Aran Crafts have been making Irish knitwear since 1957 when Molly Cullen incorporated her family cottage industry and created the first modern Aran sweater company to market for the masses. The family’s legacy stretches back much farther than that, however. Cullen’s grandmother was Kate O’Shea, who in 1856 became the first woman to market her tradecraft of making thick, patterned, and intricately designed wool sweaters. Cullen was determined from a young age to expand the family business and succeeded in creating what is today the largest knitwear manufacturer in Ireland. Aran Crafts is still owned and operated by Molly’s grandsons, Niall and Barry Cullen, making it one of the longest-running family businesses in the country. Based in Monasterevin, County Kildare, Aran Crafts is known around Ireland and worldwide for its quality and styles.
The Aran sweater is a style that takes its name from the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland. They are traditionally off-white in color, similar to a sheep's wool, and made from 100 percent wool. The distinctly recognizable feature of Aran is the cable patterns woven into the garments. The patterns would typically decorate the chest area. You can opt for different styles of Aran sweaters available in our selection.
Fisherman Cardigan Sweater - this warm and cozy zip up cardigan sweater is a top favorite due to the convenient pockets, thick ribbed collar and hood- ideal for cold times.
Traditional Charcoal Irish Aran Sweater- this lovely Irish sweater's features include a stylish neck collar and gorgeous cable, diamond, and honeycomb Aran patterns. Makes a beautiful addition both for men and women.
Donegal Shawl Collar Sweater- prepare for winter with this elegant Aran sweater coming with a v-neck shawl collar and old-school button closure.
Men's Fisherman Aran Cardigan With Collar- this fisherman's Button up Aran cardigan is made of Merino wool that is ultra-soft yet durable.
This style of jumper combines artistic patterns with the core requirement, which of course was a warm and cozy sweater that could stand the type of weather often encountered at sea by fishermen. The tradition and heritage are still absorbed into the fabric of each garment today but there has been a considerable extension of the colors and styles on offer.
Aran Crafts Ireland Knitwear Collection
ShamrockGift stock a full selection of Irish Aran Knitwear for men, women, and children. Aran Crafts recognizes that heritage and today offers a mix of contemporary styles with heritage designs, perfect for the modern shopper. Using the finest quality textiles, including merino wool, pure new wool, linen/cotton, cashmere, and even new super-soft merino wool, Aran Crafts is constantly innovating based on customer demand. While the sweaters were originally designed with the intention of being worn by hard-working men whose jobs often took them far into the Atlantic Ocean in search of a day’s catch or farmers who spent every daylight hour in the field braving the harsh Irish elements, the modern Aran sweater is as versatile as any contemporary heavy sweater, able to be worn under a suit jacket as easily as it is to work in the garden. The thick gauge knitting and precise needlework of these sweaters make them last for years, and some have been known to become family heirlooms if cared for properly.
What Do Aran Fisherman Sweater Patterns Mean?
Each stitch pattern found in Aran sweaters has a specific meaning associated with it, most often connected to the natural landscape of the rugged west coast of Ireland. The most recognizable is the cable stitch, which represents the ropes of fishermen and the promise of a good day’s catch. The geometric zig-zag stitch reflects the angular cliffs that dot Ireland’s west coast, as well as life’s continual cycle of highs and lows. The diamond stitch, a variation on the cable, is reminiscent of the stone walls separating the small farms of rural Irish farmers and is meant to serve as a good luck charm for successful crop yields and wealth. Similarly, the trellis stitch can also be used as a symbol for these stone walls, while the blackberry and moss stitch signifies a commitment to nature and respect for the sustenance it provides. Finally, the classic honeycomb stitch represents, naturally, the hive of the honey bee, hard-working, and ever-productive, just like the people who inhabit this unforgiving landscape.
Shop the whole range of Aran Crafts sweaters and wool accessories today and give the gift of centuries of Irish design and heritage, whether you spend your days on the water or in the boardroom.