Here’s your perfect guide to what to buy in Ireland, from the hand-crafted and beautiful to the kitsch and kinda cute. Roll up for this inside list on the best souvenirs in Ireland.
The Best Souvenirs in Ireland
Wondering what to buy in Ireland that’s worth your attention? Ireland awaits with its glorious cliffs, the churn of the Atlantic, and a rich history that goes back to ancient times. Whether you’re taking a quick city break in Dublin or expanding your trip along the Wild Atlantic Way, you cannot go home without taking a piece of Ireland’s charm with you.
Luckily, the Irish know how to make the best souvenirs, with products ranging from fine whiskey to cosy sweaters and even marble. So, when you pack, make sure to save some room in your bag and put some money aside. It’s time to talk about what to buy in Ireland: the best Irish souvenirs.
Disclosure: on my most recent trip to Ireland, I travelled as part of a partnership with Globus: Ireland by Design. Some of the best souvenirs in Ireland that I’m recommending here came from that trip, a trip which introduced us to handmade goods and food through their YourChoice experiences. As ever, as always, I kept the right to write what I like. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Plan your own trip to Ireland
Ireland is a great country to travel around, either by yourself or with a group. Check out this week long Ireland itinerary over here and discover what I thought about my trip with Globus vs when I travelled by myself.
Globus combine the best of both worlds with their tours: a group tour keeps prices affordable and provides lots of chances to meet likeminded people. But their flexible itineraries and ChoicesTouring concept mean that you can choose the activities which speak to you the most.
Best Food Irish Souvenirs
The greatest thing about choosing food as a souvenir is that you get to spin out your trip just a little longer. Once you get home, you can sit back, pour yourself a glass of Irish whiskey and serve it with a slice of cheese and let the scent and taste remind you of all you’ve just seen.
Here’s what I can recommend you try…
With a land full of pastures, it’s not surprising that cheese is a big hit. One of the best Irish gifts you can get for loved ones is a full Irish cheese selection.
Cashel Blue tops the list as Ireland’s most popular cheese, with others close behind. One of my favourites is the Cnoc Dubh fresh goat cheese produced by Larry and Anne Maguire at their farm in Galway, so if you are on your way to see the Cliffs of Moher, make sure to stop here and grab some exceptional cheese for your return.
Irish Soda Bread
Irish soda bread is the staple of Irish food souvenir – and this is one you can actually learn to do when you’re there! Our Globus Choices Experience offered this as an option: locals teach you how to make the soda bread and then you get to take it with you afterwards!
You have to act fast, though. It only lasts for 3-4 days fresh. But it does go well with the cheese we just talked about. Just saying.
For a more intense aroma, try Irish brown bread while on your travels. It’s delicious.
Now, what scone or soda bread is complete without a cup of tea? Bring home Ireland’s passion for tea in a tin. Look out for Barry’s Tea, Lyons Tea, and Thompson’s Tea in supermarkets and souvenir shops. And a lovely unusual thing to do in Dublin involves heading to Bewley’s Café on Grafton Street.
Enjoy a cuppa and then stock up on tea, in bags or as loose leaf. Both are available.
Traditional Irish Whiskey
All across Ireland, you will find old whiskey distilleries, one older than the other, where you can learn more about the Irish culture of whiskey, sample some, and get a bottle to take back with you to serve on special occasions.
From the old to the new, the famous to the obscure, there is a distillery for everyone. Check out the ones we found on this 8 day Ireland itinerary.
Irish Cream Liqueur
If neat Irish whiskey is a touch too strong for your tastebuds, which it frequently is, you can combine Ireland’s passion for alcohol and dairy with a good old fashioned Irish cream liqueur.
Baileys is a popular brand, known all around the world, and you can pick it up at duty-free shops in airports as a last minute gift as well.
Ready for a surprise? While Cadbury was founded in Birmingham, England, it’s the Cadbury’s chocolate made in Ireland which has the better flavour (according to, well, chocolate lovers.)
The secret ingredient is the milk. Whole, natural milk that comes from Irish cows and goes directly into the Cadbury chocolate bars. They make great gifts – and taste good, too.
But in case you’re looking for a truly, truly Irish souvenir, then chocolate can still be on your radar.
Look out for Wilde Irish Chocolates based in County Clare, and pick one (or more) from their 80 delicious assortments. They have everything, from chocolate bars to chocolate boxes and hot chocolate. Are there any better gifts from Ireland to be found?!
With small farms dotted across the country, you’ll easily find places to buy high quality raw honey in Ireland. And since honey comes from bees and supporting bees supports biodiversity, it’s a tasty way to support sustainable tourism while you’re there.
Also, it is not uncommon for Irish farms that produce honey to also sell candles made with natural beeswax that will spread a gentle scent of honey around your house. Combine these Ireland souvenirs and bring home the aroma of the Irish bee farms.
Best Irish Souvenirs to Wear
Ireland has some pretty special clothing and jewellery items that are practical as well as beautiful. Forget comedy hats, these Irish souvenirs can be worn for years after your trip.
