Sunday, November 5, 2017

Irish Peat, a Source of Heat, Energy and Gifts.

irish-peat cuttingIn Ireland, peat, which is also commonly called turf once it has been cut, is harvested from the bogs as a source of fuel; this practice has been an integral part of Irish history for centuries and continues today.

Peat is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation that is cut from the land. Traditionally, turf was hand cut with a sharp hoe that produced thick, muddy bricks that were stacked during the summer months to dry.

Until the 20th century, peat's principal uses as an alternative to wood were heat along with fuel for cooking. Peat continues to be used for heat and cooking in homes and business throughout Ireland; however, typically the milled peat is dried and compressed into briquettes.
irish-peat-giftsIn modern times the peat is scraped with heavy equipment as part of an industrialized process with much of the peat fired at electric generating stations. The Irish government established Bord na Móna as the agency that oversees the peat resources for the economic benefit of Ireland.

For centuries peat or turf has been an integral part of Irish history with the boglands possessing a rugged beauty that has inspired generations. Turf is a wonderful and unique product of the land that has evolved into a fine medium of artistic expression that enriches the links of our Celtic heritage and cultural identity.

The Irish Gift House is proud to offer a collection of carved ornaments and figurines that we have assembled in our new Irish peat gifts section. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Arizona Law Enforcement Emerald Society Shamrock Patch - The Green Backs the Blue

The Arizona Law Enforcement Emerald Society (ALEES) shamrock patch is back in stock at The Irish Gift House. 100% of the proceeds benefit the benevolent works of ALEES which includes assisting the families of fallen officers and first responders.

Arizona Law Enforcement Emerald Society Shamrock Patch.jpg

The ALEES patch features an embroidered earth tone design of the Arizona flag inside of a shamrock. This Irish patch measures 3" wide x 1 3/4" tall and it is two piece military or tactical style design with a Velcro backing. This shamrock patch will look great on caps or clothing along with backpacks and you will be assisting ALEES help the families of fallen first responders in both Arizona and throughout the United States.

The ALEES shamrock patch is available from The Irish Gift House for only $6.95 each or for a limited time you may receive one free of charge with any purchase of $99.00 or more. Either way, $6.95 is donated to ALEES for every patch shipped. Additionally, each patch is complete with a shamrock history card that is complements of The Irish Gift House.

The ALEES patch is a hot item that is now in its second production run. Through your generosity, The Irish Gift House has raised over $700.00 for ALEES since this promotion started in September, 2017. Through our special promotions and your assistance, The Irish Gift House has donated almost $37,000.00 to ALEES during the past decade. On the ALEES' Facebook page they write, While you are there, give them a good review, they've been backing the blue before it was popular.

Arizona Law Enforcement Emerald Society is compromised of Law Enforcement professionals, active and retired, throughout the great State of Arizona. They are part of a nationwide fraternal institution created over 60 years ago to promote a social spirit among police officers of Irish ancestry and those with an Irish spirit.

ALEES has evolved into a benevolent organization which, through its Non-Profit Foundation provides immediate financial support to families of law enforcement officers who are killed or seriously injured in the line-of-duty while serving.

The Irish Gift House is a mom and pop Irish gift site that is based in Arizona and boasts the largest collection of Irish and Celtic gifts and jewelry in the world.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Labor Day's Irish Roots

Irish immigration to the United States during the 19th Century is counted in the millions; with a huge concentration arriving during the Great Irish Famine of 1845 through 1852. In Ireland they were starving to death, but in the United States, along with other unskilled immigrant laborers, the Irish were working to death.

There was no shortage of work in our young country for the Irish immigrant and their progeny. Railroad and canals along with growing skylines were being built a rapid pace, and the mills factories and mines also ran on cheap and easily replaced labor.

The laborers toiled long hours, often 12 hours per day and seven days a week, just to earn the most basic living. The work was performed in often dangerous and unsanitary conditions. These conditions, along with child labor and low wages, contributed to the organization of labor unions. Many of the early leaders where Irish immigrants along with their adult children.

The industrialists of the day when to great length to halt the organization of the workers. Violence and death was a common practice as was the case of the Pullman Strike of 1894 that resulted in the deaths of 30 strikers. The strike was crushed and the demands were not meet, but industry was definitely on notice. Additionally, six days after the strike ended, congress, in an effort to appease organized labor, designated Labor Day as a federal holiday, a concept that was initiated by two men whose parents were Irish immigrants.

