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Women’s Irish cardigans have always had a bit of romance about them, and even their origin story seems very romantic. The Aran cardigan’s picturesque starting point is the most westerly edge of Europe, the Aran Islands, comprised of the three islands of Inisheer, Inishmaan, and Inishmore. The classic Irish fisherman’s knit pattern owes its existence to the women of the house as they knit chunky and thick sweaters for their husbands and sons to protect them from the harsh Atlantic gales, sea spray, and heavy rains when they were in the open water searching for the day’s catch. The intricate design patterns originated to add an extra insulating layer to help keep the body and arms warm, while also aiding in the water resistant properties of the raw wool from which they were knit. As the knits became more intricate and specialized, the beautiful cardigans started to be seen as a potential income source, and the Irish Cardigan boom got in full swing. 

 

Women’s Irish Cardigans - Aran Cardigans

 As the Irish knitters got increasingly creative, a lot of variations on the original crewneck cardigan appeared. The original design was the Traditional Aran Crewneck Cardigan; this was a basic cardigan with traditional patterns. Some versions had side pockets and others did not; the buttons used in these traditional garments were Lumber Buttons. Variations of this style started to appear on the market the Cable Cardigan with Collar and Pockets; this cardigan is a traditional cable cardigan with side pockets. It features a lapel collar and the buttons on the front are the same color as the wool used in the cardigan. 

Cardigans were also made with zippers such as Ladies Hooded Zipper Cardigan this cardigan has some modern twists with a zipper and hood; Also the Hooded Aran Coat With Celtic Knot Zipper is another zipper cardigan with a hood that was extended in length to make it a coat. These cardigans also feature interlocking Trinity Knot zippers. Other designs that were incorporated were Ladies 3 Button Collar Coat. This is a cardigan with side fastening and an oversized neckline. Also, some cardigans like the Ladies Open Face Cardigan incorporated an open front design; both modern and stylish.  

 

History of Irish Cardigans

 

Originally derived from a British military waistcoat supposedly worn by the Earl of Cardigan and the company he commanded during the Crimean War of the 1850s, the cardigan originally referred to a buttoned vest that was knit, rather than woven. The Earl of Cardigan preferred a heavier waistcoat, however, and his name eventually was lent to the new design, which over time gained sleeves and became the classic cardigan sweater we know today. But it wasn’t until the 1920s that the cardigan took off for women as an alternative to the crewneck sweater. As with so many trends in women’s fashion, the cardigan’s popularity owes a great debt to Coco Chanel, who famously preferred them because she didn’t like how snug-fitting pullover sweaters messed up her hair when putting them on. Another surge of popularity occurred when the cardigan arrived as an alternative to a heavy jacket among the American college elite (perhaps that's why cardigans have always had a whiff of the professorial). Occasionally, they would even be worn as part of sports uniforms, eventually evolving into the shawl collared letterman sweater that was popular in the 1950s and 60s. Soon, cardigans became a mainstay in the business world as a layer to add under a suit jacket or sport coat, and by the 1990s had even replaced traditional business jackets in some areas. Today, they can be dressed up or down and are as versatile as any layering piece.

When Aran stitches were added to the mix, the cardigan's already-present cozy qualities were amplified. The luxurious feel of plush Irish wool combined with the heft and depth of the Aran knitting patterns proved to be a winning combination. People are still wearing them a hundred years later, after all! Today, women’s cardigans come in several styles and designs. ShamrockGift.com sells a wide range of Irish women’s cardigans that run the gamut of Aran knits and cardigan fits. We have buttoned cardigans, zippered cardigans, and shawl cardigans, as well as luxurious cardigan coats and cardigan buttoned wraps. We offer both flat front and pocket cardigans for extra detailing when you want it. The Aran detailing provides exquisite detail in cable knit, diamond knit, honeycomb knit, and other popular Aran sweater designs to suit any taste. All our cardigans are designed in Ireland with the utmost care taken to authentically replicate the original designs of the Aran Island women more than a century ago. 

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  • Aran Woollen Mills Carraig Donn Irish Cardigan A313162 Lifestyle Shamrockgift.com Aran Woollen Mills Carraig Donn Irish Cardigan A313162 Lifestyle Shamrockgift.com Aran Woollen Mills Carraig Donn Irish Cardigan A313077 Lifestyle  Shamrockgift.com Aran Woollen Mills Carraig Donn Irish Cardigan A313077 Front View Shamrockgift.com Aran Woollen Mills Carraig Donn Irish Cardigan A313077 Front View Shamrockgift.com

    Carraig Donn Irish Cardigan

    Stand out from the crowd by trying out this stunning, gorgeous and absolute marvel- the Carraig Donn Irish Cardigan. This beautiful women Aran cardigan is for people with an exquisite taste because it combines comfort, warmth, and style all into one...

    $99.90
  • Saol Knitwear The Caitriona Long Cardigan Very Berry SA815 ShamrockGift.com

    Saol Caitriona Long Cardigan

    Flattering and polished, our Ladies Single Button Irish Aran Cardigan is a charming and finely crafted sweater. Our Irish Aran Cardigan offers a modern and relaxed look that boasts a sharp, tailored style with prominent lapels that are unique and...

    $127.90
  • Carraig Donn Denim Blue Beautiful Women's Irish Cardigan Shamrockgift.com Carraig Donn Denim Blue Beautiful Women's Irish Cardigan Shamrockgift.com Carraig Donn Denim Blue Beautiful Women's Irish Cardigan Front Shamrockgift.com Carraig Donn Denim Blue Beautiful Women's Irish Cardigan Back Shamrockgift.com

    Denim Blue Beautiful Women's Irish Cardigan

    The Beautiful Women’s Irish Cardigan comes with elegance, uniqueness and a cute feminine look. This cardigan is one of the most popular and favorite women Irish sweaters, especially during winter and fall. The popularity can be attributed to its...

