An Irish knitwear designer from Cork has created the latest trend in canine fashion — handmade Aran sweaters!

Ursula McGrath, who designed knitwear for humans for 27 years, set up her business Irish Dog Designs after the company she worked for shuttered.

“I don’t know how the idea came into my head to design handmade Aran knitwear for dogs, but I think it’s that I love dogs and I love everything crafty,” McGrath told EchoLive.ie.

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How cute is this! Perfect on a cold day like today

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McGrath’s beautiful Irish Aran sweaters and hats for dogs had been set to feature at New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in March 2020 (which was sadly cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic),

"Last summer, I designed and made a selection of knitted dog coats to test demand and had my sister Kate, sell them in the U.S. They sold easily, and more importantly the reaction was very encouraging,” she said.

“I got a good reaction when I used Instagram to ask people in New York if they would like to order a sweater for their dog for the Patrick’s Day Parade."

McGrath tries to source everything for her business as close to home as possible. Her motto is: “Make it Irish, make it local, and make it personal.”

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"I have a group of home knitters that I worked with in Tivoli Spinners and each of the Aran jumpers and hats are made by these local women in Ballinlough, Blarney, The Lough and around the city."

Irish American dog owners are McGrath’s target market, but she believes there could be a market among small-dog owners in Ireland’s cities.

Read More: The real deal Aran sweaters in the middle of Galway city

McGrath, who lives in a cottage on the outskirts of Monkstown with her husband Barry and sons Padraig and Liam, has two dogs of her own.

“The minute my two dogs are outside the door, they’re in the water and mud, chasing chickens. The knitwear mightn’t always be suitable for country dogs, even if it is machine washable,” she laughs.

While she's yet to be featured in the New York St. Patrick's Day parade we're pretty sure the Irish American market is the perfect one for McGrath!

McGrath’s Irish Aran knitwear for dogs can be found online at www.irishdogdesigns.com.

* Originally published on Mar 1, 2020.

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