Origin of the Aran
The aran sweater originated in the islands and fishing villages on the West coast of Ireland. Those who lived on the island made their living from farming and fishing. Outdoor work in this harsh environment created a need for warm protective and practical clothing.

Originally sweaters were knitted using un-scoured wool that retained its natural greases making the garments more waterproof. It was the fisherman's wives who knitted the sweaters, their skills inspired by their husbands work and the Atlantic environment in which they lived.

It is said that the islander can often tell from the patterns used in a genuine aran sweater what family the knitter belongs to. Many patterns have a traditional interpretation often of religious significance. The honeycomb is a reminder of the hard working bee. The cable, an integral part of the fisherman's daily life, is a wish for safety and good luck when fishing. The diamond is a wish of success wealth and treasure. The basket stitch represents the fisherman's basket, a hope for catches abundant.

Stitch designs
The Honeycomb Stitch is a reminder of the hard-working bee.Honey Stitch
The Cable, an integral part of the fisherman's daily life, is a wish for safety and good luck when fishing.Cable Stitch
The Basket Stitch represents the fisherman's basket, a hope for catches abundant.Unable to display image
The Diamond is a wish of success, wealth and treasure.Unable to display image

Around 1860, John O'Shea, a journeyman thatcher is credited with wearing the first true handknit aran jumper ever seen in the parish of Monasterevan. His wife Kate carefully incorporated only authentic traditional aran designs in her famous woollens from then on.

We as inheritors of that tradition, and the oldest manufacturers of Arans in Ireland, proudly carry on the family business at :

Kathleen's Authentic Aran Handknits,
Muckross,
Kilcar,
Co.Donegal,
Ireland.
Phone : +353+74+9738355