A new use for the claddagh

You have probably seen the claddagh before whether you knew it or not. The claddagh ring is often used as a promise or engagement ring. The design consists of two hands holding a heart upon which rests a crown. It represents, love and friendship and loyalty. It is a familiar and much loved design in Ireland.

I recently came across an interesting upcycling of the claddagh when I was searching for an urn…more precisely, an urn for the ashes of a loved one. My search led me to an American company called The Irish Wake. It was started by the children of an Irish American woman, who could not find the product they wanted when their mother passed, and so, their company was created to fulfill that need.

The urns and boxes are made from marble, wood, and porcelain, although I think the wood boxes are the most beautiful. They all feature exclusive designs. Expect this to set you back several hundred dollars (which is a fraction of what a casket costs, btw, and I think much more environmentally responsible).

This photo shows the box The Irish Wake produces with the claddagh.


I absolutely love the simplicity of the design on this urn/box. I think it would be a fitting repository for any loved one’s remains.

Let’s face it…wool is itchy

How many of us have one of those beautiful wool sweaters the parents bought us when they traveled back to the homeland? They are amazing, but let’s face it…wool is itchy. Unless you’re going to layer on the layers, or you live in North Dakota (or actually, you still live in Ireland), you’re probably going to wear this sweater once a year. What do you with it? Well, you should not get rid of it. It’s too precious. If you didn’t know that, then here’s a bit of background so you know what you really own.

Irish wool sweaters, also known as Aran sweaters because they originated in the Aran Islands, are a classic Irish fashion staple, not to mention, a tourist collectible. The sweaters are knitted in different patterns which were used to identify from which island came the sweater’s wearer. The stitches have become quite complex over time and a single sweater can take months to produce. The most well-know stitches are the diamond, honeycomb and cable. Want to know more? You can visit aransweatermarket.com to get more info.

First, you might want to identify the exact pattern of your sweater. Take several photos. You might want to have it appraised. As is the case with many handcrafted arts, the patterns and the people who knit them are in decline.

Second, consider up cycling your sweater. There are numerous examples of this on Pinterest and crafter blog sites. Just be sure about it before you cut the thing up!

Third, preserve it for the next in line. You can also take it to the dry cleaner and have them clean it and box it up like a wedding dress so the moths won’t have at it.

Ádh mór ort