Making Christmas shopping special
DOING YOUR CHRISTMAS SHOPPING AT CRAFT FAIRS MEANS YOU CAN SUPPORT LOCAL ARTISTS CRAFT MAKERS AND FOOD PRODUCERS AS WELL AS HAVING AN ENJOYABLE DAY OUT, WRITES
THE Christmas countdown is well and truly under way but there’s no need to fear having to face the hassle of last minute shopping in crowded shopping centres.
Instead, you can making shopping for gifts and food a pleasurable experience by visiting one of the many craft and food fairs taking place over the coming weeks.
Not only can this prove an enjoyable day out for all the family, it also supports the local economy as the money you spend goes to local craft makers, artists and food producers. You also get the satisfaction of buying a unique gift which doesn’t necessary cost much more than mass produced items.
The first Louth Craftmark Winter Fair takes place this weekend at the beautiful and historic setting of Bellurgan Park House, just five miles north of Dundalk on the main Carlingford Road.
This promises to be a magical venue with a mulled wine reception at 6pm on Friday and artisan foods available throughout the weekend.
Exhibitors include Dundalk-based Cathy Prendergast, internationally renowned as a leading designer and maker of high quality leather bags and Carlingford based Garret Mallon, an award winning maker of handmade contemporary jewellery.
Other exhibitors include Cusha of Gullion, EDDE Art, Beag Studio visual art, Solise Candles, Suzikay, Martina Scott, Mary Cowan, ceramics, Mary Larkin, Orla Barry visual art, Orlaith Cullinane, visual art, Green Gorgeous, Rachel Tinniswood, Roisin Gregory, Sarah McKenna ceramics, At it Again and Tracy McVerry, visual artist.
Louth Craftmark Designers Network is a group of fifty makers and visual artists based in and around county, working in ceramics, print, jewellery, textiles, woodwork, furniture, sculpture and painting.
The Fair takes place from 1pm to 9pm on Friday November 17th, and from 10.am to 6.pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Free tickets can be downloaded from www. louthcraftmark.com
Dundalk’s Frostival winter festival brings a Christmas Market and other fun family events to the town centre on the weekend of November 24th and 25th.
The market will be located in a marquee in Earl Street with 30 local craft and artisan food producers offering lots of opportunities to buy gifts to share and foodie treats to stock up the pantry for Christmas.
Families can sign up for Mrs Claus’ treasure hunt for families at the Tourist Office from 12noon on Saturday, while her husband will be in his Grotto to take letters from children over the two days.
The festival also features the Great Dundalk Christmas Bake Off when ten local personalities present their signature bakes to the judges in An Táin Arts Centre on the Friday afternoon at 4.30pm.
The members of Dundalk’s Bridge Street Studios are opening their doors for their annual Christmas shopping weekend at the beginning of December. This is a great opportunity to buy direct from the designers and makers Caoilfionn Murphy O’Hanlon, Rachel Tinniswood, Fiona Quigley, Orla Barry, Orlaith Cullinane, Mary Cowan and Sarah McKenna.
There will be special treats for all those who at-
tend, including a fantastic draw, special offers and discounts plus traditional mulled wine
The Open Doors at Bridge Street Studios and Gateway Gallery gets underway on Friday December 1st, from 2pm to 9pm, and from 12pm to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday, December 2nd and 3rd. The Studios, Gallery and Shop will be open each Friday and Saturday in December from 12pm to 6pm.
It’s always a delight to visit Carlingford in the winter time, when the village’s old streets take on a special atmosphere. The Carlingford Christmas Craft Fair takes place in St Michael’s Hall on the first weekend in December, feature a selection of crafts and food from local producers as well as from neighbouring counties. Exhibitors include Shell’s Driftwood, Anne’s Luxury Irish Hand Knits and Crochet, Teresa Woods, baby knitwear and knitted toys, Colleen Long, Fairy Jars, cards and giftware, Marie Egan Decoupage, Roundwood Melts, Joanne Haffey, Rainbow Pebbles,Fiona’s Therapies, Seta McEvoy, Christmas Creations by Seetpetite, hand painted ceramics and giftware, Murraymaker, wall hangings, earrings, cushion covers etc, Mark English, woodturner, Carol Scott, Polymer Clay decorations and jewellery, Grainne Harnett, origami, Ciara Durrigan, recycled paper decorations, Briege Brady, Papillon Pottery and artist Rosemarie McArdle.
There will be a mulled wine reception on the evening of Friday December 1st, while Santa will pay a visit on the Sunday.
For a great day out for all the family, go along to Ghan House where this award winning venue is hosting their annual Christmas Fair on Sunday December 10th.
This free event is a celebration of everything that the local area has to offer at Christmastime, with the chance to purchase Christmas gifts and as well as Ghan House’s own homemade jams, chutneys, breads and gift vouchers. Exhibitors include Pearl Beauty Salon, Heavenly Cakes, The Handmade Soap Company, Petals’ Flowers and Gifts, Oghamoils, artists Patricia McAteer and Maura Muckian, Neary Nogs Chocolates, Dezignworx, The Pretty Plaque Shop, artist Tracy Fry, Sarah and Mart’s Art and Tori Knits.
There will also be wine-tasting with Owen from Wines Direct in the cosy bar area along with Des from the Carlingford Brewing Company offering information on his locally brewed ales.
There are cupcake and gingerbread decorating classes for children. The class costs €10 per child and they will have a cupcake and a gingerbread man to take home with them. Suitable for children of all ages. These are very popular so booking is advisable at 042 937 3682.
BUYING FROM LOCAL MAKERS, ARTISTS, AND FOOD PRODUCERS KEEPS MONEY IN THE LOCAL ECONOMY AND HELPS KEEP OUR COMMUNITIES ALIVE
Local craft beer just one of the products you will find at the festive trade fairs.
Paula Stapleton (left), Rachel Tinniswood, Garrett Mallon, Mary Cowan, Gillian Callan, Roisin Gregory, Fiona Quigley, Kathleen Mulholland, Sarah McKenna, Caoilfionn Murphy-O’Hanlon and Karen Lavelle at the official launch of the Louth Craft Mark Winter Fair which takes places at Bellurgan Park, November 17th-19th 2017.