It is known that Peter McGuire, proposed a workingman's holiday during a meeting of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners. McGuire was the organization's general secretary at the time and he later went on to be a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor (AFL).
Labor Day's Irish Roots

A case is also made claiming that it was Matthew Maguire, a machinist and union leader, who proposed a Labor Day holiday to the Central Labor Union in New Jersey. Maguire went on to be selected as the 1896  nominee for vice president for the Socialist Labor Party of America. 

Samuel Gompers, who co-founded the AFL along with Peter McGuire, credits his partner as the father of Labor Day. It is widely speculated that Gompers did not want the credit to go to Matthew Maguire, who was an avowed socialist, because many in organized labor wanted to 
distance the movement from socialism.
Regardless of which of these two Irishmen is the actual father of  Labor Day, it is definite that both men were involved in establishing the Labor Day holiday. The Irish Gift House hopes that you enjoy your three day weekend.  

Monday, August 28, 2017

Irish Christmas Decorating

From weddings to wakes, nobody celebrates like the Irish, so Christmas is absolutely no exception.
Irish Christmas Decorating
For this reason The Irish Gift House offers a plethora of Irish Christmas decorations that are available in several different categories.
The Irish Christmas ornaments section is one of the largest categories on our site where we offer in excess of 250 different baubles for your tree. Separately indexed is our collection of over 100 different Belleek ornaments that includes a series of bells. These two sections, along with our Royal Tara ornaments, gives you almost 400 different choices.

The Irish angel tree toppers is another popular tree decorating category. You will find several illuminated designs that will compliment both your tree and your heritage. Our designs abound with shamrocks and have the assurance of being UL listed.
An Irish Santa figurine will stand out as a treasured centerpiece that you may wish to display throughout the year. Among these figurines you will find shamrock Santa decorations that include ornaments along with brooches and décor items.

Jesus is the reason for the season, so our selections would be incomplete without our Celtic advent wreaths so that you may welcome the Son of God on his birthday.

Another decorating idea, with the baby Jesus at the center, is our Irish nativity designs that include both figurines and ornaments.
So party with the Irish; just try to keep up!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Harp, not the shamrock, is the national symbol of Ireland.

The iconic shamrock is the most recognizable symbol associated with the Emerald Isle but it is the
Irish Harp
Irish harp that is the official symbol of Ireland. The harp is found on official documents and Ireland's coat of arms; it may also be found on uniforms and the presidential flag and passports. The harp has long been present on Irish coinage and it is currently embossed on Irish Euro coins. A version of this Irish symbol is also the cost of arms for the Irish province of Linster.

With a history that dates back over 1,000 years, the sound of an Irish harp is unique in that the sound board is hollowed out of a single block of willow wood. Harpist were held in high esteem in the Irish social order and were part of the court of Kings and noblemen.

An interesting fact is that in 1922 when the harp was adopted as the national symbol by the newly formed Irish Republic, the design, of what is known as the Brian Boru harp, had to be modified. The reason for the modification is that Guinness has been using the harp as its logo since 1862. The work around is that the sound board or the straight edge of the Guinness harp is on the left while the Irish government harp had to appear with its sound board on the right.
Irish Harp JewelryThe harp is also present on Great Britain's Royal Coat of Arms. This is ironic being how is was the English, who viewed the instrument as a symbol of opposition to the crown, who outlawed the harp in 16th century. This ban cause almost a complete demise as most harp music was not written; however, in 1792 an Irish harp festive was held in Belfast and one Edward Bunting is credited in saving the music for prosperity by writing it down on paper.

At The Irish Gift House we also play a minor role in preserving this part of your proud heritage with Irish harp jewelry. We feature a grand selection of Irish harp necklaces and brooches along with Irish harp charms and earrings.    

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

How to Draw a Shamrock

 Hi Kerry O'Neal here from The Irish Gift House and for the past 33 years of being in the Irish business, I have had many customers ask me, “How do you draw a Shamrock?”
how to draw a shamrock
My response has always been, “Remember the shamrock represents the love of the Irish people.” In Christianity, the shamrock represents “God’s Eternal Love”- the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In the ancient pagan belief, the three leafs of the shamrock represents the Earth, water and fire (Sun), all the essentials for the “Love of Life”.

