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Donegal in Donegal?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by YoungAmerican, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. YoungAmerican

    YoungAmerican Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Has anyone purchased Donegal tweed in Donegal?

    I'm going to be there for a few days this fall, and wondered if there were any mills or hand-loomers who sold yardage to the public.
     
  2. Racing Green

    Racing Green Senior member

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    The Donegal Tweed industry is in a bit of a sorry state with knitwear being much bigger than tweed these days. There are still a few places worth a visit though -

    John Molloy in Ardara - http://www.johnmolloy.com/

    Studio Donegal in Kilcar - http://www.studiodonegal.ie/

    The Studio Donegal people are really cool, spent a few happy hours with them last year.

    Both of these will point you in other directions too. Kilcar and Ardara are stunning places as is Glencolumbkille just up the road. That part of Donegal is my favourite part of Ireland.

    Also if you like eccentric places to stay the Green Gate B&B in Ardara is an experience. Run by a crazy old Frenchman, it's like nowhere else I've ever stayed. Beware though he's very wary of Americans!

    http://www.thegreengate.eu/
     
  3. YoungAmerican

    YoungAmerican Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Wonderful, RG, thanks so much.
     
  4. hpreston

    hpreston Senior member

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    Bumping an old thread.

    I'm headed to Ireland in a couple of weeks. Besides Donegal, what else in Ireland is of interest from a MC perspective. I'll be in Dublin for a few days, then off with no real itinerary.
     
  5. Longmorn

    Longmorn Senior member

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  6. atila

    atila Senior member

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    Men's Clothing^
     
  7. Longmorn

    Longmorn Senior member

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    Facepalm. Sorry - should have guessed.

    If I recall correctly, there are a couple places in Galway city worth visiting. And of course the Aran Islands are as extraordinary as the sweaters they produce.

    If you're an equestrian, you can find great hunting pinks, hacking jackets and boots.

    Not sure what else.
     
  8. hpreston

    hpreston Senior member

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    Thanks for the reply. Any more info on the spots in Galway? Clothing stores?

    And yes, Aran islands!
     
  9. Racing Green

    Racing Green Senior member

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    Galway is full of tourist traps looking to take your dollars but you have check out Inismeain on the Aran Islands - www.inismeain.ie
     
  10. Longmorn

    Longmorn Senior member

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    I was last in Galway in 2008 and can't recall the names of the shops. While there were certainly tourist traps, I recall at least a couple of places that catered to locals and high-end guests. There also used to be a few good places doing interesting tweeds out in Connemara and along the N59 to Clifden, and along the coast road in the same direction (in Roundstone, if I recall correctly).

    Sorry I can't be more specific. It's been a while.
     
  11. Longmorn

    Longmorn Senior member

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    Oh, and if you drive up into Connemara and find I'm wrong, the scenery should be some solace. It's a beautiful area.
     
  12. KObalto

    KObalto Senior member

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  13. Racing Green

    Racing Green Senior member

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  14. YoungAmerican

    YoungAmerican Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    [​IMG]

    Semi-related - the first thing I had made from fabric I bought at Molloy & Sons.
     
  15. hpreston

    hpreston Senior member

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    Thanks all!!

    Great SC Jesse
     
  16. cptjeff

    cptjeff Senior member

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    Go to O'Maille. The absolute best aran sweaters in the world, no ifs, ands, ors, or buts. Pricetag to match, but absolutely worth dropping into when you're in Galway. Even though I wasn't in the market for one when I was there, the proprietor was very friendly and happy to show off her wares, and enjoyed talking about them. They've done a tremendous amount of work to preserve the skills at the top end, training new knitters and providing an outlet for the best knitters to sell their goods at a higher price. I was shown a sweater knit by a women who the store owner said was one of the best ever, and it was shockingly good. Incredibly dense, and even the ribbing at the bottom was cable knit- in three different braid designs in a regular pattern.

    Seriously, even if you're not in the market for a 350 euro sweater that could probably sub in for a parka on most occasions, you need to at least feel one.

    There are also a bunch of touristy shops both in Galway and on the islands selling the much lighter weight frame loom knitted versions for ~50 euros or the lesser hand knits (which are still kick-ass sweaters) for ~100 euros, along with tweed caps all through there. Even the cheapest versions around are all wool and pretty nice sweaters in their own right, don't be afraid of them and don't go home without at least something. And get a tweed cap, but be careful and try them on first. Different makers have different cuts, and some of the fuller cuts just looked silly on me. I wound up getting one from John Hanley & Co. Hannah Hats is probably the biggest name, but their regular cut was just too full and their closer cut had a ridiculously long bill for me. Whatever you buy, it'll form to your head a little better after a shower or two.
     
  17. lefty

    lefty Senior member

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    In before discussion of J's moustache.

    There are a few shops in Galway that deal with smal local weavers and patterns exclusive to them. Can't remember off the top of my head (O'Maille?). Should be easy to find.

    Did not see a single sheep on the Aran Islands when I was there, but I didn't make it over to Inis Meain. Great looking hotel though.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    http://inismeain.com/suites.html

    lefty
     
  18. cptjeff

    cptjeff Senior member

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    There's a reason for that- they bring the wool in. Most of the sheep were sold off when there was a crash in wool demand in, IIRC, the 70's, and they brought in cows, if they stayed with raising animals at all. In recent years, it's been economically viable to raise sheep again, but it costs a lot of money to build up a herd, so while they're coming back, it's happening fairly slowly. If you do go to Inis Mor, you'll see a lot of the weavers hanging out doing their knitting in random places- I think there were 4 or 5 hanging out in the little shop right by Dun Aengus, which is kind of neat.

    Oh, and take one of the car tours. Biking would be a pretty way to see the island, but it's big, and a car gets you around faster. More importantly, the narration from a local gets you a whole lot more background on just about everything, far beyond the background on the various individual tourist sites.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2012
  19. apack

    apack Senior member

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    Avoca is worth stopping for. It is not in Letterfrack, but rather a stand-alone building on the N59 south of Letterfrack.

    Hanna hats are great. I wear one almost every day in the fall. You don't have to go to Ireland to get one though -- you can get them through ebay. They used to sell direct through ebay, but it seems they might not do that any longer.

    Roundstone and Errisbeg are great, as is the coast drive. I have put below a photo of the Twelve Bens from Roundstone harbor on a nice late summer day.

    For food, buy some Connemara Smokehouse products -- can be had at many local stores. This is the best smoked fish I've ever had, and I eat a lot of this type of thing. You can also visit their factory outside Ballyconneely. Nice drive there, past the castle at Bunowen (though you can't visit the castle, as it's privately owned).

    The Connemara Hamper is a nice little shop in Clifden selling local products.

    Moran's Oyster Cottage on the Weir in Kilcolgan, just south of Galway, is a great place for local seafood.


    [​IMG]
     

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