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Tag: Inis Meain

The Aran Islands – Another World

My first introduction to the Aran Islands was through the photography of Bill Doyle. Doyle, who passed away last year at the age of 85, was often referred to as Ireland’s Cartier-Bresson and had a knack for artfully capturing the scenes of the world around him. During his trips to the islands, he was able to photograph many of the people and their daily activities and in 1999 a collection of these pictures were published together in a single volume titled The Aran Islands – Another World (while now out of print, it is still possible to find it at affordable prices on the used market).

The book itself seems to also be a main inspiration behind the Inis Meain clothing line, and indeed, just about every Inis Meain stockist I’ve visited seems to have a copy of it on hand. Bill Doyle’s other book, Images of Dublin, is also worth checking out.

aran_islands_01 Read more

The Aran Sweater Story Continued – Stitches at Sea

Here’s another great article on the background of Aran sweaters. From Stitches at Sea, by Linda Cortright:

Up until the latter part of the 20th century, most islanders (total population 1,218) were still engaged in either fishing or farming – each one presenting a formidable set of challenges. But times have changed all that and tourism is now the main source of income for most. Subsistence farmers along with their livestock have all but disappeared, and only a few fishermen still uphold the same traditions sustained by their forbearers.

Yet, with so many ways of old having all but vanished, the Aran sweater flourishes as never before – thanks in part to the souvenir seeking tourist who can nab an “Aran” sweater – Made in China – with wool from Australia, like it was a pashmina from a New York City street vendor.

There is also this interesting bit on the wool that Inis Meain uses for their sweaters:

Although their sweaters are elegantly designed, and carried by the finest stores, from trendy boutiques in Tokyo to high-end shops in Milan, the wool non longer comes from the local sheep, in fact not even Irish sheep. Tarlach recalls, “By the early 1980s we had to stop using Irish wool, it was just too scratchy for the average consumer.” Now, the f wool they use has crested to the luxury of cashmere and alpaca, almost all of which is imported from Michell & Co. in Peru; a leading manufacturer in luxury yarns.

Continue reading more.

Related posts:
Aran Sweater Myths
Inis Meáin Kniting Company

Inis Meáin Kniting Company

The Inis Meáin Kniting Company has been creating some of the world’s best Aran sweaters for several decades. It is named after the island their factory resides on, Inis Meáin, the second largest of the three Aran islands.

Inis Meain Cardigan
They’re the type of sweaters that would last you a lifetime.  Only a few online stores carry them: J.L. Powell, Hartford York, and Maxwell & Co.  The cardigan that I just picked up above is available in store at Jack Straw (see the previous post).

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