The best place to shop for Aran jumpers is, as expected, on the Aran Islands, where you can buy them directly from the local artisans. The tradition of these sweaters goes back centuries when the women on the Aran Islands started knitting them to keep their men warm as they went fishing. Each family had a special knitting pattern created of Celtic knots that made it easy to identify family members in case a tragedy lead to them drowning and being found months later.
An Aran wool sweater costs around £200, so it is not the cheapest souvenir to buy, but it is extremely durable and unique, which means you can wear it winter after winter without it wearing out.
However, take into account that, although today they are made with the softer merino wool, they are still a bit scratchy.
If you want to spend less and still have your Aran sweater, you can buy a machine-made one. The price drops considerably, but they still look quite traditional.
Also, you can go for a hat or a belt, which are easier to wear if you don’t feel too comfortable in wool.
Believed to have originated in Galway city around 1700, Claddagh rings are today part of the Irish culture. Some mothers give them to their daughters as they come out of age, while lovers sometimes use them as engagement rings or even wedding rings.
A traditional Irish claddagh ring includes two hands grasping a heart with a crown above them. The heart symbolises love, the hands, friendship, and the crown, loyalty. But what’s truly interesting is that the way it is worn can tell you a lot about the wearer’s relationship status.
For example, if a person wears it on their right hand, with the heart facing away from their body, they are most likely single and still looking for love.
The ring can also be worn on the left hand. If it faces away from the body, the wearer is engaged, whilst if it is facing their body, they are married.
You can buy a gold or silver ring if you are getting ready to propose or simply go for a trinket if you want a nice souvenir without spending too much money.
This material was first produced in Northern Ireland, but soon became popular all around the country. It is used for jackets, vests, caps, and other clothing items. The most famous region for producing it is County Donegal, but you won’t need to travel there to find it.
If you want to have something truly special to remind you of Ireland and are good with knitting, buy a ball of tweed and make yourself a beautiful vest once you get home.
For the rest of us, it probably makes sense to buy one pre-made…
Best Irish Souvenirs to Decorate Your Home
There are no better decorations than those that come with a story. If you like to travel a lot, you can pick up a blanket here, a painting there and have everything in your house remind you of your travels. And Ireland can supply a lot in this department.
Irish crystal produced at Waterford is renowned for its exceptional clarity and purity of colour. You can have it embedded into a piece of jewellery like a ring or a necklace or buy it as it is simply for its beauty.
Since you are about to pay good money for it, it is best to check you are buying the real deal. You can tell if you are looking at a genuine Waterford Crystal if you can spot the Waterford acid stamp on it. This is not always the easiest job, as the writing is tiny, so you may need a magnifying glass.
One of the best materials the Emerald Isle has produced is Connemara marble. Found only along the Wild Atlantic Way, it is considered extremely luxurious and special, designed to be used for grand buildings like the Galway Cathedral. Or it can be bought by the truly rich at about £200 per square meter.
However, you can bring a small piece of Connemara Marble with you to decorate your living room or buy a piece of jewellery that contains it.
Think luxury, and you will understand why Irish linen is such a great souvenir. As other countries hurried to replace the fibres found in the flax plants with cheaper, synthetic fibres, in Ireland, many manufacturers continued to produce linen, a deluxe material that was used to create the Egyptian pharaohs’ bed sheets in ancient times.
Irish linen is known for its resilience and soft feel. You just need to decide what you need it for. New drapes, bedsheets, or simply a handkerchief?
From traditional designs to innovative shapes and decorations, Irish pottery provides some amazingly unique gifts to buy while in Ireland. If you hit County Kilkenny on your Ireland itinerary, stop by the studio of Andrew Ludick to discover his works inspired by the artwork of Paul Klee and indigenous African art.
Great Irish pottery is also produced in Dingle, where you can find Louis Mulcahy’s workshop and products ranging from homeware to garden pots and urns.
If you want to buy some unique Irish souvenirs, why not go for a traditional Irish bagpipe (also known as the Uilleann pipes) or a fiddle to remind you of the great music you’ve listened to here? They can look great if exposed in the right room, and you can even give them a try once in a while to the delight (or horror) of your neighbours.
Ramp things up further with an Irish whistle or take the more sensible route and just buy a CD in which the professionals show how its doen.
Guinness Pint Glass
One of the best things to do in Dublin is to visit the Guinness Factory and learn more about this part of Irish history. You can savour a pint of Guinness right on the premises and, as you end your tour, you will discover a lovely gift shop that overflows with Guinness souvenirs. You’ll find everything from T shirts and aprons to snow globes and bottle openers, but many visitors go for a pint glass they can reuse with the Guinness they then buy at home.
Irish Wool Blankets
A perfect souvenir for many winters to come, an Irish wool blanket will keep you warm and toasty and remind you of your travels. Made from natural wool and dyed in natural colours, they make the perfect gift for a home that needs a bit of warmth. And isn’t that all of us these days?!
They tend to be quite large, though, so make sure to save enough space in your luggage. Or you can have them shipped home, as many Irish stores offer this possibility.
