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Aran Sweaters - Quintessentially Irish

Aran is a style of sweater that takes its name from the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland. Often known as a Fisherman sweater, they are distinguished by their use of complex textured stitch patterns, several of which are combined in the creation of a single garment. Originally, Aran Sweaters were knitted using unscoured wool that retained its natural oils which made the garments water-resistant and meant they remained wearable even when wet. However, today most Aran Cardigans & Sweaters are knit with a softer yarn called Merino in the natural báinín (bawneen) colour and in other colours reflective of the Irish countryside.

Each Aran sweater exudes history and every stitch pattern has a traditional interpretation and distinctive story, often of religious significance, but mostly of life’s experience and journey:

For example, the honeycomb is a symbol of the hard-working bee. The cable, an integral part of the fisherman’s daily life, is said to be a wish for safety and good luck when fishing. The diamond stitch is a wish of success, wealth and treasure, while the basket stitch represents the fisherman’s basket, a hope for a plentiful catch. Most knitting patterns were never written down but passed down from generation to generation using up to 24 different aran stitches with infinite combinations. 

History of the Aran Sweater

View the full history of the Aran Sweater and the meaning behind the stitches on Aran Sweaters by clicking here.

The Story of the Aran Sweater

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