Did you know the Aran sweater, a highly recognizable symbol of Ireland, will feature as an iconic fashion design of the twentieth century in an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York?
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Ireland's Aran Sweater
Is Fashion Modern? opens on October 1, 2017 and runs through January 28, 2018, at the Museum of Modern Art, West 53rd Street, New York.
To celebrate the inclusion of Ireland's Aran jumper in this exhibition the good folks at Standún, Spiddal have sponsored a giveaway and are offering an Aran sweater as a prize for one lucky reader to win. And to really make this giveaway exciting, the winner can choose any Aran sweater from Standún's wonderful online collection.
But before I share the details of how to enter this giveaway, let's first learn more about the Aran sweater and the history of Standún, Spiddal.
The Exhibition Piece
The Aran jumper to be included in this exhibition is a traditional cream colored, hand-knitted piece dating back to the 1940's. Aran sweaters are part of Ireland's cultural artifacts.
Made using handspun, heavy, scoured wool it features many traditional patterns including diamond stitch, and open trellis patterns. It even showcases a different design on the front and back.
The National Museum of Ireland - Country Life in Castlebar, County Mayo included this sweater as part of an exhibition in 2008 and now it has crossed the Atlantic to share Ireland's rich, cultural heritage with New Yorkers.
The Popularity of the Aran Jumper or Sweater
Without a shadow of doubt there's a huge amount of romance and folklore associated with the Aran jumper.
Although the stitches utilized to create these masterpieces are not unique to Ireland, the combinations of stitching patterns, and styling have ensured the Aran has become a testament to Irish culture and heritage.
Aran sweaters have long contributed to the romanticism of Irish rural life and Irish folk art. Called jumpers rather than sweaters by the Irish, they became particularly popular worldwide from the 1950's onward.
The Clancy Brothers were an influential Irish folk group in the 1960's. Touring America in their trademark Aran jumpers they brought a love of Irish traditional music to the United States and rekindled appreciation for our folk music traditions in Ireland.
When the Clancy Brothers toured the world wearing Aran sweaters, these beautiful examples of Irish cratsmanship began to be exported from Ireland to shops in America, Europe and Japan.
And who supplied the Clancys with some of their beautiful sweaters? The Standúns of Spiddal of course.
A Connemara Love Story
In the early 1940's Máirtín Standún, who was born in Liverpool, England, and May, a music teacher from Mullingar, fell in love.
But theirs was not a typical love story, meeting at a dance or a local gathering. Their first meeting actually occurred in prison, when both were interned for supporting the cause of Irish Independance.
Máirtín Standún was imprisoned in the Curragh and May Mulready, was one of the first women ever interned in Mountjoy Prison.
While serving time, Máirtín met the Irish scholar and writer, Máirtín O'Cadhain from Spiddal in County Galway. In less than 15 months Standún learned how to speak Irish, and when released from prison he carried with him a passionate love for the Irish language and culture.
May and Máirtín were married and moved to Spiddal in 1946, where they founded a department store specializing in the sale of Irish merchandise and, of course, the Aran sweater.
Their move to Spiddal was inspired by May's love for Irish music and Máirtín's love for the Irish language.
This love for all things Irish, their devotion to each other and their uncompromising work ethic ensured their store grew and prospered and transformed into a memorable attraction on the Galway tourist trail.
Even some members of the iconic Irish American Kennedy family stopped by the shop in Spiddal to buy some Aran sweaters.
The Tradition Continues
May Standún was a well known fiddle player in Connemara. She was very good friends with the Clancy brothers, and helped inspire them to sport those wonderful Aran sweaters when touring the world with their folk band.
Other notable Irish musicians including Tommy Mackem, and Luke Kelly often stopped off in Spiddal to visit May and enjoy a good music session in the Standún shop.
Today, the traditions of supporting Irish culture and heritage continue at Standún, Spiddal.
May and Máirtín's granddaughters now run the shop in Spiddal and have continued their grandparents' entrepreneurial spirit by offering an online store.
It's lovely to see a family owned business and tradition continue to flourish in today's mega-business environment. Well done, girls!
I know that readers of this little blog of mine love Aran sweaters as much as I do.
I'm thrilled to work with the girls at Standún again to bring you another little giveaway and a chance to win a beautiful piece of Aran knitwear.
This time, it's up to the winner to choose the Aran sweater he or she thinks would best suit. Or perhaps, the winner would like to gift the prize to a loved one.
Feel free to browse the pages of Standún's online catalog to pick the sweater or cardigan of your choice. You may like a ladies' cardigan, or a man's sweater, or you may like to see a little one running around sporting an Irish look. The choice is yours.
Stop on over to check out all the possibilities. Best of luck to all our entrants.
One lucky winner will win an Aran sweater or cardigan of their choosing.
To enter just leave a comment on this blog post by noon on Wednesday, September 6th, 2017.
Any comment will do. What you write does not affect your chance of winning, but if you need inspiration why not tell us if you like Aran sweaters or cardigans, or if you prefer Arans in the traditional natural color or in some of the modern shades available.
A winning comment 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 mailing of the prize.
The winner will be announced on Wednesday, September 6th 2017, 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 girls at Standún for sponsoring this prize, and wishing them every success as they continue their grandparents' legacy, inspired by the cratsmanship and designs of Ireland and Galway.
And thanks to all who join in the fun and support this giveaway celebrating all that the Aran sweater represents. Please feel free to share this post and let friends and family know they could be in with a chance to win a lovely Irish prize.
A winner has been randomly chosen using the Pick Giveaway Winner Plugin for WordPress. The proud new owner of a beautiful traditional Irish Aran sweater will be .....
I'll send Lea an email to let her know the good news. Many thanks to all who entered this Irish American Mom giveaway and checked out all the lovely sweaters from Standún.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Mairéad -Irish American Mom
Pronunciation - slawn ah-gus ban-ock-th
Mairéad - rhymes with parade
Disclosure: I do not have a business relationship with Standún.I love to publish posts about Irish and Irish American businesses. Many thanks to Standún for their generosity in sponsoring this prize, and for giving me permission to publish their lovely photographs.
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