Hence the shamrock is compiled of 3 hearts. So it truly is easy to draw. Start by drawing a heart then add a heart attached to each side and finally add a stem to hold your "Irish Love”. Easy!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Celtic Crosses, Their History and Symbolism

Celtic crosses are fundamentally Christian crosses with a circle connecting the arm and the stem with
Celtic Crosses
the earliest know examples dating to around 650 AD. These early designs were etched on face of a slab of rock much like you would find on a grave stone. It wasn't until the 9th century that the chiseled monuments, that are often referred to as the High Cross, came into being. The trend of these Celtic crosses, with recorded heights of 23 feet, continued in Ireland, along with the surrounding islands that were evangelized by the Irish, through the 12th century.

These early Celtic crosses were often found at churchyards and are self-contained monuments that were generally sculptured form sandstone. Some were simple designs, while others, such as the Cross of Scriptures at Clonmacnoise and the High cross at Monasterboice, featured ornate figure carving, but the chief characteristic feature is the circle connecting the arm and the stem.
There is much speculation as to why the circle or ring was added to what became to be known the Celtic cross. The theories and legends ascribed to the adaption range from spiritual to artistic and even consider structural implications.

One popular legends includes that St. Patrick came upon a standing stone that was carved with a circle, the symbol of the pagan moon goddess. St. Patrick blessed the stone and added a Latin cross to the design and thus created the first Celtic cross.
Another legend, again has St. Patrick, but this version it is the sun, a symbol of both light and life, as the circle that is combined with the Latin cross to create the Celtic cross. Metaphorically, the sun, which was worshiped by the pagan Irish, is replace with Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Regardless of which legend is correct the Celtic cross has evolved into a deep-rooted Christian icon that is historically connected to Ireland in the form of these ancient stone carvings.
The Celtic cross remains a popular symbol of faith and heritage as it continues to be use as grave stones and jewelry along with gift items and as tattoo designs.
The Irish Gift House can't help you with grave stones and our assistance with tattoos would be limited to that you are welcome to barrow any of our product designs as inspiration for your body art; however if you are looking for Celtic wall crosses or a sterling silver Celtic cross necklace you will hit the jackpot by visiting our site. Additionally, we have a huge selection of Celtic cross necklaces for men along with gold Celtic cross necklaces.

You will find all of these selections, along with nine additionally categories, under our Celtic crosses index heading  on our site.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Tree of Life

Crann Bethadh is Tree of Life in the Gaelic language and in Celtic folklore trees are the source of all life and creation. The ancient Druids believed that two hidden eggs hatched from inside a willow tree; one of these brilliantly colored scarlet eggs produced the sun and the other formed the Earth.

The Celtic spring festival of Beltane on May 1st marks the beginning of the light half of the year and it incorporates the legend by painting eggs as one of the activities. Eventually Christians adopted the practice of coloring eggs at Easter.

Beltane also celebrates the mighty oak tree as the specie that is associated with the light half of the year when the leaves have returned to the deciduous trees and there is plenty. The ancient Celts considered the sacred oak to be a source of strength and it is from doire, its name in Gaelic, that the strength knot, the Dara knot, originated. The Dara knot represents the root system of the mighty oak and that we too have hidden strengths that we must use during challenging times. The Druids noted that it is the oak that is most likely of all trees to be struck by lightning, yet once stuck, it continued to flourish.
The Celtic winter festival of Samhain is celebrated on October 31 through November 1 and it marks the start of the dark half of the year on the Celtic calendar. This dark time of the year is associated with the holly tree, that like the oak is defiant of lightning strikes as its prickly evergreen leaves allow electricity to pass through. Subsequently it was often planted adjacent to structures and homes to guard against lightning strikes.

Celtic lore understood that bringing the foliage of the holly tree inside during the winter would provide sanctuary from the cold for the wee fairy folk, who in return would be kind and protective to the human inhabitants. This practice evolved into the Christian Christmas ritual of decorating the home with holly or accenting your front door with a holly wreath.

The Ash is another of Ireland's sacred trees as it is known for its strength with its wood prized for boot construction and in modern times for hurling sticks. The Druids considered the ash tree to have magical properties and later Irish immigrants would bring a piece of ash wood as a charm against drowning during their travel to new lands. According to Christian lore, St. Patrick used a staff of ash wood to banish the snakes from Ireland.

