I'm Mary Whelan, and I'm the owner of Eirlooms, an Irish Gift Shop in Dublin, Ireland.
Ever since I was a small girl, I loved to make things from all kinds of materials, sea shells, stones, papier mache, lollipop sticks, modelling clay and anything I could get my hands on! Making something from a bunch of raw materials has always been a source of amazement to me, and as I understand first hand the patience, trial and error and ultimate expertise in the achievement of this alchemy, I fully appreciate and love the work of other designers and makers. I am passionate about craft and design, and particularly that which we are lucky to have in Ireland.
So in 2015 I decided to launch Eirlooms, specializing in gifts such as Irish jewellery, personalized baby gifts, Irish hampers, and many other Irish products. The name was the inspiration of my daughter Kate, a product designer, and the logo was designed by my son Conor, an animator. It was a play on the words Eire and Heirlooms. I wanted to showcase products that were authentically Irish, and which could often stand the test of time to become family heirlooms.
There are four main things I love about this business: 1) Designing and making novel products myself 2) Collaborating with talented crafters of Ireland to produce products with a difference, 3) Showcasing the original work of Irish based designers and makers and 4) Meeting the wonderful customers who share my passion. I only curate and promote what I love.
In an age when our society is saturated with mass produced goods, there is something very important about keeping alive the traditions of makers who have gone before us. Each item that is handcrafted has energy, love and flaws which make it absolutely unique. Eirlooms supports over 80 designers and makers throughout the country, innovative and skilled people who work really hard to make a living from their passion. Our society would be a far poorer place without them.