Since 1965, Carraig Donn has been one of Ireland’s premier homegrown fashion brands with a reputation for quality and Irish authenticity. Headquartered in the rugged west of Ireland in County Mayo, Carraig Donn knitwear manufacturer offers a wide range of traditional and contemporary Irish designs including shoulder bags, slipper socks, shamrock blankets, cardigans, sweaters, mittens, gloves, and so much more.
ShamrockGift are proud suppliers of this authentic brand, which is completely Irish-owned and operated with nearly 500 employees throughout the country. All their products are designed and made in Ireland. Renowned for their knitwear, Carraig Donn draws from the tradition of the classic Irish Aran sweater, first developed in the early 20th century and prized for its luxurious knit patterns heavy weave, ensuring warmth and comfort no matter the weather conditions.
The History of Aran Sweaters
The Aran sweater owes its origins to the style of knitting found on the Aran Islands in the 19th century that was cultivated by the Irish government’s Congested Districts Board in the early 20th century, which provided investment in cottage industries in rural areas throughout the country. The Aran Islands are located off the coast of County Galway in the west of Ireland and are known for their unforgiving landscape and severe cliff faces. For centuries, the largest industry on the islands was fishing, and women would knit heavy sweaters for the men who would row out in their curraghs to protect them from the ocean spray and cold Atlantic winds. Oftentimes, these first sweaters would be knit from untreated wool, meaning it still contained the wool’s natural lanolin, or wool grease, which makes it waterproof. The unique patterns are said to have originated from knitters imitating the natural landscape and fishing tools used by the fishermen. One myth is that each family created a different pattern so that if a body washed up on shore, it could be identified by the sweater knit pattern, though there has never been any evidence to support this theory. After the creation of the Congested Districts Board, the sweaters eventually spread in popularity and became more widely available, and by the 1950s were featured in Vogue magazine, worn by the likes of Grace Kelly and Steve McQueen, and became the staple of Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers. It was into this environment that Carraig Donn first entered the scene, and they haven’t slowed down since.
Traditional Aran Sweaters from Carraig Donn
There are near endless combinations of knit patterns that can be found in Aran designs, and Carraig Donn offers a broad selection suitable to any taste.
Irish Men's Crew Neck Sweater- this crew neck Aran sweater is knit using the cable knit stitch. The cable knit pattern is said to represent the rope of the fishermen
Flare Cardigan with Diamond Pattern- this beautiful cardigan shows off the closely related diamond pattern, said to represent the fishermen’s nets.
Hand-knit Merino Crew Sweater- the very popular honeycomb stitch, found on this Carraig Donn sweater, represents the hard work of the bumblebee, signifying the sweet rewards of industrious labor.
Carraig Donn Collar Patchwork Cardigan- this patchwork cardigan combines the eye-catching cable, diamond and chevron stitches. The latter is a knitted take on the baskets used for carrying the day’s catch to and from the market.
Other stitches used in our sweaters are the blackberry, moss, symbolize the natural earth, both the blackberry bush and moss being dense and close to the ground, reminding the wearer to stay grounded and humble.
Whether you’re looking for yourself, for a loved one, or for a friend, Carraig Donn has something for everyone, with brad selections for men, women, children, and babies. All of our Carraig Donn clothes come with free gift wrapping. Most orders before 3pm ship the same day and orders over $100 are shipped for free. Additionally, 30-day no hassle returns or exchanges. If you are looking for a taste of Ireland’s finest, this range comes from the heart of its heritage. Shop all our Aran Woolen Mills products today!