The ash is a large tree that will obtain heights of 130 feet with a massive root structure. Due to these proportions the Celts referred to ash trees as the Tree of Life that spans between worlds and was considered the backbone of the creation.

tree-of-life-jewelryCeltic mythology also held the yew tree in high regard as it is associated with longevity along with immortality. The yew can often live in excess of 2,000 years and it has an interesting way of regenerating itself by directing its branched to grow downward to the soil which in turn from new trees that would often wrap around the original.

The Tree of Life
Its branches reach in search of learning and knowledge.
The trunk symbolizes strength,
Its flowers and fruit renewed growth
and its deep roots represent our ancient Celtic heritage.
The ancient Tree of Life symbol has been preserved in Irish culture; thus The Irish Gift House is proud to present an assortment of Irish made Tree of Life jewelry that includes Tree of Life necklaces along with earrings and charms. We additionally feature a section of Tree of Life gifts that includes items that range from plaques to money clips with many eclectic selections in between.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Connemara Marble

Very little gold along with very little silver is mined in Ireland, but what they do have in their mountains and hills is the only green colored marble in the world, Connemara marble.  This natural mineral, with its exclusive green coloration,  is often referred to as Ireland's gem stone, and can only be sourced from a remote area in western Ireland.
Connemara marble is estimated to be over 600 million years old and was formed under heated pressure when limestone and various serpentine minerals amalgamated. This resulted in the beautiful striations that range in color from green to gray with no two pieces of the natural element the same.

Connemara marble was once used as a medium of exchange in parts of ancient Ireland while today it is a fashionable accent for jewelry along with gift items. The stone has also enjoyed architectural prominence as it lines the walls of the Senate Chamber in the Pennsylvania Capital Building along with the floor of the Galway Cathedral. You will also find Connemara marble crafted as counter tops in fine homes throughout the world.
According to legend, Connemara Marble is thought to bring tranquility to those who keep it close.

The Irish Gift House
is very pleased to report that we have just finished updating our extensive Connemara Marble Jewelry section on our site. With over 200 different products from respected Irish designers, such as Solvar Jewelry and All That Glisters, it was both exciting and challenging, but we added brand new choices along with updating the product descriptions and many of the
product images.

Our assortments are listed in 10 product categories that include Connemara marble necklaces and Connemara marble earrings that are enhanced with iconic symbols that include the Claddagh along with Celtic designs; however, we have so many Connemara marble crosses that we felt compelled to grant them their own separate section.

Many of our design, such as some of our many of the Connemara marble bracelets, do not have an Irish or Celtic motif, but they are still as Irish as you can get considering where the stone is sourced and the jewelry is made. You may be interested to know that we include our own Connemara Marble history card with each purchase.

Ireland has long been called the Emerald Isle, due to the green beauty of the landscape. It is so appropriate that Connemara marble, the only green marble in the world, is only found in the Emerald Isle

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Acara Irish and Celtic Jewelry is New at The Irish Gift House

The Irish Gift House is pleased to announce the arrival of Acara, the latest collection from Solvar 
Acara Irish and Celtic Jewelry
Jewelry of Dublin, Ireland. Acara is loosely  translated from Gaelic and when used as a cara, it means friend.
This new assortment of Irish and Celtic jewelry features Ireland's most popular icons that range from sterling silver Celtic cross necklaces to Trinity earrings along with shamrock earrings and Claddagh necklaces. Naturally, you will also find the Acara collection includes shamrock and silver Celtic necklaces along with Claddagh earrings. The necklaces may also be removed from their sterling silver box chains and then attached to your own charm bracelet. You will be able to browse the entire Acara collection on the new Irish gifts page on our site.

Acara Irish Jewelry Gift Box
Each piece is crafted in sterling silver and is hallmarked by the Irish Assay Office at Dublin Castle. The Acara line is further enhanced with their own handsome green on green gift boxes that mimic miniature hat boxes with printed Celtic knot-work along with the ubiquitous shamrock. Each piece of this Irish made jewelry is delivered to you with the symbol's corresponding history card that is compliments of The Irish Gift House
This new line of Irish jewelry is moderately priced from only $26.00 to $36.00 per piece and these designs would be outstanding bridesmaids gifts. They would also be ideal gifts for Easter along with graduations. Because this is a rather extensive collection we will be introducing the line in batches and as we do each piece with be offered with a special introductory price.     

