Hi Everyone. So last week I shared our must have Irish jewelry pieces from the Irish Store collection. It’s no surprise that Connemara Marble featured highly in many of the pieces. Ireland’s ancient gemstone is unique to the stunning region of Connemara in the west of Ireland. Here at the Irish Store we pride ourselves on forging partnerships with the finest craftspeople in the country to bring you the best of Irish craftsmanship.
So we went to meet Stephen Walsh at the family workshop in Rathfarnham, County Dublin. Like the iconic marble they have crafted for generations, we learned that the Walsh family story is one of a kind.
Can you tell The Irish Store community a little about yourself and the family business, Stephen?
Of course! My family have worked with the beautiful, green Connemara marble for three generations. Since we entered the business in the 19th century, we take huge pride in crafting Irish jewelry and gifts.
Can you tell us a little about Connemara Marble? What makes it so special?
Connemara Marble is special for a few reasons. It is unique to Ireland and to this very special part of the country. Every piece is also unique. You won’t find the same shade and pattern in any two pieces. The color is a unique blend of green and grey, from pale green to sage and moss- the color of the Irish landscape, really! The gemstones we craft into jewelry were formed in Ireland over 900 Million years ago. Imagine wearing a piece of Ireland that’s millions of years old around your neck or on your finger! I think that’s why it’s so popular as a gift – you are giving someone a truly one of a kind piece of Ireland.
How did the Walsh family come to work with Connemara Marble?
The story of the Walsh family is the story of Connemara Marble! We own and the oldest marble quarry in Lissoughter, Co. Galway. The quarry opened in the 19th Century and in 1903, it was visited by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra during their royal tour of Connemara. Connemara marble is still extracted from there and transported to our workshop in Rathfarnham Village to be crafted into the one of kind pieces to be found at the Irish Store
Our favorite pieces from our Connemara Marble collection
What do these pieces from your Connemara Marble collection mean to you?
The green hills of the west of Ireland come to mind when I hold these unique cubed Connemara marble rosary beads. When you hold the rosary, you can feel the quality of the workmanship. Rosary beads also have that extra special Irish religious significance. Seeing these pieces together, you appreciate how unique each piece of Connemara Marble really is.
What’s the Irish connection with rosary beads?
Rosary beads have a long history in Ireland. They even pre-date the Walsh family! I’m very interested in the history of these things, given we’re continuing the tradition today. The rosary was widely said by medieval monks. The first Irish rosary beads were made by monks from monasteries in Cashel, Clonmacnoise and Glendalough. The monks used the horns of animals to fashion beautiful beads that would last. This quality, the beauty and strength of the beads, created a huge demand in medieval Europe. Quality, strength and beauty, are the most important things to us when we design and craft Connemara Marble rosary pieces today.
It sounds like you have a great interest in your job!
I love my job! I know the team at The Irish Store also appreciates how rewarding it is to deliver quality Irish jewelry to people who are passionate about Ireland. For me, the most satisfying thing about our business is seeing the marble in the ground and then watching what it becomes. In our workshops, we transform it, almost by magic, into the most beautiful jewelry.
Why did you choose to sell your jewelry on The Irish Store?
The Irish Store is great for us. It brings our pieces from the workshop here in Rathfarnham Village to such a wide audience. The Irish Store offers a huge range of jewelry, clothing and homewares. It gives the customer the opportunity to find something really special and authentically Irish.
Discover J C Walsh’s collection of Connemara Marble Jewelry on The Irish Store now! And don’t forget to use BLOG10 at the checkout to receive a 10% discount!
Slán go fóill!