Help Identify World-Class Providers of Products and Services That Support Irish Heritage

A chairde, we're interested in getting and sharing recommendations for outstanding products and services that support our collective exploration and celebration of the epic heritage of the Irish worldwide.

These would include books -- fiction and nonfiction -- as either downloads, hardcover or softcover; movies, shows and other video-based broadcasts (DVDs); music (mp3 and CDs); performances, e.g., dance, music, theater; handcrafted goods, such as jewelry, wood work, furniture; publications; websites; photographs; events such as exhibits and sporting matches; travel providers; tour providers; tourist destinations; tourism accommodations, more.

We think our community's mission -- to explore and celebrate the epic heritage of the Irish ... worldwide is best served by affirming critiques. We want to accentuate the positive and support vendors who we all feel are offering valued products and services to us. Highlighting the best providers might provide incentives to those not highlighted to upgrade their offerings.

These will allow us to identify the best vendors in the Irish heritage space; provide us leads as we seek to expand our roster of Heritage Partners (sponsors); and provide additional (and much needed) income as we now can earn a commission from most purchases made via links you provide here in the comments below.

Go raibh míle maith agaibh!

Your fellow members on The Wild Geese Team

Tags: Arts, Marketplace

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My wife and our friend spent a few days down in Kerry recently, and one of those days was spent along the Ring of Kerry. Having seen products from Skelligs Chocolate in finer food shops around Ireland, I wanted to make a stop by their factory in Ballinskelligs ... which we did.

I was impressed with their brand new facility, which features an open floor plan. This means you walk in and see / smell the chocolates being made right in front of you. A very helpful employee invites you over to the counter and takes you through a brief sampling course of some of their more popular products -- truffles and barks of exciting flavour combinations. They're happy to answer any questions you may have about the process.

When you're done with that, you can do some shopping to choose the chocolate you want to take home as gifts for friends / family / yourself. Be sure to save some room for heading just a few steps over to the café where you can choose from coffees, teas, or a selection of wonderfully rich hot chocolates. And if you really want to over-do it -- and who doesn't when you're in a place like this -- spring for a piece of the fudge cake or apple cake. Seriously good stuff.

Ireland is quickly becoming a major player in artisan chocolate, and Skelligs Chocolate is certainly part of this movement.

If you're in Ireland, don't skip County Kerry. If you're in County Kerry, don't skip the Ring of Kerry (a.k.a. Iveragh Peninsula). And if you're on the Ring of Kerry, do not skip Skelligs Chocolate.

And don't forget to tell them The Wild Geese sent you!

Skelligs Chocolate on Facebook

This chocolate factory looked like something straight out of the Roald Dahl book!  There were no oompa-loompas, but there were lovely ladies pulling colorful levers to pour liquid chocolate into the shape of ladies' high-heeled shoes!  Everything was delicious.  I especially recommend the dark chocolate mint brickle!

For me, the factory reminded me of the Chocolate Factory in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang... and now I have "Toot Sweet" running through my head!

I thumbs up all chocolate brands in general! :)

I haven't been down there but I have certainly sampled plenty of their chocolate and it's delicious!

Can't speak to the bona fides of this offer, so buyer beware. It seems useful though in gauging the marketplace!

Can't praise highly enough the work being done by Long Island City's New York Irish Center. Without fail, this relative cultural newcomer to the New York Irish scene warmly greets each individual that walks through the door. The few paid staffers, plus enthusiastic volunteers, all led by fellow WG member and Executive Director Paul Finnegan, seem to wholeheartedly embrace the words of William Butler Yeats: "There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven't yet met.” I have rediscovered there the same sense I had when I traveled through Ireland as a student 40 years ago, that I was part of an extended parish family.

On Friday I saw there, along with dozens of others, a screening of Ed Burns' 1995 film "The Brothers McMullen," a classic exploration of the Irish-American experience. Incredibly, in this day and age, the center provided filmgoers popcorn and boxes of candy for free down in its lower-level cafe, along with pastries, tea and coffee. The only things they charged for other than the film ($11) was the wine and beer and stout.

When you are in New York, whether as a visitor or a native, and perhaps feeling a bit unloved and unloveable, I implore you, visit your new friends at New York Irish Center, and say The Wild Geese sent you!

for all the same reasons, visit the "milwaukee irishfest center" if you're ever in town

Bill, can you perhaps outline your experiences at the Milwaukee IrishFest Center? Would love to hear more about it, and to drop by.


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