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Celtic Motherhood Knot

The ancient Celts used knot-work as decoration with each unique twist and turn depicting a 
Celtic Motherhood Knot Necklace - The Irish Gift House
different meaning. So it is the case with the Celtic Motherhood Knot that is a demonstration of the strong bond which exists between a mother and child while merging and including their heritage and faith.
The basis of the Celtic Motherhood Knot is an inconspicuous Trinity knot, a design in itself that has a maternal meaning. In Christianity the Trinity knot represents the Holy Trinity by depicting God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit as one; however prior to Christianity reaching Ireland, this same knot was known as a triple goddess that represented the three stages of womanhood.  The number three was powerful in itself to the pagan Celts and the three stages of the triple goddess knot are virgin, mother and wise crone.

Two intertwined hearts, with one above the other are combined into this design that forms the Celtic motherhood knot. The continuous entanglement of the Celtic mother's knot depicts the parent and child in a loving embrace.
The Irish Gift House is proud to offer a spectacular selection of Celtic knot necklaces but with Mother's Day just around the corner we are particularly happy to feature the Celtic Motherhood Knot necklace that is made for us in Ireland by Solvar Jewelry. Like all our sterling silver Celtic necklaces this special design for Irish mothers has been hallmarked by Irish Assay Office at Dublin Castle in Ireland and it is also part of the Fáilte Collection that is enhanced with both a heavier pendant and chain.   

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Irish Jokes from The Irish Gift House

The Irish Gift House has hundreds of Irish jokes for you to enjoy and share and just in time for St. Patrick's Day we have recently added dozens of new laughs to our content.

Sure, many of our funny stories are stereotypical and yer man Paddy is often the hero or the butt of the gag, but they are all meant in good humor as in the end, as history has taught us, the Irish always prevail.

We have 12 categories that include Limericks and Irish drinking jokes along with love and marriage and Irish logic joke sections.
irish jokes - the irish gift house.jpg
You are welcome browse our selections and we hope that you get a good laugh or two in the process.

You are also welcome to copy and use these jokes to entertain your friends; just make sure that you use an Irish brogue in your presentation!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Irish Blessings

irish blessings - the irish gift house.jpgAre you looking for an Irish blessing to share with friends or maybe for an important toast that you are giving? The Irish Gift House has created a brand new page on our site where we have assembled a collection of over 60 Irish blessings for your enjoyment and you are free to copy them for your own use.

The Irish are well known for their wit and wisdom and this is evident throughout their proverbs and sayings that are available for every occasion from birth to death.  An Irish blessing will hall mark life's milestones such as marriage with eloquence or address an adversary in such a way that even in a curse there is humor to be found.
You will also find on our Irish blessing page what is known as Irish diplomacy that is written with the talent of flattery that one receives after kissing the Blarney Stone.
Our variety of traditional Irish blessings ranges from toasts to curses and you are most welcome to copy and use them in your next big speech.
You are also welcome to browse our assortment of Irish blessing plaques and don't miss the Irish blessing plates when you are looking for the perfect sentiment for your gift giving occasions.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

St. Patrick's Day Accessories - the Newest Category at The Irish Gift House

st patricks day accessories - the irish gift house.jpg
Faith and BegorrahSt. Patrick's Day is almost here!  Just in time for the festivities on March 17, The Irish Gift House has created a new section on our site that is appropriately named St. Patrick's Day Accessories.   You will quickly see that If you are looking for a place to get your green on for high holy day you have found the right spot.

For the wearin' of the green we have an assortment of St. Patrick's Day Clothing and Costumes that range from Irish party hats and green wigs for your head to shamrock socks and slippers for your feet along with a host of other festive accessories. 

The green shamrock is the most recognizable symbol associated with Ireland and it can be found with great abundance among our St. Patrick's Day Decorations.  You will find embellishments worthy of the Irish saint that will adorn your home from the ceiling to table that include cut outs along with banners and centerpieces.  

Everyone is Irish on March 17 and everyone will appreciate celebratory St. Patrick's Day gifts.  For that reason we have assembled an eclectic assortment of fun favors that will amuse the young and old alike.  Many of these gifts could easily also act as decorations or as the last detail for your outfit and range from plush leprechauns to shamrock dice.   

