07 Sep 2020
All over the island of Ireland designers and makers are busy in their studios and workshops making unique, stylish and sustainable products with flair, passion and skill.
The island’s wealth of design talent, in demand worldwide, means there is a wide range of design-led pastimes, experiences and accommodation to enjoy no matter where you go.
All four corners of the country can offer a wonderful design-filled holiday just as soon as it is safe to travel again – whether it’s during a trip along the Wild Atlantic Way, an embrace of the giant spirit of Northern Ireland, meandering through Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands or delving into 5,000 years of history in Ireland’s Ancient East.
Design hunters will appreciate a well-designed base to stay in, and among the many Irish hotels with a strong design focus are the Marker Hotel and the Hendrick Hotel in Dublin, the Grand Central in Belfast or The Salthouse, a luxury eco hotel in Ballycastle on the famous Causeway Coastal Route.
Ireland’s leading black and white landscape photographer, Giles Norman, offers guests a modern touch of class and comfort in the beautiful town of Kinsale, County Cork. Curl up in the Giles Norman Townhouse where guestrooms are curated by Giles himself and presented as extensions of the main photographic gallery. Or in Northern Ireland, retreat to Barn Lane, which features two five-star properties in the foothills of the Sperrin Mountains in County Londonderry, both created with the eyes of architects Derek and Kim Loughrey.
Kilkenny Design Shop
For design things to see and do, The Dock in County Leitrim houses three galleries, Leitrim Design House and retail store, and it will be well worth a trip to The Wave, a 20m-long sculpture at the Old Head of Kinsale in County Cork, one of Ireland's most spectacular coastal areas. Alternatively, head to the Craft Village in the walled city of Derry~Londonderry, which is a great place to find ceramics, jewellery, textiles, glass and prints by local designer-makers.
For a spot of retail therapy the Irish Design Shop in Dublin is a great call for those interested in homeware, illustrations and textiles by Irish designer-makers – it was one of the first independent stores to champion Irish design and craft in the city. Equally, Kilkenny Design Centre offers an unrivalled selection of handcrafted gifts and remains the county’s most prestigious source of Irish gifts of exceptional quality.
With the hand-crafted prized over anything else, new trends in culinary experiences around the island ensure that design also permeates Irish food and drink. Super-chic spots to investigate include Industry & Co, a lifestyle store and eatery in Dublin, and Freight, located in five converted shipping containers in C.S. Lewis Square in east Belfast. Or on the Wild Atlantic Way, try the Lignum restaurant in Bullaun, County Galway. It’s full of beautiful stone-walled, barn-style architecture with a high black ceiling and wooden beams.
Interior design at its best can also be seen at Dead Centre Brewing in the heart of Athlone, County Westmeath. This fabulous new craft brewery, full bar and pizza kitchen has a balcony overlooking the mystical River Shannon.
The Salthouse, County Antrim
Craft Village Shopping
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