Ireland is known for many things when it comes to clothing. One of the most popular and iconic is that of the Aran Sweaters. This comes, unsurprisingly, from the Isle of Aran. These are three islands out in the entrance of the Galway bay. They take the brunt of the savage Westerly winds that surge over the Atlantic ocean bringing storms and strong waves. In this way they protect Galway but it comes at a cost. The Islands are one of the most rugged, difficult and yet beautiful places to live. However the people there manage it.
They needed to be hardy and they also needed to fish. Fishing is one of the most important parts of the economy and the ability to feed the island populace would not happen without it. Corn and potatoes are difficult to grow there so this is why the need to have an active fishing fleet was a matter of existence.
To this end the men went out to fish or to farm and the women worked the land and the home. It was difficult out on the boats and the men needed something to protect them. This is where the Sweaters come in. Sheep were also in great numbers and the wool that they produced proved to be invaluable. The women crafted sweaters with intricate designs that kept them warm but with the lanolin from the wool it also kept them dry. You can get a Shamrock Gift Aran Sweater at the link to see what we mean.