To pull off this grand day in style you may want to browse our selection of St. Patrick's Day Jewelry.  Here you will find silver tone or gold tone metal bracelets and necklaces along with earrings and lapel pins that are enhanced with shamrocks galore.  Many of these pieces also feature the Claddagh and some have Celtic knots.

Last but not least is the selection of St. Patrick's Day Beaded Jewelry.  This category features shiny and inexpensive green beads for your Irish celebration.  This jewelry is ideal for sharing with your friends and that will surely bring you the luck of the Irish.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Irish Clothing from The Irish Gift House - A Great Way to Show Your Irish Pride on St. Patrick's Day.

The Irish Gift House happy to proclaim that we have just finished giving our Irish clothing section a
irish clothing - the irish gift house.jpg
facelift, and it is just in time for St. Patrick's Day!   

Many of the garments in this section, from the Irish flat caps to the Irish sweatshirts with Celtic knots, have received new and much improved product images and everything has been given fresher product descriptions.   This section was overdue for a good sprucing and we hope that you enjoy the results that include some new Irish clothing categories such as Irish beanies for your head and shamrock socks along with shamrock slippers for your feet.

 The most popular Irish clothing categories remain with the Irish t-shirts section reigning supreme with our customers, but the Irish polo shirts and the Irish rugby shirts also get their due.  In fact with St. Patrick's Day being on a Friday in 2017 these two sections should prove to be very popular for casual Fridays at the office.  If you don't dress down when you are at work, you may always select from our shamrock ties; we have several to choose from that range from conservative to festive.

Naturally we have a section for Irish women's clothing with flattering feminine designs.  The ladies may also with to browse our Irish scarves to find both fashionable and warm styles.

For the wee ones we have Irish baby clothing that ranges from shamrock onesie outfits to dresses for toddlers and we also have an assortment of  Children's Irish t-shirt.  Some of these t-shirt designs are available in sizes that range from infant to 3XL adult so children and parents may wear the same style shirt.

For the wearing of the green on March 17 we have a grand assortment of St. Patrick's Day clothing and costume accessories that vary from leprechaun hats and shamrock hair bows for your head to shamrock stocking for your legs along with everything in between.  We will cover more of this section in our next blog post.  

Monday, February 6, 2017

Claddagh Ring History

Claddagh Ring History from The Irish Gift House
The Claddagh ring and its fabled history can be traced to 16th century Ireland so along the way varying folklore and rituals have developed. 

A Claddagh ring is such a sentimental piece of jewelry that many considerations have evolved over time that have been forged by unique family traditions and experiences. 

Over the years we have heard several Irish family traditions from our customers that relate to the Claddagh ring; one of these traditions include that a Claddagh ring may only be worn as a wedding ring. Even though it is often called the Irish wedding ring there is not a requirement that this special Irish ring must only be worn as a wedding band as it is also widely utilized as an engagement ring.  Additionally, the rituals of the Galway Folklore explain that a Claddagh ring may be worn to indicate that you are in an unengaged relationship or even that your heart is free.

The gift of a Claddagh ring may be shared between anyone who is dear to you; this may include lovers, friends and of course family members.  Additionally, while some subscribe to the notion that a Claddagh ring may only be worn by a female, we must report that there are many available men's Claddagh rings.

Another opinion, though less common, is that a Claddagh ring must be received as a gift and never purchased for oneself.  While the receipt of a gift is always appreciated, you may buy one for yourself if you are so inclined.

Most legends of the Claddagh ring stipulate that the original design was crafted from gold, so it is easy to understand how some may mandate that only gold is the acceptable metal.  However, gold is not a requirement of an genuine Claddagh as the ring is readily available in silver and many other precious and non-precious metals. 

An area of typical agreement is that Claddagh rings should be made in Ireland, as is the case with all our selections at The Irish Gift House, but in our global economy that is not always the case.  Irish made jewelry is unique in that by law all precious metal is hall marked by the Irish Assay Office at Dublin Castle, so you can be guaranteed that your Irish jewelry is truly made in Ireland.  Just look for the hall mark stamped on the inside of your Claddagh ring If you have any doubts.

