The Aran Islands lie off the west coast of Ireland, a reminder of the ancient society that modern Ireland has left behind. Stone walls divide property and grazing grounds. Irish is still the most commonly spoken language on the islands. The boat ride from the mainland to Inis Mor, the largest of the islands, will test the most sturdy stomachs, and serves as a reminder of the wet and windy conditions local fishermen face to make their living.
Inis Meain, the name of the second biggest island, means “middle island” in Irish. Unlike Inis Mor, which hosts boatloads of tourists in the summer, Inis Meain is usually visited only for day trips. These visitors stay for long enough to hike out to Dun Conchoir, the pre-Christian stone fort, and to watch the cauldron of the ocean rage a hundred feet below the sheer cliffs.
Only about two hundred people live on Inis Meain. These people are survivors - of harsh weather, of isolation, of modernity. One of the many survival skills they mastered is knitting. It’s this skill that the knitwear company Inis Meain draws on in their sweaters. Former Celtic scholar Talrach di Blacam founded the company with his wife with to protect and expand this Aran tradition. Each sweater is produced on the island. Many are inspired directly by traditional designs, cable knits winding and crossing over each other like the stone walls that divide Inis Meain.
Some brands are distinguished by their history of catering to Hollywood, Wall Street, or Buckingham Palace. We are proud to carry a brand with what is in many ways a more dignified pedigree - Inis Meain, heir to the knitting tradition that has warmed centuries of Irish fishermen.