16 Aug 2022

Buying local is important, especially at Christmas time

Buying local is important, especially at Christmas time

Liz Nolan, Project Manager, Design & Craft Council of Ireland

As part of our Five@5 campaign backing local businesses we spoke to a number of personalities about the festive season and how they will be shopping this Christmas

Liz Nolan, Project Manager, Design & Craft Council of Ireland

What local gift would you like to find under the tree this year?
Freedom: a tested and trialled safe vaccine for Covid-19 so we can all resume our lives; the chance to greet each other with handshakes, kisses or hugs again, especially family and friends.  

Where will you be shopping locally this Christmas?
Hopefully, in the fabulous ‘Made In’ pop up shop, on John St, (and if not I’ll be online: It’s an Aladdin’s cave for amazing hand crafted pieces by Kilkenny based craft makers. I bought my first piece by ceramicist Mark Campden 10 years ago in their early pop up on Rose Inn St and have bought  - and have been given - fabulous gifts from there each year from Cushendale Woollen Mills, their gorgeous new palette of colours, beautifully packaged balls of wool and knitting needles (a gift I gave all my nieces  once Christmas); stunning tableware from Jerpoint Glass, Rosemary Durr’s cornflour blue plus Andy Ludick’s stunning colourful jugs and plates, it’s like visiting an exhibition. Buying any of the makers’ work always makes me happy .  ‘The Butterslip’ ( on Rose Inn St where Anne and her friendly colleagues, have the best selection of divine, novel and quirky items, and all at a good price range. Allens of High St  ( for their great variety of basic and beautiful homeware with festive themes, ( who btw sell the best veg peelers), have a really helpful team and is a great family business.  The fantastically named ‘Frank Wall Mans Shop’ , where Elizabeth always makes me feel like I’m her best customer despite the fact I’m usually only buying fancy colourful socks at the last minute for nephews, brother and my brothers in law. Love ‘The Book Centre’ ( for great range of books as gifts. As a Kilkenny person, I love and cherish the family businesses on our High St. I think it’s vital to Kilkenny’s cultural heritage, tourism and sense of place that they get the support they need to remain viable businesses. That’s why the national ‘Made Local’ campaign by the ‘Design Crafts Council of Ireland’ and work by our own ‘Kilkenny People’ weekly to remind us of importance of buying local is so important. 

What will you be doing differently for Christmas this year?
Hoping to have the usual Christmas eve bevvy in the Hibernian which is always buzzing with excitement and good cheer. And if not, we’ll be outside in the garden at a safe 2m distance  - or whatever we need to do safely  - around an open fire to create festive cheer with mugs and glasses of something lovely.

What is your favourite Christmas memory of growing up in Kilkenny?
I grew up on a farm, our big rush each Christmas morning was to get the jobs done really fast. But first there was 7am mass in the Friary or the Black Abbey where our late dad, John Joe,  would  break the lights if late (and sometimes anyway) as the streets were so quiet and mornings still dark. Back home there’d be a quick breakfast, which involved dragging the kitchen table over to the hob where we’d toast bread, drink mugs of tea before getting into our old work duds, wellies and onto the yards to get jobs done and return again, cleaned up and in our ‘Sunday Best’ to a proper open fire and a film in the in the ‘good’ sitting room, chewing hard toffees and watching an film, sheer excitement with being idle! My three sisters Mary, Ella, Geraldine and brother Ned worked hard. Our father would invariably tell us we were ‘toppers’ each Christmas morning which made us so happy – and kept us motivated until the following year – such simple times!

What was the most thoughtful Christmas present you ever received?
A wonderful tapestry with a blessing from my late mam, Lil. She gave me the canvas for Christmas as a young girl but I didn’t have the patience or aptitude to stick with it. I had completely forgotten this until she surprised me twenty years later one Christmas morning having completed it herself. It melted my heart.



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