To be a true Claddagh ring there must be three essentials present: in the center a heart that symbolizes love, on top of the heart is the crown that symbolizes loyalty and holding the heart are two hands that symbolize friendship.  Stone settings are completely optional but it is often very desirable have diamond Claddagh rings and emerald Claddagh rings from which to choose.

Not surprisingly there are many different versions of the Claddagh legend; so who is to know which version is correct?  The Claddagh history that we use at The Irish Gift House is the same version that was supplied to us by O'Connor Jewelry.  O'Connor Jewelry was the Irish jeweler that in the late 1940's opened the Claddagh ring market in the United States, so we figure they knew what they were talking about.  We would ask our original Irish jeweler how they came to use their particular version of Claddagh history, but sadly both Thomas O'Connor and his son James have both passed on and the company has been defunct for many years.

As long as your version of the Claddagh ring history references the Galway fishing village of Claddagh and the three elements of the Claddagh ring, heart, crown and hands, you are on the right track.  Below is the O'Connor Jewelry version of the enchanted Irish legend that has been used at The Irish Gift House since 1994.  Incidentally, we supply a copy of the Claddagh ring history along with a card with the Galway Folklore that explains how to ware your ring with each Claddagh purchase.
Claddagh Ring History - Early 16th century legend tells that a fishing boat, from the village of Claddagh in County Galway, Ireland, was captured by pirates and the crew taken as slaves. One of the crew-members, Richard Joyce, was to have been married the same week he was captured. His bride-to-be was inconsolable.

Years went by and Richard became a master of his trade as a gold-smith. His skillful hands shaped a unique ring for the girl he could never forget. The design of the Claddagh ring was born of their love. At the center a heart, symbolizing their love, on top a crown, symbolizing their loyalty, and two hands holding the heart, symbolizing the caring friendship they shared.

After eight years, Richard escaped and returned to his native village of Claddagh. He found, to his great joy, that the girl he could not forget had not forgotten him and she had never married. He gave to her the special ring he had crafted. They married soon afterwards, never to be separated again.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Inis Body Lotion is Now Available in a Pump Bottle at The Irish Gift House!

The widely popular Inis theEnergy of the Sea body lotion is now available in a larger pump bottle at
Inis body lotion pump at The Irish Gift House
TheIrish Gift House.  This revitalizing and nourishing body lotion from The Fragrances of Ireland had been only available in a 200ml tube, but due to strong demand for a larger size container Inis body lotion is now available in a 500ml (16.9 ounce) pump bottle. 

Inis body lotion is unique in that it combines naturally harvested seaweed extracts along with shea butter.  Shea butter is an extract from the African shea tree, and while the butter is eatable, it is mostly used as a moisturizer.  Additional ingredients in this Irish body moisturizer include vitamins and minerals that can nourish your skin and you will be left scented with the cool and seductive fragrance of Inis the Energy of the Sea.

Inis body lotion is perfect for a daily regimen of skin care and is best used immediately after your shower or bath; it is also excellent for use after being in the sun.

Like all the products from The Fragrances of Ireland, Inis body lotion is made in Ireland and is never tested on animals.

The Irish Gift House stocks many different products from The Fragrances of Ireland including their Inis perfume and the Garden of Ireland natural soaps.  In addition to the women's Irish perfume, we also stock Patrick cologne for men.        

Sunday, January 29, 2017

St. Brigid and the St. Brigid's Cross

The short dark days of winter have been getting brighter and longer since the winter solstice marked the shortest day of the year on December 21.  The Celtic calendar denotes February 1 as the pagan festival of Imbolc, the first day of spring, and celebrations are in order to commemorate warmer, longer days and the evidence that new growth is on the way.

February 1 also corresponds with the feast day of St. Brigid, who along with Patrick, is one of Ireland's patron saints.

St. Brigid was born in 451 AD in the town of Faughart in County Louth, Ireland; Faughart honors its native daughter with a shrine and well that regularly receive a substantial amount of tourists and pilgrims.   She was the daughter of Dubhtach, a Leinster pagan chieftain, and Brocca, a Christian slave woman who had been baptized by none other than St. Patrick.  Because her mother was a slave, she too was a slave; however her father notice her works of charity and eventually granted her freedom. 
St. Brigid founded monasteries in Kildare and she is credited with establishing the first order of nuns in Ireland.  Kildare became a center of religion and education and her small monastery eventually evolved into a cathedral city.
St. Brigid is remembered for her great charity and kindness and is second only to St. Patrick, among Ireland’s heritage of saints.  Thousands of Irish woman throughout the world are named Brigid in her honor. 

