GlenAran is a brand passionate about Irish Craft & Design inspired by the vision of Cork woman, Maureen MacCarthy .
Growing up in the small rural fishing village of Glengarriff, Co.Cork in the early 1940’s, Maureen developed an appreciation for the simplicity and beauty of honest Irish craftsmanship from a young age. With no shops or retail outlets and little commercial opportunities, Maureen’s family was self-sufficient, relying on the craft of their hands to make ends meet and provide for their children.
|The eldest of five siblings, Maureen began her love affair with knitting at the tender age of four, an obsession that was to last a lifetime. Days were spent in school, where her skills were honed and she was thought to knit practical accessories such as hats and scarves to prepare for the bitter winter months as well as more delicate and light crochet dresses for the warm summers ahead. Many a night was spent watching her father weave the intricate fishing nets used to dread for the scallops on the sea floor the following day, or in the bosom of her village neighbours for ‘An Scriocht’ a pastime which saw the community come together to recount the stories of the old days.
It was a combination of this rich culture, background and heritage that would build and shape the foundations for young Maureen’s love of storytelling and indeed craft.
|At the age of seventeen, the ambition to open her very own shop was to become a reality as Maureen’s brother … bought her very first shop in heart of Glengarriff village. A small wooden shed, it symbolised a craft enterprise for Maureen and the start of the GlenAran journey. She soon got to work housing a range of her very own handmade hats, jumpers, tea cosies, carefully crafted mittens and scarves, crochet dresses for children in bright and vibrant shades as well as the fast becoming popular Aran Sweater.
With little other outlets or opportunity to sell crafted items in the area, it wasn't long before other local artisans began to hear of Maureen’s little crafts store and made the journey to the small village in hope that the humble store would provide them with a platform to sell their various items from knitwear to broaches to pottery and paintings as well as other unusual and curious gifts.
Today the GlenAran Brand continues to grow and flourish under Maureen’s watchful eye and is as passionate about sourcing quality, colourful, handmade knits and unique and innovate, local craft as it is about telling the stories behind the artisans that are now part of the GlenAran family story.