Check out The Dundalk Democrat's Festive Shopping Challenge

We picked out the best gifts from locally-owned businesses in Dundalk town centre

Tia Clarke

Reporter:

Tia Clarke

Email:

tia.clarke@dundalkdemocrat.ie

IDDT Christmas Shopping

Santa gets 'snowed under' with Christmas presents

Having a meltdown at the thought of Christmas shopping? Does the mere sight of tinsel and baubles make you break out in a cold sweat? Never fear, because the Dundalk Democrat is here with a handy run through of the best Chrimbo gifts Dundalk town centre has to offer.

We love a challenge here so we decided to set ourselves up for a bit of festive fun. Our mission? Find a gift for three budgets: €10, €25 and €50.

We also armed ourselves with a typical list of people you might find yourself trying to buy something for over the next few weeks. We searched for gifts for a co-worker, a mother in law, a young niece or nephew, a foodie friend, book lover and a music obsessive.

And because we think it's important to support local businesses, we thought we'd add an extra dimension to the task – all shops had to be independent, locally-owned businesses.

Without further ado, we present to you The Dundalk Democrat's Local Festive Shopping Challenge.

The first stop on The Dundalk Democrat's list was The Gift and Art Gallery. The mood in this store was frantic. We took this as a good sign as our roving reporters got stuck into their first mission to find a gift suitable gift for a mother in law. In the under €10 category we spotted some festive tree decorations from Newbridge Silverware which would make the perfect stocking filler or addition to a larger gift.

A selection of gifts from The Gift and Art Gallery 

Prices for these decorations range from €9 to just over our budget at €12. Coming up in the €25 range we spotted a Tipperary Crystal gift set in a festive box with two small scented candles and some cute silver tree decorations. And for our €50 budget, we saw a set of six Tipperary Crystal cups and a 44-piece stainless steel Newbridge Silverware cutlery set down from €100 to €40.

Our next task was to find some cute gifts for kids. We popped over to the locally-owned Juniors on Clanbrassil street, armed with the next list. Because we reckon you'd go all out for your nieces and nephews, we set the budget at €50. Staff were more than happy to show us around whilst we picked out some of their best value items. Our top picks were a quirky beret for €35 and a grey woolen polka dot dress with cream tights for €43.90.

We also picked out some dresses which would go down a treat for kids at Christmas – a red tartan dress, with a white polo neck, and cream tights for €47.90 and a pleated bright red dress with a white long-sleeved top and tights also for €47.90. We also picked out a pair of snazzy navy ankle boots for €49 and some cozy hats with fur for €28. And for the boys, we grabbed a cozy red zip up top from Timbaland for €49 and a pair of cream jeans and a printed t-shirt for €33.

In our rush through the town, we also popped into McAteers The Food House, where we eyed-up some treats for the foodie friends on our list. For €7.95 you could nab some delicious chocolates made by Chez Emily and jars of sauces and jams for €5.50 a pop - perfect for our €10 budget.

Over at The Farmers Market at Dundalk town square, we chatted with 'the cheese man' who was bracing the freezing temps to bring cheese to the masses. We eyed up the special offer of 3 kinds of cheese, a jar of chutney and breadsticks for €10. The farmers market will be at the square every Friday in the run-up to Christmas. Beside the cheese stall, there's also some boozy chocolates for €8 a pop and some homemade jams by local man Cecilie for €4.50 a jar. 

In our novelty 'office co-worker that you don't really know but have to get a kris kindle present for' category, we went for fail-safe Dundalk-themed t-shirts. Grab a t-shirt or long-sleeved top that announces your co-workers devotion to Dundalk proudly. The best bit? These hilarious tees are only €10. They are available from the newsagents on Park Street, next door to Roe River Books.

Over at Classified Records on The Demense, we chatted with Neil Waters, owner of Classified Records. Passionate about his tunes and obscure imports, Neil runs a tight ship and reckoned we could get some value for our €25 budget. Whether you're a music aficionado, or you just want to pick up a cool record to impress someone special, owner Neil will help you pick up some choice cuts.

The shop does a great mix of second-hand records, which start at just €1 a pop. There are also some special offers where you can nab specially-selected second-hand records for €6 or 4 for €20. Result! If there's a record you're dying to have in your collection Classified Records also do imports.

The final stop in The Dundalk Democrat's Shop local challenge was an independent bookshop, Roe River Books on Park Street, where we chatted with Tom Muckian about the best gifts for the bookworms on your Christmas shopping list. Tom took us on a whistle-stop tour around the well-stocked shop and picked out some books with a local slant. The Irish Historic Towns Atlas, priced at €32.70, is a beautiful collection of detailed historical maps from the Dundalk area compiled by local historian Harold O'Sullivan.

Science and the City, €12, will go down a treat with curious minds. Written by local author Laurie Winkless, the book examines the mechanics behind how cities work. And Retired, €12, by local comedian Alan Gernon, explores what happens to footballers after they retire. For those looking to push the boat out and get something really special, we recommend checking out Atlas of the Irish Revolution, €59.

That's a wrap for our 2017 Christmas blitz of 'the town'. We hope we've inspired you to help to support Dundalk businesses by shopping locally and given you some great gift ideas so you're not left running around like a lunatic on Christmas Eve. Still can't decide what to get for your nearest and dearest this Christmas? Shop Local Vouchers, which can be spent in over 270 shops across Dundalk, are another safe bet. Visit www.shoplocal.dundalk.ie