The most enduring image of the Irish saint is the St. Brigid’s Cross.  In her endeavor to explain the

St. Brigid's Cross at The Irish Gift House
Passion of Christ to her father, a dying pagan, she wove a cross from the straw-like rushes strewn on the floor and was able to baptize him just before his death.  In those early Christian times the farmers adopted the custom of making these same crosses at the beginning of spring to protect their holdings, placing the handmade straw cross in prominent positions in their houses and barns.

The tradition of making the crosses on  January 31, the eve of her feast day,  continues to the present day in Ireland and abroad.  The St. Brigid’s Cross is believed to protect the owner from want and evil.

The Irish Gift House is proud to feature a fine selection of St. Brigid's cross necklaces and related jewelry such as charms; this jewelry is made in Ireland by Solvar.  Naturally we also offer many Irish made St. Brigid's wall crosses along with various gifts that include a tankard from Mullingar Pewter and several ornaments.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Nollaig na mBean - Women's Christmas!

January 6 is the Feast Day of the Epiphany which marks the end of the twelve days of the Christmas Season.  The season starts with the revelation of Christ to Israel in His birth on Christmas Day and ended with the revelation of Christ to the Gentiles with the visit of the Three Wise Men or Magi at Epiphany.

In Ireland, Epiphany is also known as Nollaig na mBean, which translates from the Irish language to Women's Christmas in English.  On this day women are not responsible for doing any of the housework, taking care of the children or cooking the family meal.  

The women traditionally meet at each other's homes for some relaxation and socializing that includes food and drinks.  The meals would tend to be baked delicacies such as scones and cream cakes, washed down with a nice pot of tea or maybe something a little bit stronger.

The men would stay at home and take down the Christmas decorations, see off the visitors and look
Irish Christmas Decorations at The Irish Gift House
after the house and children.

Ladies, The Irish Gift House hopes that you enjoy your day!

Guinness Gifts at The Irish Gift House

Guinness t-shirt at The Irish Gift House

Guinness Christmas Ornament at The Irish Gift HouseThe Irish Gift House is proud to announce that we have just given our Guinness gifts category a complete makeover that includes updated product images and better descriptions.  Naturally we couldn't help adding some new items such the latest Guinness Christmas ornament and a Guinness t-shirt.
Some of the earliest items we ever added to our site,, were several pieces of Guinness merchandise with one being a Guinness pouring spoon.  These branded pouring spoons will assist you in concocting a black and tan or a half and half; you simply pour the black stuff over the back of the spoon so that it fans out over your ale in the former and your larger in the latter.  You may also wish to use your pouring spoon to create a drink called a black velvet which starts off with champagne.
Irish coat of arms glasses at The Irish Gift House

Most however just order a pint of the plain and your best bet is to use a tulip shaped Guinness glass.  The tulip shaped glass is wider toward the top and the benefit of this shape is to allow the nitrogen bubbles to travel from the bottom and return to the top and create the famous creamy head.  The Irish Gift House offers a varied assortment of 20 ounce Irish beer glasses and Irish coat of arms barware that are perfect way for you to imbibe this ebony nectar from Ireland.  Another classic vessel for enjoying your stout is from one of our Celtic tankards, but don't miss browsing our crystal tankards from Galway Crystal or our pewter tankards from Mullingar Pewter.
Guinness bar sign at The Irish Gift House
The iconic stout has a loyal following and these ardent enthusiasts appreciate Guinness merchandise because they evokes pleasant experiences of drinking Ireland's most famous dark beer.  We have dozens of thoughtful Guinness gifts that you will be pleased to give and receive that range from an apron to several bottle openers.  For the man cave or the home pub we have a selection of Guinness bar signs that include several that are made of wood.

Additional considerations include the Guinness rugby shirts that are woven in a traditional fashion that is suitable for game day and the assortment of Guinness polo shirts are perfect for a round of golf or for casual wear.  

So go ahead and treat yourself to any of our Guinness gifts.  You are encouraged to drink responsibly, but we urge you to browse our site with abandon.