We have put together a list of some of our favourite designers and makers in Ireland. Whether you enjoy hiking, camping, cycling, surfing or if you are an armchair outdoorsman or woman. Here is our wish list of ethical style and eco-friendly designs for an outdoor lifestyle. We have selected designers whose approach we admire and all products are designed and/or made in Ireland.
Éamonn O’Sullivan makes beautiful wooden implements in Westport, Co.Mayo. His medieval spoon is light and rugged. When we go cycle touring we only bring a spoon and a knife. Who needs a fork when you can shovel more food in with a spoon! If you want to try your hand at whittling, Éamonn offers workshops where you can learn how to make your own spoon!
We love Ashleigh’s designs. They’re simple, functional and classically designed. Built to last in the outdoors. I have the moss green canvas satchel for my Atlantic adventures. The adjustable straps mean I can use it as a bike messenger bag. It’s naturally water resistant, and can fit my lunch and a good book with room to spare. They are the perfect accessory if you live along the Atlantic, or live far away and wish to be reminded of it!
We love exploring native Irish forests, but they are becoming scarcer as the faster growing pines take over so we really admire Grown clothing’s tree4tee campaign. They plant a native Irish tree for every t-shirt they sell. Their products are also organic, biodegradable and recyclable and their designs are pretty cool too!
Pretty much all of our cycle touring clothes are made from merino wool so we were excited to find these Irish made bespoke hats by Liadain Aiken. They are custom made so you can mix and match the colours. Merino wool keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer. Perfect to hide helmet hair in the unpredictable Irish weather!
I have re-used old bike tubes as makeshift bungee cords to tie stuff to my back rack. I thought I was being clever until I came across LX-Upcycle’s designs. They give a new lease of life to tired old bike tubes by turning them in to wallets or laptop sleeves. LX-Upcycle believes in a circular economy. The idea is simple – “to keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life.” It’s a concept we could all learn from in an increasingly throw-away society.
The Pear in Paper
Made in Donegal by Lynn Costello Erskine. The endangered series prints by The Pear in Paper are raising awareness of native Irish plants that are in decline. This pretty little plant is the marsh saxifrage and has almost disappeared from the Irish landscape. Display this print to remind yourself and others that we should strive to preserve natural bog lands.
Lula’s Handmade Soap
Not only is Pit Putty a great tongue twister, it contains one of our favourite ingredients – sodium bicarbonate. When we’re on the road we use it to wash our pots and clothes. Based in Sligo, Luke and Laura have added lots of lovely smelling oils to their pit putty to make a natural deodorant. It doesn’t stop natural perspiration, but rather neutralises the acidic secretion produced by the underarm bacteria – thereby preventing body odour. Perfect for long distance cycle tours when you’re sharing a tent after a long day in the saddle!
Georgia in Dublin
Reflective gear is usually more of a necessity than a fashion statement. However, this mondrian style vest is an exception. Georgia in Dublin are a mother and daughter team that specialize in cycling and equestrian rain gear. Now, you have no more excuses to not ride your bike, or horse!
This canvas camping stool is made from oak in Co. Mayo by Superfolk. Their focus is on simple designs and beautiful homeware. It can be used inside or outside, the perfect piece of kit for round the campfire. Marshmallows not included!
We came across Mamukko’s bags when we were strolling around Kinsale. They up-cycle sails into seriously cool bags. Ciaran has his eye on the Hipster Messenger, with a roll top closing system. They’re unique, limited edition bags made with heavy duty materials that are built to last.
Although we don’t recommend that you wear your slippers outdoors, we couldn’t resist including these MIM slippers in this list. They are designed in Ireland and made in Mongolia by a non-profit organisation supported by the Irish government and the Dalai Lama. Having cycled across Mongolia in 2015, we have a strong affinity to the country and would love nothing more than to potter about in these slippers.
Irish Wild Plants
Niall MacCoitir’s book Irish Wild Plants is beautifully illustrated with original watercolours by Grania Langrishe. Written in seasonal order, this book describes the role of native plants in Irish folklore and history. It explores the mythical properties of plants such as primrose, honeysuckle, ivy and Ciaran’s favourite – bog myrtle. It’s full of practical advice like if you want to dream of your future husband, you should put nine ivy leaves under your pillow! Worth a try!
Available in the Irish Design Shop here:
As bold as
This jacket by ‘As Bold As’ is a contemporary take on a classic duffel coat, with some great cycling add-ons like drop-down reflective strips. As Bold As also have a range of fleece headbands and geometric reflective vests. The brand is the brain child of Joyce Brereton, and is based in Dublin.
To find out more about the gear we bring on tour click here.
*All photos featured in this blog post are credited to the respective brands.*
Illustration by Laura McMorrow.