Ballyhoura Country has Christmas Gifting Wrapped Up for Young and Old

From exquisite handmade pottery to artisan food and drink to wellness/outdoor activities to pieces of art – and not to mention a Santa Experience! – Ballyhoura Country has something to fill everyone’s Christmas stocking this festive season.

Now that the clocks have gone back, and our Hallowe’en decorations are packed away, our thoughts turn to the festive season ahead…and the all-important Christmas shopping! This year, more than ever–as small, local businesses recover from the pandemic–it is a great idea to shop local and support Irish enterprises.

Ballyhoura Country, the stunning tourist region situated on the crossroads of Limerick, Cork and Tipperary, offers a diverse range of gifts almost as abundant as a harvest at the renowned Ballyhoura Apple Farm!

The outdoorsy-type in your life will love a taste of the wide range of fun activities the region has to offer, a perfect way to get some crisp fresh air after lots of overindulging in December:

  • Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Trails – an ideal present for a family adventure day! It’s free if you bring your own bike (or you can rent a bike from Ballyhoura Trailriders), and only €5 for the car park. You can stay in the bike-friendly Deebert House Hotel, only 10 mins from the trail.
  • Ballyhass Adventure Group offers a variety of activities for all age groups, especially teens and families, including Archery, Axe-Throwing, Aquapark, Kayaking, High Nets Course and Ziplining, while you can ease the tired muscles that evening with a stay in Charleville Park Hotel with its swimming pool and leisure club.
  • Ballyneety Golf Club has opened a fab new Golf Shop, with plenty of Christmas gifts for all budgets to suit the budding or fanatical golfer in your life. It offers a great round of golf at an outstanding value.
  • There might be no WiFi in the woods, but Caroline at Yoga Walks Ireland promises you a better connection with yourself (a new year resolution for many of us!) once you experience one of their many walks planned across some beautiful locations in Ballyhoura.

Not just an outdoors destination, Ballyhoura Country also offers some amazing gifts for those who love handmade crafts, art, and culinary delights.

  • Clair in Lough Gur Pottery crafts the most stunning designs, inspired by the surrounding rich landscape and history and has some gorgeous Christmas gifts on her website with nationwide delivery. From Clover the Christmas Cow tree decoration (this can be personalised with your own text) to a Festive Washing Line decoration – both of these are priced at €12.50, you can find a gift at Lough Gur Pottery for everyone and all budgets.

  • Meanwhile, in Bruff, Eithne Hehir from Ballyhoura Ceramics creates functional yet aesthetically-beautiful porcelain vessels, all lovingly hand-made by using the traditional handcrafted method of throwing on the wheel creating a unique piece of porcelain.

  • While the newly-opened Art-is-Ann Gallery in Bruff/Meanus, Co Limerick is the brainchild of local artist Ann Gaule, whose paintings very skilfully capture the poetic beauty of the Irish countryside.
  • Two locally-produced 2022 calendars are available: The Nature of Mitchelstown (€10) is in aid of St George’s Arts and Heritage Centre in the town – available in local shops in Mitchelstown or just email brigownspire@gmail.com, while the similarly-priced Lough Gur Calendar is available from https://loughgur.com/2022-calendar/

  • Fairy magic is something that all the young girls and boys know to be true (it’s nearly as strong as the magic of Christmas!), and the Terra Nova Fairy Gift Shop is Ireland’s leading fairy gift shop with the largest range of fairy houses, doors and fairy garden accessories in the country.
  • For the art-lover in your life, you can check out Great Artitute Gallery in Doneraile, Co Cork, which carries a wide and eclectic selection of Fine Art prints and paintings, as well as high-quality craft pieces, including jewellery, pottery, woodturning and crochet.
  • Arts, crafts and gifts are available too in the Garden Centres throughout the region: Ahern Nurseries, Rockbarton Garden Centre & Hennessy Nurseries

Christmas definitely wouldn’t be Christmas without a visit from Santa Claus, and the man himself will be stopping by Lough Gur during the festive season. The kids will love it here! Tickets are available from Lough Gur website.

Of course, it’s also panto season (oh yes, it is!), and Little Red Riding Hood’s Christmas Adventure is taking place in Friars Gate Theatre, Kilmallock beginning Wednesday 15th, Thursday 16th & Friday 17th December with shows at 10am & 12pm. Tickets €10 - email friarsgatetheatre@gmail.com or call 063-98727

How about gifting a Taste of Ballyhoura this Christmas? The region is a veritable nature’s larder, with a delicious range of local artisan food and drink, and if you’re stocking up the drinks cabinet in anticipation of friends and family coming to visit, then Ballyhoura’s fare is ideal. In addition, lots of local craft and food suppliers will be attending various Christmas markets across the Ballyhoura region. Keep an eye on https://visitballyhoura.com/events

  • The “Praline Artisan Chocolate Bar Collection” – handmade in Mitchelstown by award-winning pastry chef, Norma Kelly, is on praline.ie, available for delivery nationwide
  • Red Mulled Apple Juice from Ballyhoura Apple Farm – awarded a gold in this year’s Blas na hÉireann Irish Food Awards, is the perfect drink for Christmas this year, and is available in-stores nationwide
  • Local, organic Christmas Hampers–from the farmer to you–are available from the Urban Co-Op, an organic, sustainable co-operative Grocery and Wellness Hub - The Urban Co-Op website
  • Continuing the wellness theme, Two Green Witches in Doneraile, offers a range of organic skin and haircare products and holistic therapies - twogreenwitches.ie with plenty of gifts under €25!