Happy Saint Patrick's Day folks! I hope everyone has a wonderful time celebrating our Irish heritage.
To help mark the occasion in true Irish style I've teamed up with the Aran Sweater Market to host a very special giveaway.
The first prize is a child's Aran sweater, and the second prize is a child's Aran jacket/cardigan. But before I share the details of the prizes and how to enter our little giveaway, first let me tell you a little bit about the Aran Sweater Market.
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Aran Sweaters For Sale On The Aran Islands
This store is actually located on none other than Inis Mór, one of the magnificent Aran Islands, off Ireland's west coast.
Aran sweaters are part of Ireland's cultural artifacts.
Founded by the McCarthy family in the early 1990's, the Aran Sweater Market has grown from being a cornerstone of the small island community of Inis Mór, to now being one of Ireland's leading suppliers of authentic Aran knitwear.
Their vision is to provide quality Aran Sweaters that remain true to the original product created many moons ago. Through a passion for quality they celebrate the long and fascinating heritage of the Aran Islands.
With markets also in Killarney, County Kerry, and at Shannon Airport, together with a beautifully designed online store, the Aran Sweater Market brings the elegance of authentic Aran knitwear to a global audience.
The Beauty of the Aran Islands
The Aran Islands lie off the coast of County Galway in western Ireland. These islands boast wild and rugged landscapes and are rich in antiquities, and prehistoric Celtic remains.
The people of these islands have courageous hearts and resourceful natures.
For generations they have battled the elements to sustain life on land which to many may appear uninhabitable.
The Islanders have lived for centuries by working the land, farming, fishing, harvesting and of course by knitting the famous bánín sweaters that have made them famous throughout the world today.
Here are a few business philosophy statements from the Aran Sweater Market that really struck a cord with me...
"We are driven by a shared passion for the history of the Aran Sweater and see it as our duty to keep the story, beauty and true essence of the sweater and the spirit of the Islands alive."
"We truly believe that buying a sweater is much more than a weather protector or a nod to current fashion statements, but rather an investment in one’s ancestry, a memento of your time in Ireland or a wistful reminder of a magical place yet to be explored."
"We love to pay homage to our roots through our precious sweaters as well as our brand."
Knitting - A Time Honored Tradition Of The Aran Islands
The Islanders were both fishermen and farmers whose lives and livelihoods were deeply intertwined with the rugged terrain and the thunderous oceans surrounding them.
The Aran Sweater was born of this environment, with the skills for creating these masterpieces passed down from generation to generation. The Aran Sweater has evolved to become the ultimate symbol of Irish Clan heritage.
From its origins, the Aran sweater has been intimately linked to clans and their identities. The multiple combinations of stitches seen on each garment are far from incidental.
The intricate patterns impart vast amounts of information to those who know how to interpret them. Aran sweaters were, and remain, a reflection of the lives of the knitters, and their families.
On the Aran islands, sweater patterns were zealously guarded, kept within the same clan throughout generations. These Aran sweaters were often used to help identify bodies of fishermen washed up on the beach following an accident at sea.
An official register of these historic patterns has been compiled, and can be seen in the Aran Sweater Market on the Aran Islands.
Clan Patterns For Aran Sweaters
In line with ancient Irish folklore, and over many years Irish clans adopted the Aran Sweater as the ultimate Clan symbol. Historically these patterns were safeguarded within families and passed down from generation to generation.
Today there are over 130 different patterns available, inspired by various locations in Ireland and by Irish names. Each pattern's foundations are deeply rooted in ancient Irish legend, culture and traditions making ClanAran an authentic family gift that can be treasured for generations to come.
ClanAran knitting patterns and wool are available from the Aran Sweater Market website, for anyone interested in undertaking a project to create a family heirloom.
I love the double cable in the O'Neill family pattern in the sweater shown above.
I didn't find a Geary or O'Gara pattern on the list, but perhaps your clan is amongst the 130 patterns available.
And now it's time to share the details of this fabulous giveaway ....
The first prize is a totally adorable kid's traditional Aran Fisherman Wool Sweater, with a crew neck style and beautiful Aran cable patterns. It can be worn by a boy or girl. It's made in Ireland of 100% soft merino wool, with natural and organic fibres helping to regulate body temperature. Color choices include natural white, blue or parsnip. It comes with a signed and stamped Certificate of Authenticity.
The second prize is a beautiful kid's Aran jacket or cardigan as we say in Ireland. It's made in Ireland of 100% soft merino wool, in a fisherman's crew neck style with leather look buttons.
It's available in pink, white and parsnip and boasts beautiful Aran stitches. It comes with a signed and stamped Certificate of Authenticity.
To enter just leave a comment on this blog post by noon on Friday, March 25th, 2016.
Any comment will do. What you write does not affect your chance of winning, but if you need inspiration for your entry why not tell us if you have every visited the Aran islands, or if you own and treasure an Aran sweater.
Two winning comments will be chosen randomly. Remember to leave your e-mail so that I can contact you should you win. Your e-mail won’t be published, just used to contact our lucky contestant for ordering and mailing of the prizes.
Winners will be announced on Friday March 25th, 2016, at the bottom of this blog post.
You may check out Irish American Mom’s complete terms and conditions for sweepstakes’ entries by clicking here.
A big thank you to the Aran Sweater Market for sponsoring this prize. And thanks to everyone who supports this little giveaway.
Best of luck to all the entrants, and a very happy St. Patrick's Day to each and everyone who visits my blog and reads my recipes and ramblings.
Update - Winners Chosen
Good news! We have our two winners. Sorry this notification is a little late - I marked the wrong Friday on my calendar for completing this giveaway. Call it Spring break fever! But as we say in Ireland - "better late than never."
The winner of the child's sweater is Laura.
The winner of the child's cardigan is Judith.
I'll send you both an e-mail to let you know you have won.
A big thanks to everyone who stopped by and supported this giveaway. And many thanks to the Aran Sweater Market for sponsoring these wonderful prizes.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Mairéad -Irish American Mom
Pronunciation - slawn ah-gus ban-ock-th
Mairéad - rhymes with parade
Disclosure: Irish American Mom did not receive payment for publishing this giveaway post. I wish to thank The Aran Sweater Market for graciously sponsoring the prizes for this Irish sweepstakes.
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