In just a century since they first appeared, the textured wool sweaters of the Aran Islands have become “as tenacious an international symbol of Ireland as the harp and shamrock,” writes fashion historian Deirdre McQuillan. It wasn’t until the home crafts movement in the early 1900s that Aran’s distinctive patterns became known around the world. Today, from tourist shops to fashion shows, one can find sweaters based on stitches that were invented by grandmothers and great-grandmothers only a few generations ago.
100% wool with brown resin buttons. Made in Ireland. Men’s sizes M (38–40), L (42–44), XL (46–48), XXL (50–52).
In just a century since they first appeared, the textured wool sweaters of the Aran Islands have become “as tenacious an international symbol of Ireland as the harp and Shamrock,” writes historian Dierdre McQuillan. Women on these small, craggy islands in the mouth of Galway Bay had always made clothing by hand, but it wasn’t until the home crafts movement at the end of the 19th century that this practical skill blossomed into an iconic design known around the world. Then as now, the sale of handcrafts was encouraged as a way to continue local traditions and bring extra income into poor farming and fishing communities. Knitters from Donegal, the Channel Islands, and even emigrants returning from America traded techniques, and sweater patterns became more complicated as local women worked together to master new stitches.
National Geographic first commented on the sweaters in a 1931 article, referring to “the blue jersey of the fisherman.” Eventually white became the most popular color for Aran sweaters, and many children on the islands wore a design made just for them for their first holy communion. Early efforts at exporting sweaters through nearby Galway were a challenge until the craftswomen got the hang of standardized sizes rather than knitting for the way their family members were built.
Today, from tourist shops to fashion shows, one can find sweaters based on stitches that were invented by grandmothers and great-grandmothers only a couple of generations ago: cables, diamonds, blackberry stitch, crooked road, half-eights, bird’s eye, honeycomb, and many more. As they say on the islands, Go máire tú is go gcaithe théMay you live and wear it well.
This is a classic sweater in the button up cardigan style, made in Ireland by Carraig Donn, a highly regarded maker of Aran sweaters and other wool garments. It's highly versatile: It can...Read complete review
This is a classic sweater in the button up cardigan style, made in Ireland by Carraig Donn, a highly regarded maker of Aran sweaters and other wool garments. It's highly versatile: It can be worn with a dress shirt and tie in all but formal business environments, yet it looks equally good with a black T-shirt and jeans. The sweater is 100% wool. As such, it has the best properties of wool, such as warmth and moisture-wicking. I find it ideal for use in the 35-55 degree Farenheit range, with no jacket on top of the sweater. (For lower temperatures, a jacket over it would work fine). Note that it does not have any man-made fibers such as acrylic or nylon; some makers make their sweaters with 10-20% of these fibers to lower costs, but they also can have the advantage of adding strength or helping a sweater keep its form. Bottom line: Very high quality, made with nothing but pure new wool -- but you do have to treat it nicely (dry cleaning is best, as is keeping it folded and away from moths!) The only (minor) negatives about this item are: Because it's 100% new wool, it is a bit itchy against exposed skin - but not a problem at all so long as you wear long sleeves underneath. Also, the buttoms are resin. Hardwood would make it a real classic, but also much more expensive and the resin buttons are almost indistinguishable from hardwood unless you examine them closely. All in all, a very nice item that you won't easily find unless you travel to Ireland. It's worth the price, as it will probably last 10 or 15 years if you take care of it.
Most Liked Negative Review
We ordered the medium charcoal color, it was shipped in the white, we sent it back, we got the charcoal, but the medium was too small. We then ordered a large, this...Read complete review
We ordered the medium charcoal color, it was shipped in the white, we sent it back, we got the charcoal, but the medium was too small. We then ordered a large, this was also too small. So now we await an ex large. The medium white one fit just perfectly, I don't understand. Anyway, I ordered this back in NOvember of 2012 for a christmas gift, My husband has NOT been able to wear his christmas gift due to this!
About Me Classic, Comfort-oriented, Female, Practical
Comments about Men's Aran Shawl-collar Cardigan:
I bought this for my weekend "boyfriend" sweater and the sleeves were too long and didn't fit proportionately. If I had went up a size, the sleeves would have been even longer :( I really wanted this to work!
Feels true to size
Feels true to length
Feels too long
Was this a gift?:
Bottom Line Yes, I would recommend this to a friend
From National Geographic:Thank you for taking the time to review your order. This cardigan was designed for the male figure. We regret that it did not work out for you. If you prefer to return it for a refund or exchange, please contact our customer service office at NGCatalog@ngs.org.
Appeared less material than in photo. Felt like too many "holes", so could see through it in many places. Didn't like. Would not recommend.
Feels too small
Feels too short
Feels too short
Was this a gift?:
Bottom Line No, I would not recommend this to a friend
From National Geographic:We appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts and are sorry to hear that this item did not live up to your expectations. If you prefer to return it for a refund or exchange, kindly contact our customer service department at NGCatalog@ngs.org.
Cable knit for safety in the waters. Diamonds
for fishing nets. Honeycomb pattern for industriousness. Women on Ireland’s craggy Aran Islands have always knit sweaters for their fishermen kin, but in the early 20th century these enterprising crafters began selling ...
On the Aran Islands off the western coast
of Ireland, rural women have been knitting heavy woolen sweaters for their fisherman kin for centuries. In the 20th century, Aran knitters began to make additional sweaters to sell to earn extra ...
Ruggedly built for outdoor adventure but classic enough
for evenings in town, this Shetland wool cardigan is an excellent choice for travel. Knit by a 135-year-old mill in Hawick, a town along the Teviot River in the southeastern Scottish Borders ...