The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

We've delved into the delight that is Christmas shopping trips before, but this time around, we're doing it on the Emerald Isle.

There won't just be the usual shopping on Grafton Street in Dublin, as the markets will provide more options and more atmosphere...we'll be checking all of it out while making sure we can claim that tax back (don't forget to ask when you buy!) Yes, there may be an abundance of Aran Sweaters for the in-laws this year...but think of all the home-made crafts that will be around!!!

One thing we'll be sure to recommend to any visitor in Dublin this year is to check out one of our favourite spots, The Ginger Man Pub! They go ALL out with their Christmas decorations. If you're looking for a splendid spot, it's one of the best. Chances are, if you're travelling with us, you won't be too far away from it for a nice stroll to check it out. Also, if you've managed to lose us, there's a good chance it's where we are ( or we'll be acting all Joyce-like in Davy Byrnes.)

It's not all about the capital, hang in there! We'll also be wandering on down to Waterford to the winter wonderland that is Winterval. Ireland's Oldest City (#IrelandsAncientEast!!!) has already kicked off the annual festivities and Santa has set up shop (I've heard rumours the Grinch is around as well.) The lights have been strung, the carousel spins...and we're keen to finish up work and have some seasonal refreshment in places such as the Chocolate Cafe and pints in local favourites like Geoffs.

Small sheds are currently scattered around Waterford's Viking Triangle filled with local crafts and home-made goodness. Keep an eye out for a few festival snaps, the weather may be cold but we're not about to miss out on any holiday hoopla!

So let's get down to it, our favourite Irish brands...and the things that at least one person on our list is getting (and the things you can buy online if you're stuck elsewhere this month.)

Forget the socks!

We recently held a charity event with the Wild Colonial Bhoys in aid of Pieta House and got some spot prizes donated by fantastic people as outlined in our previous blog. We'd like to point out that Flahavan's is our breakfast food of choice during the's all about the oats after all. (we often stop by the grocery shop and grab some nibbles to take back to Minnesota. No Bacon! WE SWEAR!) While setting up the raffle table, there's a chance we grew quite fond of the Metalman Brewing Tee (complete with brewing process on the back!) Any craft beer lover would be glad to find this one under the tree...we were reluctant to leave that one go.

Speaking of T-Shirts...Two Ton Murphy  carries a nice little selection that we enjoy. As avid visitors to Dingle (fish...pubs...Fungie,) we're fans of the Endure Tee. The fact being, half of us live in Minnesota and we know how cruel winters can get, we'd be set to Endure like Tom Crean in Antarctica. (We'll have the Crean Dingle brew too.) Of course, if you're looking for something simultaneously subtle and super Irish, their logo bearing Keystone Tee is QUITE nice in green...(*hinthint*)

Oh, and if you want to pay a visit to TTM...we have a 10% discount code for you ;) Just keep in mind that we're Irish and we love our hurling (Up The Deise!) Code...TTMCJOURNEYS.

Crystal & silver anyone?

We'd like to say support Waterford by buying some crystal, but most of it isn't even made in the country any why not take a look at some ex Waterford Crystal employees in Kite or Sean Egan?! Egan, former master engraver with Waterford Crystal, has designed some epic pieces as of late including a 9/11 commemorative crystal sculpture that currently resides in New York.

You may or may not know where we're going with silver...Newbridge! The collections are timeless and the gifts are plentiful. They have a 1759 collection...otherwise known as The Guinness collection. They're attractive pieces, we'll say that for sure!

One last thing to say before we go...

Step away from the Brown Thomas type stores this Christmas time and look at those markets...we bet you'll find something you love more than that free makeover...and you'll be supporting local and hard-working people!

It's the season of giving...but time spent with family is most important. The giving of pyjamas seems to be a bit of a tradition in our culture, so settle in for a movie night and relax in some nice warm fleece. ;)

We know how family is, so don't forget to throw some seasonal stress balls in the stockings for the craic?