County Down and County Armagh Craft Trail
Here are a few ideas to take you away from the high streets in counties Down and Armagh.
Start your day in the coastal town of Dundrum at The Lodge Studio, a working studio and gallery for Helen Kerr and Richard Croft. The studio is open during working hours, including weekends but to avoid any disappointment please telephone in advance, 02843751281.
Travel inland then to the pretty market town of Castlewellan where you will stumble upon a special shopping experience in Blue Beans Craft Shop & Gallery. This shop offers a shopping experience with a vast collection of gifts from some of Ireland's leading crafts people and a complimentary coffee! Which no doubt will be very welcome on a cold wintery morning.
From Castlewellan head further inland to Banbridge and everyone is certain to be hungry, so take a short drive to Gilford (just passed Banbridge) and the Linen Barn Coffee Shop at Ballydougan Pottery. Why not enjoy their tempting toastie selection or delicious homemade lunch options. Then go next door to the Gift Shop and find a lovely Christmas treat for someone special.
Back on the road, head for Dolmen Crafts just outside the City of Armagh. Here you will find an oasis of craft and tranquility. Specialist carpenters use native elm to create unique wooden products from flowerpot stands to coffee tables, each piece is unique and they promise never to make two pieces alike! An organic garden, dome glass house with tree house and rope-bridge should also keep the kids entertained. Open Monday – Friday 9.00 – 17.00, Saturday 9.00 – 16.00 and Sun 12.00 – 16.00.
Why not finish your day in style with a trip into Armagh City the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland. It is a delight to simply stroll through this dignified city, enjoying its elegant Georgian Streets, beautiful tree-lined mall and classical buildings. But why not pop along to Mary Murphy Jewellery Design, working in gold, silver and gemstones, Mary designs and manufactures hand crafted pieces. With some ideas about how you want that special present to look, Mary will talk you through the design. Open Tuesday to Friday 10.00 – 17.30 and Saturday 10.00 – 17.00.