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"Travel Blog: Ireland"
Author:  planetpurl
Tags/keywords:  travel ireland yarn shops
Please share your stories of traveling (and yarn shopping, of course) in Ireland.
05/15/2008 - Dublin, Ireland
Planet Purl visited Dublin, Ireland in February, 2008 on a quest to buy some Irish Tweed and to bring you tips on yarn shopping.  Here's our take on the land of Guiness Ale, Jameson's Whiskey, and Kilcarra and Tivoli yarn.  Ah, a little something for everyone on the Emerald Isle!
When we think of Ireland, we think of lush green field populated with lots of fluffy sheep just waiting to donate their locks to let us make gorgeous sweaters.  I don't know why I thought there would be a yarn shop on every corner, but that was just my dream.  I think people in Ireland must think we have a McDonald's or Starbucks on every corner -- oh wait, we do. 

Anyway, the friendly city of Dublin has three yarn shops in the city center, but their selection of authentic Irish yarns was surprising small, with only one of them offering more than one Irish brand.  Most of their stock was Rowan, Patons, and other yarns that are available at everywhere.  Since we're only willing to pay a premium (and VAT) on local yarns, despite how much we love all things Rowan, we passed up the Rowan Kidsilk Haze  (sigh) refusing to settle for anything less than "made in Ireland."  

Hickey's Shop Front

Hickey's Shop Inside

“Hickey’s Fabrics” at 5 Henry Street offers Dublin’s best selection and by far it’s most convenient location, situated smack in the middle of the city’s largest pedestrian shopping boulevard. If it’s your first time to Dublin, you would likely have to go out of your way to avoid Henry Street (not that you’d necessarily want to), so you might find it worthwhile to descend to Hickey’s basement, where in addition to a good selection of non-Irish brands (Wendy, Robin, Patons, Stylecraft) they have a huge selection of homegrowns from Tivoli Spinners. How lovely. 

In addition to Tivoli, Hickey’s also has a nice selection of Tweeds by Kilcarra of Donegal.  Kilcarra spins tweed for Tahki and Debbie Bliss, but their own label is significantly less costly.  And they have such beautiful colors.  Who could resist, right?

Hickey’s is also the place to go if you find yourself needing to replace needles that were confiscated by a heartless TSA agent at the airport, or any other knittingor crochet tools, but they are, after all, a chain store, so you won't get that special LYS personal touch we all love.

For mult-crafty people, Hickey’s also sells fabrics and notions, like trim, buttons, and other goodies to finish your knitting project off or to whip up something fabulous on your sewing machine to go with your soon-to-be knitted tweed sweater.


For some great customer service, take a quick walk over to “Bernina Sew & Knit Centre” at 193 Parnell St. Not more than a ten minute walk from Hickey’s, the Bernina Centre is also conveniently located in a heavily trod area, just off of Parnell Square-- home to the Writer’s Museum and Dublin’s Remembrance Garden, a beautiful memorial to the Irish struggle for Independence. 

We weren't allowed to take pictures of the inside, because the owner wasn’t in, but the woman working that day was the most friendly and helpful person we met in the Dublin shops.

Unfortunately, their selection is quite slim, as it is a small shop to begin with that devotes half of its shelf space to sewing machines and notions, and the other side to yarns. Their stock is limited to Elle, Sirdar, Stylecraft, and a selection of 100% Celtic Aran in 100g balls from Tivoli. Again, the Tivoli selection seems to overlap Hickey’s, but you’ll be welcomed much more warmly, and get more of that LYS experience at Bernina.

Dublin Woolin Mills Sculpture

Dublin Woolin Mills Sign

Ten minutes the opposite direction from Hickey’s, you’ll come to “Dublin Woollen Mills” at 41-42 Lower Ormond Quay, a shop that goes back to 1888, and sits right along the River Liffey, one of Dublin’s biggest landmarks.

With it’s large sculpture of the shopping women on a bench out front (I'm certain thoer bags are holding additionas to their yarn stashes), the store is impossible to miss. What is much easier to miss however is their yarn. Though they have an amazing array of beautiful hand-knit Aran sweaters, and other already knit goods, the sum total of their yarn could probably fit inside of a high school student’s locker. Pity. 
If you are more in the mood to buy a traditional Irish gift than to make one, then Dublin Woollen Mills is definitely recommended.  If you're thinking of knitting and Aran sweater yourself, or you just appreciate beautiful, traditional handknits, the shop is a fabulous source of inspiration.  And for the non-knitters in your group, the Jameson's whisky tour is nearby.  See, we meant it when we said there was something for everyone.
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