of style, as well as new designs & children’s wear at the Kilkenny Design Centre. They’ve plenty of other Irish designed and crafted items, too, and what is also nice is that the shop is just in front of the National Craft Gallery of Ireland. The gallery shows changing exhibits of top-notch modern craft, and often has interesting events for adults, as well as children’s activities. I love this place! Do check their website.

Ireland’s craft scene is thriving, and you may want to see what craftspeople are producing along the lines of more modern Irish knitwear. The Crafts Council site has a listings service where you can narrow down by craft type, county, and price range. Lots to browse!

I must also mention irishhandcraft.com for the Irish Aran sweaters. They are family run shop located in one of our favorite Irish cities, Limerick, but they also have a big online selection. I’ve not been to their shop yet or bought from them online, but they seem a very good place to check if you want a large selection & are buying online or are in Limerick.

More Aran Sweaters to buy Online

I’ve also been told about Quills Woolen Market, which also has a nice online selection, as well as a shop in Killarney. They’ve also some handmade Aran sweaters in lovely colours- the purply/wine is gorgeous.

Recently I’ve been alerted to Aran Sweater Market which are located on the Aran Islands, Shannon Airport and Killarney as well as online. 

Another online shop is Arans of Ireland, who also have a sale on for St Patrick’s Day, 2017. Check it out!

Arans of Ireland has this lovely wrap on sale for St Patrick's Day 2017

Arans of Ireland has this lovely hooded wrap on sale for St Patrick’s Day 2017

You’re spoiled for choice!

Below are a few photos of items available at the Kilkenny Design Centre, and a modern design from Linda Wilson Knitwear. Happy jumper hunting!Crafts for sale Kilkenny Design Centre Irish aran sweaters for sale Kilkenny Design Centre

Kilkenny Design Centre sweaters

Kilkenny Design Centre sweaters selection

modren Irish sweater, from lindawilsonknitwear.com

From lindawilsonknitwear.com

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Comments

What an incredibly helpful post and great knitwear eye candy! Thanks so much for breaking it all down and for all your great photos of what’s on offer. I actually did not even realize that handmade could mean handknit or handmade on a loom– that’s great to know that you can save a bit and still get something that is truly made by hand. And yay for merino wool– my sensitive skin will be pleased! Hope I can squeeze in Kilkenny on this trip. My last time in Kilkenny was on a girls’ road trip we did across Ireland a couple of years ago– 4 nyc girls who rarely drive with a malfunctioning gps– but that’s another story. Hands down our night out in Kilkenny was the most fun of the entire trip.

Glad you found it helpful, Kirstin! Your NYC-Kilkenny story is a good one, I bet– the Irish back roads are a bit of a challenge 🙂 I look forward to hearing or reading it one day. And I guess you found out first hand why Kilkenny was voted 9th friendliest city in the world! Happy shopping!

Wow! I was not even thinking of buying a sweater while at TBEX but these photos! Definitely making me want to sniff one out! Thrift shop recs?

I’ve not been thrifting in Dublin for a while, but there are usually thrift shops along Georges Street, & also Temple Bar, tho those were always more pricey- but def worth a look. Flip was one, & Wild Child, & another tho I can’t remember the name.– but, sure, wander round & you’ll find some, or ask when you’re there. In my neck of the woods we’ve a few in Kilkenny, and Waterford is also good for thrifting. Happy hunting 🙂

Hi Susan, thank you for sharing those suggestions on sourcing an authentic aran sweater. I was lucky enough to visit Ireland in the fall of last year and we visited the beautiful region of West Cork and also took a trip to the Blarney stone. While there, I came across a wonderful retail store where you can purchase a range of classic aran sweaters ( blarney.com/aran-sweaters ) which is well worth a visit for those on vacation. I must remember to take a trip to Killarney on my next visit 🙂

Autumn is a great time to visit Ireland, and for wearing the Irish sweaters 🙂 Glad you enjoyed!

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