Ireland, land of sheep and wonderful woollens

Sheep stand off in Co. Kerry
A sheep stand off in the Caha Mountains, along the N71 to Kenmare, Co. Kerry.
Sheep on the road
Sheep on the road at Moll’s Gap.
Moll's Gap
Moll’s Gap in Co. Kerry.
Woolly goodness at Avoca, 11-13 Suffolk Street, Dublin 2.
Knits at the Irish Design Shop
Knits at the Irish Design Shop – 41 Drury St, Dublin 2.
Kevin & Howlin
Kevin & Howlin, specialists in hand-woven Donegal tweed. The shop is at 31 Nassau Street, Dublin 2.
Barleycove, a beach near Crookhaven and Goleen in Co. Cork.
Burren Fine Wine and Food
Burren Fine Wine and Food, on Corkscrewhill Road in Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare.
Streedagh Strand
Seaweed specialist Prannie Rhatigan running across Streedagh Strand in Co. Sligo. That’s Benbulben – Ireland’s “Table Mountain” – in the distance.
Streedagh Strand
Sea pinks growing out of the rocks on Streedagh Strand, Co. Sligo.
Black mussels on Streedagh strand
Black mussels on Streedagh strand.

I spent an incredible seven nights in Ireland on a work trip in May. Although my focus was culinary (read my story on Irish farmhouse cheeses on the National Post), I did squeeze in a couple of woollen blankets for myself, and a failed trip to This Is Knit in Dublin (Note: don’t necessarily trust the opening hours listed on their website).

Hopefully a future trip to this wonderful land allows for visits to woollen mills – Avoca, Cushendale, Donegal, Foxford, and Kerry – and of course the Aran Islands. Fellow knitters will admire the work of Inis Meáin Knitting Company; building on a rich tradition of knitted fishermen’s garments born of necessity and practicality, now with a luxurious touch.

I covered 1,530 kilometres in Ireland; my tips for an Irish road trip, as well as a video and more photos are included in my story on Driving.