When it comes to souvenirs, there’s a good bit of funny stuff, a fair amount of okay stuff, and a huge amount of, “er, I can’t believe I brought THAT all the way home with me” stuff. Just like Pisa has its glittery Leaning Towers, and Sydney has its snow globe Opera Houses, Ireland has its jolly green leprechauns.
But if you want to bring home something that reflects the REAL island of Ireland, then check out our crafts and designs.
A craft renaissance
Around the island, new design brands and fashion trailblazers are shaking things up with exquisite ceramics, quirky textiles, innovative glasswork, beautiful cashmeres and crisp linens, and the word is spreading.
“On an international scale, Irish design and craft is being recognised as a top source for carefully made, thoughtful, considered work,” says Jonathan Legge of Irish-design focused Makers & Brothers, based in south County Dublin.
And as requests for Irish design jump high onto wish lists around the world, there has never been a better time to get your hands on a superbly crafted piece imbued with tradition, skill and – naturally – plenty of personality.
And, okay, if you really want to, stuff that miniature fluffy leprechaun into the hand luggage…
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VAT refund scheme for non-EU visitors
Visitors to Ireland who live outside of the EU are entitled to claim back a portion of the VAT on purchases made during their stay. Most retailers participate in the VAT refund scheme and you can ask for a VAT refund form in the store once your purchase has been completed. You must fill the form out fully, making sure to include a credit card number to facilitate the refund. The goods must be exported outside of the EU within three months following the month of purchase and typically, it will take between four to six weeks to receive your refund from the refund agent.
Alternatively, you can claim your refund in cash through Tax Free Worldwide and Carroll's Irish Gifts at three refund points in Dublin – 57/58 Upper O’Connell St, Ballast House, Westmoreland St and 22/23 Suffolk St and one in Cork, at 10 St Patrick St.
If the purchase value of any one item on your VAT refund form is €2,000 or above, you will need to present your form, goods receipt and the item to Customs at your point of exit for a validation stamp. There are two main refund agents in Ireland, Tax Free Worldwide and Fexco and you can visit their websites for more information on how to shop tax free.