Irish Design Shop: A home for Irish Design

Photo of Irish Design Shop: A home for Irish Design

The Christmas windows have just gone in at Irish Design Shop. With these beautiful white vinyl designs by Sally Caulwell, their new Christmas stock in place and their annual calendar ready to go, founders Clare Grennan and Laura Caffrey are ready to embrace the Christmas period.

Photo of Irish Design Shop: A home for Irish Design

Irish Design Shop in Dublin is a home for Irish design and craft with the products of both well-known designer-makers as well as those of smaller, less well-known makers on sale. Then there's the range of Áras goods for the home which are designed and commissioned by business partners Clare and Laura who first met at NCAD as students. “Drury Street is where it’s at. It is the ideal street for our shop and we’ve built up a loyal customer base here,” says Clare.

Photo of Irish Design Shop: A home for Irish Design

The shop sits happily at 41 Drury Street among the coffee shops, florists and young designer boutiques and specialises in Irish designed and made products. You’ll find ceramics by Adam Frew, Andrew Ludick and Stephen Pearce, woven willow skibs (a flat basket traditionally used to wash and serve potatoes) and bird feeders  by Tipperary-based Hanna Van Aelst, prints by the aforementioned Sally Caulwell, Martina Scott and Fergus O’Neill and candles by Candella and Brookfield Farm. There are bags by The Atlantic Equipment Project and even honey from hives positioned across Dublin by the Dublin Honey Project.

Photo of Irish Design Shop: A home for Irish Design

Here you’ll find a selection of children’s books by Irish illustrators and other gorgeous products for children including knitted booties by Nellies and hand-made bears and hares made in John Hanly tweed by Pieces of Great in Tipperary.

Photo of Irish Design Shop: A home for Irish Design

Clare and Laura also design their own range of homewares which are made by Irish craftspeople under the brand name Ǻras (meaning a house of importance). Currently in-store as part of this collection are hanging plant pots by Helen Faulkner, soap made by Clarke’s of Dublin and wooden wall hooks by Matt Jones.

Photo of Irish Design Shop: A home for Irish Design

As well as this range, Clare and Laura design and make their “Names” brand of jewellery above Irish Design Shop where there are two floors of studio space occupied by themselves and numerous other jewellers. “We apply traditional techniques to make very contemporary jewellery,” they explain.

Photo of Irish Design Shop: A home for Irish Design

Starting Irish Design Shop almost ten years ago, they say that the style of their product has changed over the years as they’ve gained deeper knowledge of the heritage and stories behind the various makers and their work.  The never envisaged selling something like a St. Brigid's Cross but when one knows the maker growing and  harvesting the willow to make them, it brings a whole new dimension to the product. "We've researched more about the history and the story of the crafts which makes us appreciate them even more," says Laura. 

"It's about the whole process of the making of the object," says Clare. "With some of the more traditional pieces it's a fine line between twee and tasteful and it's about mixing up the more traditional items with exciting, contemporary pieces from designers such as Adam Frew, Andrew Luddick or Wild Coccoon." "It's very much an edited selection of Irish design and craft," says Laura. 


Photo of Irish Design Shop: A home for Irish Design

Many of their customers come looking specifically for the store, not least since the shop was featured in the New York Times. "People have been  coming in with the NYT article since the summer. People research more before visiting a city abroad, so being featured in The New York Times or in the Lonely Planet is great for us," they say. And with a constantly updated website, Clare and Laura also find that tourist customers are not just once-off customers. 

Photo of Irish Design Shop: A home for Irish Design

Each year Irish Design Shop commissions an artist or printmaker to design a calendar. For 2018 the calendar (with tear-out prints for future framing) has been illustrated by Denise Nestor with pictures based on stories from Irish mythology and folklore. This calendar is yet another addition to the selection of Irish products available in this special shop which stocks pretty, useful Irish-made goods which, if cared for, should last a lifetime. 

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