One Island… 32 Counties… 4 Ancient Provinces…
This week I am so excited to launch our Irish County Collection of Aran sweaters. Each one has been exclusively designed and features the finest Aran craftsmanship. The collection pays tribute to Ireland’s ancient heritage and celebrates the 4 provinces of Ireland. So which one is yours?
Find your county, find your province and celebrate your Irish roots with an Aran sweater you won’t find anywhere else! They also make an unforgettable gift for a loved one from Ireland, especially for the upcoming holiday season! But before we get to the sweaters, let’s find out a little about the provinces themselves.
The Provinces of Ireland
In ancient Ireland, there were once 5 provinces and that fifth province was the royal country of Meath. Derived from the Gaelic “Mide” meaning middle, this province bordered the other 4 provinces of Ireland and was home to the seat of Ireland’s high kings at The Hill of Tara.
When Ireland fell under the control of the Normans in the 12th century, Mide became counties Meath and Westmeath which were incorporated into the province of Leinster, thus giving us the 4 provinces of Ireland that we know today. Find your county on the map below!
The stunning province of Connacht in Ireland’s mystical west is a treasure trove of natural beauty, from the rugged Connemara region in Galway to the untamed beauty of Yeats country in county Sligo.
Connacht is also home to the Aran Islands, the birthplace of our iconic sweater and our design for the Connacht Sweater is a celebration of that age-old Aran stitch craft; moss filled diamond, classic “fisherman’s rope” cable and lucky honeycomb to wish the wearer good fortune. It comes in classic cream and is exquisitely crafted from beautifully soft merino yarn.
Counties of Connacht ;
Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon.
The province of Leinster in Ireland’s ancient east is rich in medieval history and is home to Ireland’s Ireland’s stunning monastic site at Glendalough in Wicklow.
It is also the province where you’ll find the awe-inspiring 5000-year-old passage tomb at Newgrange and of course Ireland’s bustling capital, Dublin, founded by the Vikings.
Our stunning exclusive design features half diamonds, symbolic of gathering wealth and reflecting Leinster’s history of being Ireland’s centre of trade. Beautifully crafted from soft merino wool in classic Aran cream.
Counties of Leinster;
Carlow, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Louth, Meath, Offaly, Westmeath, Wexford, Wicklow.
The mighty province of Munster is home to two of Ireland’s largest and most impressive counties; the rebel county Cork and the magical Kingdom of Kerry with it’s stunning Atlantic coastline and breathtaking scenery.
The Ring of Kerry
In Munster, you will also find the awesome Cliffs of Moher in County Clare. One of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions and a truly magical place on the edge of the mighty Atlantic steeped in folklore, myth and legend.
Cliffs of Moher
The central panel design of the Munster Aran combines classic fisherman’s cable with diamond stitch, wishing the wearer wealth and plenty along with rows of lucky honeycomb and feather stitches at the sides. The style is a timeless crew neck in classic cream and the irresistible yarn is beautifully soft merino.
Counties of Munster;
Cork, Clare, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford.
Ulster, Ireland’s most northerly province and birthplace of Ireland’s greatest mythological hero, Cu Chulainn. Home to the lakes of Fermanagh, the rugged beauty of Donegal’s Atlantic coast and the awesome Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim.
The Ulster Aran features the basketweave in the central panel representing the woven fisherman’s baskets and nets and pays tribute to Ulster’s renowned textile weaving tradition. It is beautifully trimmed with diamond and cable. The color is classic cream and it is exquisitely crafted from luxuriously soft merino yarn.
The Counties of Ulster;
Antrim, Cavan, Derry, Donegal, Down, Fermanagh, Monaghan, Tyrone.
To finish I just wanted to share this old Irish poem which describes the people of five kingdoms of Ireland including the former province of Meath. Some would say that these characteristics still exist to this day! What do you think?
Ard Ruide (author unknown)
“Connacht in the west is the kingdom of learning, the seat of the greatest and wisest druids and magicians; the men of Connacht are famed for their eloquence, their handsomeness and their ability to pronounce true judgement.
Ulster in the north is the seat of battle valour, of haughtiness, strife, boasting; the men of Ulster are the fiercest warriors of all Ireland, and the queens and goddesses of Ulster are associated with battle and death.
Leinster, the eastern kingdom, is the seat of prosperity, hospitality, the importing of rich foreign wares like silk or wine; the men of Leinster are noble in speech and their women are exceptionally beautiful.
Munster in the south is the kingdom of music and the arts, of harpers, of skilled ficheall players and of skilled horsemen. The fairs of Munster were the greatest in all Ireland.”
See you next week,
Slán go fóill!
The Irish Store Founder.