An Irish Cookbook
Will this be the first time you try a colcannon or an Irish stew? Buy an Irish cookbook and try the recipes at home. They are pretty simple in their essence, so you should have no problem cooking them to perfection, even if you have average cooking skills. And a lot of patience.
Best Irish Souvenirs for Your Mind and Soul
How can we talk about Ireland without talking about books, music, and art? It is a wonderful thing to visit the home of a great writer or artist and then buy one of their works right there on the spot. From then on, every time you read it, listen to it, or simply look at it, you will think back at the moment you bought it.
Books of Irish Authors
As one of UNESCO’s Cities of Literature, books must be high on a list of gifts to bring back from Ireland.
Make the first stop Trinity College in Dublin, the educational establishment for Samuel Beckett, Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, and Bram Stoker, among many others. You can either walk through by yourself, take an erudite tour that includes the famous Book of Kells, or follow the tour that Globus picked out for us join a literary pub crawl instead.
Within the premises, you will find a bookstore where you can shop for books by Trinity alumni.
Elsewhere in Dublin, enjoy dusty bookshelves and brightly lit hubs and don’t miss a trip to the James Joyce Centre.
If you are a big fan of Irish music, you can take some CDs back with you and support local artists. Sure, U2 and The Cranberries are all on Amazon Music and Spotify, but it’s nice to support rural musicians and to help keep the beat alive outside the corporations.
There are plenty of art galleries in Dublin and across Ireland but one of the best is The Design Shop in Dublin. Run by two women who fell in love with local design, you can find print art and everything from Irish Turf Fire candles to handmade jewellery created on the site.
Other Irish Souvenirs You Can Buy
And then, there are the fun Irish souvenirs. The gifts from Ireland that can make you wince or make you smile. Often further down the budget scale, here some more ideas for souvenir shopping in Ireland…
Portable and personal, you can find a magnet for every occasion in Ireland. Shamrock magnets are a great choice as they bring good luck to the person who receives it. Apparently.
Quite frankly, there can never be too many mugs in a house.
And fortunately, you can find some really gorgeous mugs in Ireland at accessible prices. And you can find some, er, kitschier ones.
Mugs with leprechauns, mugs with shamrocks, mugs with the map of Ireland. Guinness mugs, Trinity College mugs… the list keeps on going. Pick one that will remind you of your favourite place or experience and drink from it without shame!
I know this sounds so dated. Why buy a postcard when you can pick up a mug or a magnet instead?
If you simply walk into a shop, buy a set of postcards, and shove them into your bag, this is boring.
But what if you send the card to your address and come home to receive news from Ireland? Or, what if you frame it? Some postcards are beautiful and extremely inexpensive. You will have a nice, personal souvenir, and some money left for other activities.
Where would a souvenir list be without them?!
Whether it’s creamy Irish butter or a packet of Taytos, there are some products that just say Ireland.
We have a treasured tradition in our household of picking up a tree decoration wherever we go. It’s surprising how many you can find and then rediscover when it’s time to put up a Christmas tree each year. If you travel during the winter holidays, you will find many Christmas fairs where you can buy all sorts of traditional Irish gifts, from toys to handmade jewellery and sweets.
But don’t worry if you travel earlier in the year: The Guinness Factory stocks these from September.
Tips for Buying the Best Souvenirs in Ireland
Trips can sometimes be busy. You need to deal with accommodation, car rental, tour booking, ticket shopping, etc. Not to mention that you will hit a lot of attractions in a short time. It may be tricky to deal with souvenir shopping at the same time, so check out these tips to make sure you don’t forget something important.
Know What You Want to Bring Home from Ireland
Make a list of all the souvenirs you want to buy, including the items your friends and family requested. Then, do a bit of research to find where you can buy them, as some may require special stops on your itinerary.
You don’t need to completely change your trip, but you can make small adjustments before it starts.
Reserve an Irish Souvenir Budget
Once you have the list, you can take a look online at prices. If you want to buy expensive gifts, you will need to put some money aside for them. Handmade objects are usually pricey, so, as I have already mentioned, be prepared to pay good money for a traditional Irish jumper.
Look for Quality
Trinkets are fun, and you can find yourself buying a lot of them since they are everywhere and inexpensive. However, once you get home, you will realise that not all of them are worth exposing, and some will end up cluttering your drawers. Try to stick to 2 to 3 more expensive items you know you will cherish over and over again. It’s another part of being a responsible tourist.
If you are doing a tour of the country and travelling by bus or train, bringing expensive pottery or fragile items with you is risky. Imagine how careful you would have to be with your bag, always looking to keep it on your lap. This quickly becomes annoying.
Fortunately, many Irish shops can and will ship your goods home. Even if you are going to pay extra for the shipping, you can rest assured your souvenirs will get home intact while you can enjoy the trip without thinking about them.
Check the Regs
There are not too many restrictions when it comes to getting souvenirs out of Ireland. But, check with any transit countries and your home country about bringing food in with you.