    $109.90
  • Saol Soft Touch Ladies Aran Zip Cardigan Green ML114  ShamrockGift.com Saol Soft Touch Ladies Aran Zip Cardigan Green ML114  ShamrockGift.com Saol Soft Touch Ladies Aran Zip Cardigan Grey ML114  ShamrockGift.com Saol Soft Touch Ladies Aran Zip Cardigan Grey ML114  ShamrockGift.com Saol Soft Touch Ladies Aran Zip Cardigan Natural ML114  ShamrockGift.com

    Soft Touch Ladies Merino Wool Aran Zip Cardigan

    For a truly contemporary take on a traditional Irish fishermen’s sweater, this Soft Touch Ladies Merino Wool Aran Zip Cardigan from SAOL takes the cake. Showcasing three unique forms of the classic cable knit pattern, this cardigan is beautifully...

    $115.90
  • Carraig Donn Long Irish Cardigan A815206 Denim Blue ShamrockGift.com Carraig Donn Long Irish Cardigan A815206 Denim Blue ShamrockGift.com Carraig-Donn-Long-Irish-Cardigan-A815162-White-Nature-ShamrockGift.com Carraig-Donn-Long-Irish-Cardigan-A815162-Blue-ShamrockGift.com

    Carraig Donn Long Irish Cardigan

    If you love fisherman sweaters, this special cardigan is about to become your wardrobe’s go-to piece. It hangs a little longer than your usual women Irish sweater, making it an elegant companion for everything from jeans to leggings--it can go...

    $109.90
  • Saol Ladies Long Open Front Drape Cardigan Navy AWL119 ShamrockGift.com Saol Ladies Long Open Front Drape Cardigan Navy AWL119 ShamrockGift.com Saol Ladies Long Open Front Drape Cardigan Grey AWL119 ShamrockGift.com Saol Ladies Long Open Front Drape Cardigan Grey AWL119 ShamrockGift.com Saol Ladies Long Open Front Drape Cardigan Grey back AWL119 ShamrockGift.com

    Ladies Long Open Front Drape Cardigan

    This modern Ladies Long Front Open Drape Cardigan is an elegant update on a classic Irish design. The iconic Irish sweater we know today originated in the 1890s as a way to keep fishermen from the Aran Islands warm and dry while at sea. The heavy knits...

    $79.90
  • Saol Knitwear Honeycomb Ladies Wool Cardigan SA897-303 ShamrockGift.com

    Saol Knitwear Ladies Honeycomb Aran Wool Cardigan

    A stylish layer for any woman looking to add a bit of Irish crafts to her wardrobe, this Ladies Honeycomb Aran Wool Cardigan from SAOL features a beautiful blend of cable knitting on top with a honeycomb pattern at the base, including the sleeves. These...

    $114.90
  • SAOL Ladies Button Knitted Short Cardigan ML152  Wicker shamrockgift.com SAOL Ladies Button Knitted Short Cardigan ML152  Wicker shamrockgift.com SAOL Ladies Button Knitted Short Cardigan ML152  Wicker shamrockgift.com SAOL Ladies Button Knitted Short Cardigan ML152  Green shamrockgift.com SAOL Ladies Button Knitted Short Cardigan ML152  Green shamrockgift.com

    Ladies Button Knitted Short Cardigan

    A popular bestseller, this lovely golden Ladies Button Knit Short Cardigan will bring chic sophistication to any look and is destined to become a cold-weather staple in your closet. The beautiful knit patterns of the sweater are highlighted by the...

    $105.90
  • Aran Woollen Mills Womens Green Single Button Jacket A839006 ShamrockGift.com Aran Woollen Mills Womens Green Single Button Jacket A839006 ShamrockGift.com

    Womens Green Single Button Jacket

    If you are searching for traditional Irish clothing that blends the traditions with modern style, look no further--you’ve found it here. This beautiful Womens Single Wool Button Jacket is exactly what you’re looking for. Made in Ireland from...

    $97.90
  • Aran Woollen Mills Purple Beautiful Women's Irish Cardigan A570070 Shamrockgift.com Aran Woollen Mills Purple Beautiful Women's Irish Cardigan A570070 Shamrockgift.com

    Derby Purple Beautiful Women's Irish Cardigan

    The Derby Purple Beautiful Women's Irish Cardigan comes with elegance, uniqueness and a cute feminine look. This Irish wool cardigan is one of the most popular and favorite women Irish sweaters, especially during winter and fall. The popularity can be...

    $109.90
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    Ladies-V-Neck-Cable-Knit-Cardigan-Natural-White-ShamrockGift.com Ladies V-Neck Cable Knit Cardigan Natural White ShamrockGift.com Ladies V-Neck Cable Knit Cardigan Natural White ShamrockGift.com

    Ladies V-Neck Cable Knit Cardigan

    If you love rich tradition and classic style, then you will adore our Boyne Valley Ladies Aran Single Button Wool Coat. With super soft wool and classic Irish knitting patterns, our coat makes a versatile addition to your closet, perfect for dressing up...

    Was: $115.90
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  • Aran Woollen Mills Womens Long Aran Knit Cardigan BVA858G ShamrockGift.com

    Womens Long Aran Knit Cardigan

    For a classic Aran cardigan that will keep you warm through the fall and winter with tradition, style, and quality, you’ll adore our Women's Long Aran Knit Cardigan from the folks at Boyne Valley Knitwear. Traditional designs paired with modern...

    $89.90
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