Home-grown gifts for kids: 10 of the best Irish toys
Determined to shop local and support Irish designers and retailers this year?
Ireland is a wonderland of wild and wonderful gift ideas for children of all ages, you just need to know where to look. Here are some of the most innovative, timeless and creative items available:
Dirty Bertie books
Dirty Bertie - the boy with nose-pickingly disgusting habits - is back for another helping of comic chaos! Whether he's weeing in the flower bed or vexing his family in some other thoroughly naughty way, David Roberts' brilliant character never fails to tickle a younger audience (ages five to eight). €7.90 from bookshops.
30 Seconds is a quick-thinking, fast-talking description board game developed by Cork entrepreneur Greg Dooley. Players (aged eight+) must name Irish and international personalities, landmarks and other familiar topics and its designed for four or more players, which makes for some raucous fun on Christmas Day. €24.99 here.
Celtic Rocking Horses
If we won the lottery, Santa would be bringing a stable of Celtic Rocking Horses, each one handmade in Co. Longford from locally sourced hardwood timbers such as oak, beech, ash and even bog oak. Each rocking horse is set on a swinger stand or rocker and completed with saddle, bridle and real horsehair. You can even have a time capsule inserted in the belly of the horse as its being built for your grandchildren's grandchildren to find in centuries to come. From €1,250 at Celtic Rocking Horses.
Rory's Story Cubes
These clever cubes are essentially a pocket-sized creative story generator, providing hours of imaginative play for all ages. There are no wrong answers; simply roll the cubes and let the pictures spark your imagination! A bargain €14.99 at Easons.
Arckit, an innovative modelling kit developed by Irish architect Damien Murtagh, has been dubbed “the new Lego” or "Reality Minecraft" by fans. The kits' interconnecting bits allow users to create a vast range of structures, turning them into mini-architects. Arckit is for sale in a number of retailers and on their website from €59.99.
Tweed Dickie Bow and Reversible Cardigan
Simon O’Connor and Lucy Clarke set up Elks, a children’s clothing label, in 2012. The contemporary collection is practical, made from natural fabrics, mainly Irish tweeds and linens and fuses the contrast of rugged countryside with slick city living. Set €42 here.
Tummy time mat
This cosy patterned mat is great for play and changing. Layered with super soft faux sheep fleece, it's even waterproof membrane for using outside. €60 from LiveLoveSmile, Galway.
The Irish Fairy Door
Possibly the most magical gift you can give a wide-eyed child, the Irish Fairy Door Company's brilliant doors come with a bottle containing a tiny key to be hidden nearby. €24.95 here
The Crabber was designed by husband and wife makers Ginny and Jason in Baltimore, west Cork. As their own children were such keen crabbers, the pair set about developing a crabber for other families to enjoy. All you need is some bait - a piece of rasher works a treat. €18 here.
The showpiece coat
This tweed coat is beautifully detailed with large lapels, shell buttons and burgundy corduroy trims - trust us, it'll be handed down for years. €240 from Elks
Looking for more inspiration? Check out this little lot.