It’s almost Labor Day, and that means it’s peak back to school shopping season. And whether you’re looking for back to school supplies or back to school clothing, we’ve got you (mostly) covered. Here at Shamrock Craic, we won’t promise you’ll find everything back to school list here, but we guarantee what you do find will be a uniquely Irish touch to the school bag. Below we’ve broken down our back to school gift ideas by age, so you can find that perfect back to school gift for your elementary schoolers, teens, or new college freshman and send them off to the classroom with a bit of Irish luck.
FOR THE KIDS
Paddy Bear Pencil Case with Pen. Elementary school is all about learning the basics of critical life skills, and none more essential than writing. Whether your child is just learning how to perfect that cursive z or working on their holiday card design, a pencil case is essential to hold all the necessary tools of the trade.
Wooly Jumpers Pen & Notebook Set. Grade school isn’t really known for its demands of vigorous note-taking, but it is the time when handwriting lessons become more rigorous and cursive takes practice. These smiling sheep are a fun way to potentially offset the dread of homework and make for a uniquely Irish statement.
Tin Whistle. Irish music seisiúns are a tradition dating back centuries and the tin whistle has been a reliable staple of the ensemble. If your child is musically inclined, or if you’ve already started them on piano lessons, why not add a simple yet classic new instrument to their repertoire? It could be the start of the next Dubliners or even a gateway to more advanced wind instruments down the line.
Wacky Woollies Lunch Box. If your child brings their lunch to school instead, you can also give them this distinctive Wacky Woollies lunch box. With sheep friends like Crazy, Lucky, and Chatty, they never have to worry about having a friend to eat lunch with. The lunch box is 8.2 inches long by 9.1 inches wide by 3.1 inches deep, so there is plenty of room for a nice healthy lunch and snacks to keep your child going through the day. It also features a nice sturdy zipper, so it is easy for smaller hands to open and close.
Child’s Aran Cardigan. Everyone loves a kid in “adult” clothes. And it doesn’t get much more classically Irish than this handsome cable knit cardigan from Carraig Donn. It comes in all sizes and three different colors. The fine Merino wool fibers are super soft, meaning it won’t be the scratchy sweaters you remember your parents giving you, and the pockets are perfect for storing whatever little treasures your son or daughter finds on the playground.
A Sporty Polo Shirt. For the budding rugby or soccer star out there, a performance polo is essential. This 100% cotton shirt is super durable and machine washable, so no matter what messes your child gets into on the field, it can stay looking as fresh as the day it arrived in the mail. The “Ireland” logo is bold enough to eliminate any confusion about where your child’s loyalties lie, while the Irish shamrock crest adds a touch of old school class.
White Lucky Irish Charm Kids T-Shirt. Going back to school also means more opportunities to get into some sly trouble. This shirt won’t convince any authorities and certainly doesn’t make a legal case for innocence, but the charm offensive has been known to work on many elementary school principals in the past, so why not give it a shot if you know your little one is a bit of a rascal.
Shamrock Socks. Graphic socks are a staple of school hallways, so why not provide a bit of Irish luck to your child this fall with these white and green numbers. Plus, by the time St. Patrick’s Day comes around, you’ll already have one part of the outfit sorted.
Lucky Charm Sheep Keychain. With the teen years comes greater independence, usually in the form of driving. Why not bestow two symbols of luck to your teen with a bangle keychain. The horseshoe and shamrock should remind your young driver they’ve got the luck of the Irish with them wherever they go. No guarantees it makes them lucky enough to get home by curfew.
Wacky Woolies Beanie Ball. Recess is a distant memory, but that doesn’t mean that the games are. Whether you’ve got a dedicated soccer player on your hands looking to refine their footwork or a juggler with a whimsical sense of humor, the beanie ball is a fun and clever gift that has been a staple of beaches, parks, and parking lots for generations.
Irish Paddy Bear Pencil Case & Stationery. Your teen may have grown out of their real teddy bear, but that doesn’t mean you can’t remind them of a more innocent time with a Paddy Bear themed pen case. Plus, how else are they going to pass notes after their phone gets confiscated?
“Ireland” Backpack. Your kid will never forget their roots with this bright green backpack. (And equally as important, you’ll also never forget them, as long as they’re within sightlines.) With padded backing, straps, and handles, the backpack can withstand the rigors of all the heavy textbooks high school requires.
Ireland Performance Jersey. Polyester is god’s gift to athletes and laundry machines everywhere. The durable fabric holds up under just about any condition, and the Ireland logo with green and white design is a great way to show off Hibernian pride during practice, whether your teen is playing rugby, football, soccer, or hacky sack.
Trinity Knot Studs. The teen years are usually when kids start getting their ears pierced (“With or without you, mom!), so why not lean in to that desire with these simple trinity studs to give a subtle sense of Irish heritage whenever they’re worn. The humble size (⅜ in) and sterling silver construction are perfect for a starter stud.
“World’s Tallest Leprechaun” Tee. Teens and growth spurts go together like Yeats and poetry, so why not play it up a little with this fun (and, let’s be honest, slightly cheesy) t-shirt. But who doesn’t love a good chuckle, even if it’s accompanied by a groan. Dad humor is the best humor, and this t-shirt embodies the best of it.
FOR THE COLLEGE ADULT
Tablet Case. Everyone needs a way to protect their tablet, so why not head back to school with one that celebrates Ireland’s best-known brewery? The case features an oversized Guinness Extra Stout logo embossed on sleek black leather and is lined with rayon to keep the tablet looking good as new.
Irish Blessing Bookmark. Keep your place in that copy of Ulysses you may or may not finish. At least you’ll know where you left off when you dust it off in a decade. Featuring an Irish blessing bestowing the reader with “a little Irish luck,” the metal bookmark features a shamrock and claddagh design, so even if you’re not reading any Irish writers, you’ll always have an Irish connection.
Black Sheep Travel Mug. For all those mornings when you need to take your coffee on the go as you head to class. Particularly suited to students who have decided to major in Irish poetry when the rest of the family is engineers.
Bottle Opener Keychain. The other end of the day is, as the slogan goes, “Guinness Time.” The opener itself cleverly cut out from the head of a foreshortened perfect pint of the black stuff. No matter what parties you end up at, you’ll always be in demand as long as bottle openers keep going missing from the kitchen drawer.
Irish Flat Cap. Add a bit of traditional Irish style to the wardrobe with a flat cap for those chilly fall days. This one, from Mucros Weavers, is knit in a classic black and white herringbone pattern and dotted with contrast specks of color for a bit of added flair. A sharp yet casual alternative to the baseball hat you’re hanging on to.
Traditional Aran Sweater. Back to school shopping also means fall wardrobe shopping. An Aran sweater is a timeless option, and we like the charcoal yarn of this unisex sweater, giving it a modern update to the traditional white or cream colored sweaters of the Clancy Brothers. The thick weave will keep you warm, while the merino wool makes the sweater super soft to the touch.
Inis Hand Cream. You may not think it now, but a good hand cream is the key to protecting your skin from aging down the line. College is the perfect time to start forming new grooming and personal care habits, so introduce this Inis cream to your daily routine. Trust us, your hands will thank you, particularly come winter.
Originally published on August 19, 2019