Ireland, land of saints and scholars; of bullets and bombs; and of cyrstal and china, linens and lace and sweaters and shawls.
Buy them here and you pay about double what they'd cost there; going there isn't really any way to economize, either. Why not sit down at home with some catalogues and import the goods yourself?
One of the most popular imports is the famed crystal from Waterford, a small seaport on Ireland's southeastern coast where the first "glass-house," Gurteens, was established on the banks of the River Suir in 1729. Ever since then, craftmen there have been turning silica sand, red lead and pot-ash into the sparkling masterpieces known the world over.n stores here a Waterford claret glass costs from $16 to $24 - in the Lismore pattern, for example, it's $17.50. But in the catalogue of The China Showrooms (32-33 Lower Abbey St., Dublin 1) it's about $8.50. Of course, you must add charges for packing, insurance, shipping and duty - but there's still a substantial saving, especially if you're ordering several pieces. This catalogue lists in great detail all the Waterford patterns, including decanters, butter dishes, salt and pepper shakers, lamps, chandeliers.
R. Hilliard and Sons Ltd., of Killarney, have less Waterford but a large selection of Galway crystal at comparable prices, shown in a beautiful 32-page color catalogue. And for $1, Stephen Faller (Exports) Ltd. (Industrial Estate, Mervue, Galway) will send you a 60-page color catalogue showing both Waterford and Galway crystal as well as the delicate Lladro porcelain figuriness, an assortment of Irish coffee glasses, character jugs, linens and china.
While you're in the importing mood, consider the hand-knit fishermen's sweaters from the Aran Islands - Inishmore, Inishmaan and Inisheer, part of County Galway. These rugged, windswept islands jut out into the Atlantic, and the craft of hand-knitting sweaters in centuries-old patterns has been passed from generation to generation. The patterns vary from one village to the next, so a drowned fisherman could be returned to his home village, identified by the stitches on his sweater.
Since the oils of the wool are retained, the sweaters, scarves and hats are naturally water-repellant. In stores here $100 seems to be the going price for a pullover and $115 for a cardian with wooden buttons. In the Shannon Mail-Order Catalogue (Shannon International Airport) Aran sweaters start at $44, and the most expensive is $57. The catalogue also has page after page of cyrstal (Waterford, Galway and Cavan), linens and Claddagh jewelry.