As the last posting day is drawing closer, and shops are starting to fill to bursting with last-minute shoppers, the pressure is on to buy THE PERFECT GIFT. While some people have been prepared since August (I am DEFINITELY not in that category), some of us have gone against our resolutions to be more organized in 2017 and are faced with finding the perfect gift in a short amount of time. As lovely as online shopping is, the chances of things getting here on time and in one piece diminish over the festive season, so sometimes brick and mortar shops are the only options left. While Cork City is full of the regular high street shops (Debenhams, H&M, New Look), it’s also home to some wonderful homegrown small shops with thoughtful gifts you’ll not find elsewhere. Here’s a look at 8 of the loveliest spots to pick up thoughtful gifts in Cork City this festive season.
Cork Flower Studio
While home to some of the most beautiful flower arrangements I’ve seen, Cork Flower Studio is so much more than just another florist. Alongside the festive bouquets and arrangements, they’ve got a stash of beautiful gifts for every taste. Whether it’s a thoughtful greeting card, or a stunning piece of jewelry, or even a Cork-themed print, they’ve got you covered. Stocking companies like McGonigle Glass Studio, Bia Beauty, La Bougie, Little Green Dot and many more, there’s something for every taste. Grab yourself one of their fab coffees (or a hot chocolate, of which E is a MAJOR fan) while you browse. If you are looking to order flowers, you CAN do it online but I’d definitely get in early! They’ve got stores in Carrigaline and on Douglas St in Cork City.
Vibes and Scribes
If you’ve been in Cork for any length of time at all, you’re more than likely aware of the existence of Vibes and Scribes. For readers or crafters alike, the name is synonymous with a wonderful shop (or two) that you can lose yourself in time and again. The bookshop, on Lavitt’s Quay, is technically split into two; the pre-loved books and the new books. In both, you can find gems, with selections any book lover, or even novelty gift lover will love to see under their tree. The craft and wool shop on Bridge Street contains everything the arty person in your life could ever want for Christmas. From books to tools of the trade, to beautiful items to craft your own gifts, you won’t leave empty-handed.
Right next store to Vibes and Scribes on Bridge St is one of my favorite drop-ins for gifts that you don’t really see other places. Unbound (which also has a store in Killarney) prides themselves on specializing “in gifts that are quirky, fun, light-hearted and unique”. From mugs that you’ll love to give (and covet for yourself) from companies like Sass & Belle, or Bombay Duck, to home decorations or stationery from brands like Kate Spade or Disaster Designs, they’ll fill your gift bag with happiness this Christmas, and at a price that won’t make your purse cry. I’ve also found them to be a brilliant place to get different religious-themed gifts for relatives, so if you’re looking for gifts that recognize the religious significance of the season, it’s a great place to start. (You can also shop online here if you’re stuck!)
While houses may be full of singing plastic this year, there is definitely a charm to the wooden toys and old style fun that can be found in traditional toy shops. Give Smyths a miss for something a little more special on Paul Street. Pinocchio’s was opened in 1983. It is still a family business and maintains the original ethos stocking toys of good quality, ethically produced and designed to make people of all ages think while they play. Mostly produced in wood, they like to have toys that can be passed down for generations and generations. If you’re looking for dollhouse pieces, hobby horses or simply toys from years gone by, they’ll have something wonderful in stock for you.
For the chocolate lover in your life, you can’t go wrong with a trip to O Conaill’s in search of a Christmas treat. Since I moved to Cork 8 years ago, I’ve been a huge fan of O Conaill’s and their deliciously rich hot chocolate (and perhaps an odd treat). While mine is definitely a Milk and White, they cater to all tastes and have some brilliant gift sets to bring the magic of Cork chocolate to those further afield. For the hot chocolate fans, they’ve got beautiful different mixtures of chocolate flakes and chocolate spoons for making real hot chocolate. For bakers who like to add a little chocolate to their produce, or fans of chocolate fountains, they’ve got delicious chocolate drops perfect for melting. And for those of us who simply love a chocolatey treat over the holidays; they’ve got plenty of choice. From chocolate hurleys to Santas, and different Cork themed pieces, they’ve got a huge variety for every chocolate lover. If you’re looking for a hamper, they’ve got them and will make them up to order too. Take a look at their website or drop into their stores on French Church St, Princes St or at their Chocolate Factory in Carrigaline.
If you’re looking for a smell sensation while you shop, you really can’t beat walking into Mahers on Oliver Plunkett St. Open since 1991, Mahers Coffee serves both retail and wholesale customers with their huge variety of beans and coffee making accessories. From the beginner to the coffee expert, they’ve got you covered. I’ve managed to convert a few friends to Mahers Beans while they were visiting and they’ve come back (or purchased online) since! It’s not just about the beans though, they’ve got the accessories like keep cups, coffee grinders, and filters. Put together a package for the coffee-lover in your life, or treat them to a selection of beans.
Cork Coffee Roasters
For the coffee lover in your life, Cork Coffee Roasters have a few gift options they will love this year. From their range of coffee beans which smell and taste incredible, to merchandise with their branding on there or coffee-brewing equipment, they’ve got something for everyone. And for the person who is a coffee enthusiast who wants to learn more, they also offer barista training classes – contact them here to find out more.
Wild Design Collective
A new addition to the Cork market, Wild Design Collective opened up in Paul Street Shopping centre less than three months ago. Since then, they’ve provided the shoppers of Cork with a mixture of beautiful delicate crafts, unique artwork and the best of Irish design. From leather bound journals for the writer in your life, to jewelry and home decor for Instagram-worthy pics, they have it all. Grab something unique for the person who has everything when you’re in grabbing your milk in Tesco! Check them out on Facebook or drop by their store.
So, there you go. If you’re looking for perfect gifts in Cork City, away from the high street bits they’ll have seen already, here are 8 spots you simply can’t afford to miss. Are there any you can think of that belong on this list, or have you discovered something new? Let me know in the comments below!
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