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About- Aran Sweater Market

Three Centuries Of Heritage & Tradition


The Original Aran Sweater Market on the Aran Islands, Ireland over the years

With a long history in the craft industry, the Aran Sweater Market had a vision to provide quality Aran Sweaters that would stay true to the original product. Through a combined passion for craft, a keen eye for quality and an ambition to celebrate the long and fascinating heritage of Aran®, the Aran Sweater Market was born.

The Aran Sweater Market has grown from being a cornerstone of the small Island community of Inis Mor, to one of the country’s leading suppliers of Authentic Aran Knitwear. With markets now in Dublin city centre, Killarney & Galway city as well as the Aran Islands, we work with only the best of Irish suppliers and designers, to bring the beauty of real authentic Aran knitwear to a global audience.

Our Heritage, Our Home


woman-big-wheel-cottage.jpgEarly Spinning Wheel c.1870

Aran Sweater Market, Ireland - Our History, Our Home

We regard the Aran Sweater as an eternal symbol of the Islands, its long history, unique culture and time honoured traditions. We believe the beauty of the Islands lies in its ability to remain independent from that of modern ways on the mainland.



About Aran Sweater Market, Ireland

We are driven by a shared passion for the history of the Aran Sweater and see it as our duty to keep the story, beauty and true essence of the sweater and the spirit of the Islands alive. We love to pay homage to our roots through our precious sweaters as well as our brand. We truly believe that buying a sweater is much more than a weather protector or a nod to current fashion statements, but rather an investment in one’s ancestry, a memento of your time in Ireland or a wistful reminder of a magical place yet to be explored.

Here we take you through the journey of the Aran garment from its humble birthplace right through to its now global fashion status.


The Birthplace of Aran

The Aran Islands, off the coast of Galway in western Ireland, is a place of wild and rugged beauty, rich in antiquities and prehistoric Celtic remains.

The Islands have long since been a source of creativity for all who encounter its rugged shoreline. It is also famed for its people of courageous heart and resourceful nature, who fought so hard to find life on land which was never supposed to be inhabited. For centuries, the Islanders have lived by working the land, farming, fishing, harvesting and of course by knitting the famous banín sweaters that have made them famous throughout the world today.


Aran Islands - the birthplace of Irish Aran Sweaters


The Coming of the Celts: 500BC

While the exact origins of the Aran Sweater are lost in history, the intricate and unique designs were thought to be inspired by the Celts, who arrived on the shores of Aran around 2000BC and whose design influence and ancient relics are still very much a part of today's rugged Aran landscape.

The strong graphical relationship between Celtic design and Aran patterns can be seen clearly in Celtic stones, crosses and Celtic jewellery. By the first century AD, the very first heavy Aran garments such as blankets where being produced on the Islands using primitive needles.

Heritage of Aran Sweater - Aran Islands, Ireland


Religious Roots

Ancient History of Aran Patterns & Aran Sweaters

By the 8th century, Christianity was widespread on the Island and Christian manuscripts such as the famous Book of Kells make references to elaborately designed garments similar to the Aran Sweater.

Many Aran stitches hold spiritual meaning such as Jacob's Ladder which represents how the Islands worked together, the Tree of Life signifying the Clans and families of the Islands as well as the Holy Trinity Stitch, a design originating from Celtic Art.

It was also thought that the Fishermen of the Islands started wearing the Sweaters as a religious garment, in the hopes it would protect them from the dangers of the perilous Atlantic seas.


Stitches In Time

Throughout the years, the Islanders started to develop a range of other Aran stitches inspired by life on the Islands. One of the most popular Aran stitches, the Irish Moss stitch, represents the type of Carrageen Moss found on the cliffs of the Islands which the Islanders often gathered as a source of food.


Aran Stitches & Aran Patterns - stitches in time

The diamond stitch is also a popular stitch said to represent the enclosed stone walls which were built to divide the lands of different ruling clans and which today remain a distinguished feature unique to the islands and Western Ireland.


Meaning of Aran Patterns - Aran Islands Stone Walls


Irish Aran Fisherman Sweaters - steeped in our island history

Stitches such as the Cable & Trellis were said to symbolise the ropes of the Fishermen who risked their lives on the Atlantic Seas.

As the craft developed, more meaningful stitches and patterns emerged, influenced by the Aran design with each Clan or family inheriting a combination of their very own stitches and patterns.



The Beginning of a Global Industry

By the 19th Century, knitting was well established on the Islands as a source of income. It was around this time that the British Government set up the Congestive Districts Board to look after the welfare of the Islanders and established knitting as a commercially viable Industry. And so began the long and laborious process of producing a perfectly handmade Aran garment, paving the way for what was to become a global industry.


Aran Knitwear, Ireland - styled through the ages


An Honoured Fashion Treasure

The Aran Sweater has become a growing symbol for Ireland as well as the Aran Islands. Gaining widespread popularity in Vogue Magazine in 1956, it has since graced the catwalk of many famous Fashion Icons, such as John Paul Galtier and Kenzo. 

The timeless fashion garment continues to be adopted by highstreet brands and fashion houses alike, as the intricate stitches, magical history and beauty of the original still to this day, captures the hearts and minds of people the world over. 

Irish Aran Sweater - An Honoured Fashion Treasure


You can also visit our sister website, Weavers of Ireland where we pay homage to the ancient craft of weaving and where you'll find a large selection of Irish tweed and Irish wool woven products