Does your idea of Christmas shopping involve wandering aimlessly until you stumble across something your loved ones might like?
It’s not the most efficient way of conquering your Santa list, but it is quite a romantic notion, so this year we’re here to help.
If the high street stores give you hives come December, there are plenty of hidden gems that are well off the beaten track; you can stroll there at your own pace, stop for a coffee along the way and pay for your purchases without standing in a heaving queue for 20 minutes.
Even more importantly, you’ll find novel ideas for the most hard-to-buy-for people everywhere you look. You may even find something special for yourself… after all, it is the season of giving.
THE ENGLISH MARKET
It’s not just crubeens and tripe, you know; if there’s a foodie in your family or circle of friends you’ll find oodles of thoughtful gift ideas in the English Market. Chat to the knowledgeable folk at On The Pigs Back about putting together a board for the cheese connoisseur, or swing by The Real Olive Co. for divine blocks of Aleppo and Marseille Soaps, made with laurel oil, from just €4, that can be used on hands, hair and body.
Their hampers packed with pesto, mustard, harissa, olives, sardines, Bonito del Norte, and extra virgin olive oil will delight anyone with a kitchen too. If you prefer to shop online, orders over €50 are delivered free of charge.
A stroll around The Glucksman in UCC is the perfect panacea to the hustle and bustle of Christmas in the city, but their gift shop is an absolute gold mine of gorgeous gift ideas.
You’ll find cool candle holders and planters by Cork/Danish brand Concrete Forest, functional, hand-thrown pottery by Arran St East, fun paper modelling kits for kids and beautiful books, note cards and stationery to suit almost anyone.
MOTHER JONES FLEA MARKET
For a gift with real history, take your search to Cork’s Victorian Quarter, where the cosy Mother Jones Flea Market kicks into action at 10am on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Based in Thompson House on York Street, just off McCurtain Street, the market provides a plethora of antique, vintage, and retro clothing, furniture, books, records, household items and creative local crafts. You can grab a bite to eat and a hot chocolate while you browse and there’s often entertainment laid on too.
A spiritual HQ for caffeine fiends, this George’s Quay coffee shop is also the place to stock up on everything coffee related for Christmas.
Obviously you’ll sit for twenty minutes to enjoy a flat white or two yourself, but before you leave, load up on vouchers (brilliant stocking fillers), cute reusable coffee cups, bags of The Golden Bean and Chemex brew gear for under the Christmas tree.
THE VILLAGE HALL
The only place in Cork where you can find a proper hand-knitted vintage Christmas jumper, The Village Hall on St Patrick’s Quay is also a coffee bar and arts venue. Sip a brew while filling your arms with gorgeous coats and dresses from a more stylish era and sifting through their furniture, frames and thick sheepskin rugs for gems.