Ireland does souvenirs well. Special purchases include hand-woven tweed, hand-crocheted woollens and cottons, sheepskin goods, gold and silver jewellery, Aran knitwear, linen, pottery, Irish crystal and basketry.
You’ll find no shortage of rather less classy knick-knacks too, particularly in the heavily touristed areas. If you want nothing more than to fill your luggage with leprechaun hats, inflatable shamrocks and poor-quality U2 T-shirts, there’ll be opportunity aplenty.
Slightly more meaningful gifts might include a copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses from an Irish bookshop, a bottle of Jameson or Bushmills whiskey from their home distilleries, or Irish salmon.
In more general shopping terms, Ireland has a lot to offer. Pre-credit crunch, Dublin’s Henry Street was said to be the busiest shopping street in Europe, and the capital is still a great place to hunt around for fashion items and one-off crafts. Yes, there are familiar global chain stores throughout the centre, but you’ll also uncover some superb independent shops selling high-quality locally sourced goods.
Cork and Galway, too, are further examples of cities with strong shopping potential. There’s an arty spirit in a great number of Ireland’s larger settlements, in fact, which usually translates into at least a handful of specialist outlets, whether focused on music, antiques or leisurewear.