Real Irish Gear for St. Paddy's Day

St. Patrick's Day is around the corner, which usually means green beer and silly hats. But if you're really serious about celebrating the holiday, you must know where to shop for Irish gear straight from the Emerald Isle. The Washington region is home to a few stores that sell authenic Irish clothing, art and jewelry, as well as food. Here are two of the most well-known:

The Irish Collection: The store has been around since 1990, starting out in Clifton and then moving to Occoquan in 1992. The owner travels to Ireland a few times a year to bring back her inventory of clothing, decorations, souvenirs, jewelry and food. Some of her collection includes Irish wool sweaters ranging from $80 to nearly $200, Irish wedding bands starting at $300 and silver pendants and earrings for $22, as well as souvenirs like key chains, lapel pins, dolls and lucky pennies, all for under $10. The store owner has also brought over Irish cuisine, such frozen sausage and bacon, as well as different kinds of pudding. Some of the store's most popular items this time of year are their rugby shirts, which are $54. All the jewelry, which happens to be hallmarked in Ireland, is 25 percent off through the end of March. "You can have an Irish-themed store or an Irish store. I have an Irish store," says owner Ellen Jones, a first-generation Irish.

The Irish Walk: The Irish are known for their drinking, so why not have a pub within a stone's throw from an Irish store? That's why it makes perfect sense that The Irish Walk in Alexandria is around the corner from Pat Troy's Ireland's Own Restaurant and Pub. So on your way in for a pint of Guinness, you can stop by The Irish Walk for green beads and rugby shirts, two of the store's most popular items this time of year. The store owner also travels to Ireland to pick up its inventory, which includes jewelry, Belleek china, cologne and fine crystal. Some of the gear includes a motoring cap in Irish tweed for $50, a Claddagh doorknocker for $50 and Killarney capes for $195.

Now if you'd rather buy straight from the source but don't have a trip to Ireland planned, Ireland's Eye is the place to go. You won't get it by St. Patrick's Day this year but you can't go wrong with the store's free shipping policy. The online store sells knitted clothing, accessories and home furnishings from its headquarters in Dublin. Simple women's and men's wool sweaters range between $77 and $85 and kids' hand-knit sweaters are $54. You can even get a baseball cap with your family crest embroidered on it for $30. It all makes me wish I was a little Irish myself.

Are there any other Irish stores in the Washington region? Where do you get gear to celebrate your heritage? Post a comment below.

By Tania Anderson |  March 13, 2008; 3:00 AM ET Holidays and Special Occasions
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Anyone know where I can get some breakfast puddings to cook at home?

Posted by: Pat | March 13, 2008 6:26 PM

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