With six weekends to go until Christmas – just enough time to get prepared and organised for the celebrations – we’ve been looking at some exciting options for holiday gift-giving, socialising and even for planning ahead for the new year.
This year has seen a noticeable awareness of the availability of high-standard Irish design for both men and women. A Wearing Green event held at Embassy of Ireland in April showcased designs by well-established and new Irish designers.
Celtic Tweeds, based in Balbriggan, North Dublin has some special items which are a smart blend of the professional and casual looks.
Cathy and Frank, the firm’s directors, have developed a brand which includes special pieces which can be dressed up or down and will make lovely gifts for loved ones this Christmas.
Strikingly beautiful colours are woven into high-quality Irish wool and linen fabrics, which almost guarantees a unique fashion statement. The website is easy to explore and includes:
Celtic gent (Waistcoats and jackets) and Celtic Lady (Jackets, capes and gilets). These can even be complemented with accessories: bow ties, cuff links and lapel pins. For stocking filler ideas, there are useful notebooks and the Celtic Gent teddy bears
Celtic Gent also offers bespoke tailoring for those wishing to visit their Dublin store in Balbriggan, Co. Dublin.
Here in the UK, Gold’s Outfitters – located in The Big Red Building in Golders Green Road, North West London – have a huge selection of high-quality men’s’ suits, jackets and tuxedos. Sam and his team are helpful, friendly and waiting to serve you with their renowned old-fashioned charm and courtesy. Prices are very reasonable too and Gold’s also offers an alteration service. Open Monday to Friday, and all day Sunday until 6pm, Gold’s can also be reached on 0208 905 5721
For the little ones
With grandparents playing an increasingly important role in family life these days, they would enjoy a visit to Smyth’s Toys. Staff are friendly and helpful, stores are well laid out and there is usually car parking available.
As well as the festive season’s annual favourites, there is a range of inexpensive gifts suitable for all ages and budgets. The Baby room showcases the latest nursery equipment and gadgets (some gift ideas for those expecting an addition to the family). There is an excellent range of outdoor play ideas and video games for adults as well as children – all under one roof.
Not all wrapped up
For those seeking out an experience who have an interest in Country Music, bookings are being taken for a weekend at the McKeefry Irish Festival in March 2019.
Food-wise, a dinner at the Rotunda Bar and Restaurant in King’s Place, just a few minutes walk from the beautifully restored St Pancras station in King’s Cross, would appeal. The Rotunda is in keeping with the modern elegant setting of the King’s Place arts and conference centre.
Now marking its first decade, it is renowned for high-quality meat sourced from the restaurant’s own farm in Northumberland as well as fresh fish. Menus include à la carte and on Sunday, an opportunity to bring the family to share joints and roasts. There is also an award-winning wine list, great selection of craft beers, gins and house cocktails – perfect for special family occasions and celebrations.
There’s also the Burren Smokehouse – who have been successfully supplying award-winning Organic smoked salmon to customers nationwide and internationally for nearly three decades – and their a free gifting service when products are ordered within Ireland to be sent internationally. Salmon can be sent to the UK, Europe, USA, Canada, Japan and Hong Kong and a personalised gift message can also be included.
At the Grim’s Dyke Hotel in Harrow on Boxing Day, a special brunch is taking place. There is an opportunity to take visiting relatives for a stroll through the beautiful woodland and garden before having boxing day brunch. Harrow Whisky Festival, meanwhile, will take place between Friday 11th and Saturday 12th January 2019.
This holiday season, plenty of exciting events are taking place at local Irish centres. One might consider a pre-Christmas catch up with friends or relatives we don’t see too often in this spaces with special events at times and dates to suit all age groups – elders luncheons, concerts and more.
The Irish Film Festival London – running from 21st November to 25th November – is also a must-visit before Christmas. There will be new screenings at Regent St Cinema, Curzon Bloomsbury and Barbican Cinema among others. Since the majority of the festival’s screenings take place in the afternoon, it is easy to combine with shopping.
Irish Cultural Centre Hammersmith has a huge programme during December with ceilis, concerts, storytelling and much more. On Sunday 2 December, from 12 noon to 3pm, there will be a very special Christmas exhibition featuring works by leading Irish artists. A selection of original paintings and prints will be available at accessible prices.
Leeds Irish Centre is also presenting a family carvery on Sunday 23 December from 12.30pm with lunch served from 1pm. Santa will drop in and entertainment will be provided by musician Nicky James along with a magic show from Disco Joe.
Other events include the Brent Irish Advisory Centre’s annual Christmas party at Clayton Crown in North West London on Thursday 13 December. On Monday 10th December, Christmas Carols and Craic will take place at London Irish Centre Camden, commencing at 6.30 with Christmas Tree lighting at 7 pm. This will be followed by a carol concert with the London City Voices Choir, lead by Dubliner Richard Swan.
- Sat 24 Nov 11am-4pm: Christmas Bazaar at St Joseph’s Highgate Hill, London N19 5NE
- Fri 14 Dec: Shawn Cuddy appearing at Belmullet Tavern, 2 Ruislip Road, Greenford UB6 9QN