The coronavirus pandemic has taken the world by storm, changing our day-to-day plans and awakening us to the awareness of what is truly important. We are forced to innovate to find ways to maintain our interactions and connections, and some would argue that this global situation will ultimately have the effect of strengthening our ties to others.
So many businesses have been affected by this unprecedented situation, with mom-and-pop shops and large corporations alike subject to local, county, and state regulations regarding safe operations. Additionally, many businesses are showing resiliency in how they operate, as well as compassion in how they treat their workers and the general public.
With COVID-19 making its presence strongly felt in Europe and North America in early-to mid-March of this year, the Irish in these areas were disappointed to see the cancellation or postponement of many St. Patrick’s Day parades and other events celebrating Irish heritage. While these changes were certainly necessary and made with willing generosity of spirit, they have had a particularly strong effect on businesses that patrons frequent during what revelers refer to as St. Patrick’s Month.
Local Irish stores in North America typically see a boom in business in March. This year, there was only a very short, modest boom. Additionally, many Irish stores offer products that are very popular for Easter, First Communions, and Mother’s Day, and so their sales could suffer during these seasons, as well.
Fortunately, following in the tradition of their forebears, Irish store owners don’t take setbacks lying down! As anyone who has visited a locally-owned-and-operated Irish store knows, the Irish store is the beating heart of any Irish community abroad. Shop owners take their responsibility seriously: they are purveyors not only of a product but of a connection to heritage. Those who work at Irish stores spend countless hours cultivating their inventory and their relationships with Irish craftspeople, whose creative stories they share with those who visit their stores. Irish stores frequently host and sponsor events in their local communities to provide a forum for learning about and celebrating Irish culture.
If you are inclined to support local Irish stores to help them weather this storm—and, through them, support Irish craftspeople and makers—now is the perfect time! Help your local Irish store continue doing what it does best: serving as an outpost of Irish culture in your area. This interactive, searchable directory of Celtic stores will help you locate your nearest Irish store. You might find that the shop offers curbside pickup, local delivery, online shopping, and community-building opportunities that will help you strengthen that all-important connection to home.
When we all come out of this crisis, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we felt more closely connected with family, friends, and heritage than we did before? Irish shop owners are on the front lines of forging these connections. Why don’t you join them?
Contributed by Maura Grace Harrington Logue, PhD
Find the nearest NACTA Irish & Celtic Store to you across the USA and Canada on IrishCentral's store locator.
Support the great NACTA Irish / Celtic Stores below, for the best collections of jewelry from Boru, Celtic Knot Works, and Solvar; clothing from Mucros Weavers, Lee Valley Ireland and Guinness; and IRELAND brand clothing from the James Trading Group. Each has an online presence as well.
141-143 Main Street Annapolis, MD 21401
534 Main Street, Bethlehem, PA 18018
Faith & Begorra
40 Broadway, Denville, NJ 07834
(The) Danu Gallery
39 E. Central Avenue, Pearl River, NY 10965
Celtic Aer Gift Shop
1451 Strawberry Rd., Mohegan Lake, NY 10547
Tipperary Importers / Basic Irish Luxury
Tipperary, 3956 State Highway 2, Brunswick NY 12180
Tipperary, 22 Clifton Country Rd, Clifton Park NY 12065
Basic Irish Luxury, 127 Swinburne Row On Thames Street Newport RI 02840
456 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
The Celtic Ranch
404 Main Street, Weston, MO 64098
113 South Upper Street, Lexington, KY 40507
O’Meara's Irish House
3970 Highway 42, Fish Creek, WI 54212