The severe weather in the eastern half of the United States has us all thinking about staying warm, preferably without looking like a certain rather bulky tire company mascot. While Ireland doesn’t get prolonged spells of sub-zero temperatures, at least not in Fahrenheit, the climate is relentlessly cold and wet during the winter, making the Irish experts on keeping warm. One of most popular winter accessories in Ireland is the traditional flat tweed cap. Irish men of all ages can be seen sporting these stylish and lightweight caps in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Kerry and every town and village on the island. In winter, hats are important. More than three quarters of the heat lost from your body is lost through your head, so a good hat is a bit like good attic insulation… but much better looking!
The traditional Irish tweed flat cap comes in two main varieties with nearly infinite variations to flatter anyone and everyone. Shoppers looking for seasonal Irish gifts or for a stylish way to stay warm can chose a flat cap in huge range of tweeds in different weaves and softer, muted colors or a brighter cap in patchwork tweed. The patchwork tweed caps feature a variety of different colored squares of tweed stitched together in rows. Some Irish caps use strips of different tweeds for a look somewhere between the patchwork and one tweed options. Tweed comes in great selection of colors. The fabric styles include herringbone tweed, salt and pepper tweed, heather tweed, and even plaids such as the famous blackwatch plaid. Tweed caps come in kids’ sizes too, so they make good Irish gifts for children.
County Donegal is world famous for producing high quality tweed caps, jackets and more. Donegal tweed is loved and respected in every county in Ireland and indeed all around the world. For centuries, tweed combined everything the area was known for – sheep, the various plants such as fuchsia, moss and various berries used to dye the cloth, and human creativity. Today, Irish tweed caps not only look great but symbolize a respect for that heritage.
Either style is practical for cold, wet and windy weather. The traditional Irish tweed cap is not as vulnerable to being swept off by a gust of wind as most other hats because it is small, snug-fitting and brimless. And the high-quality tweed used resists rain and helps prevent heat from escaping your body. Tweed is made of wool, nature’s most perfect material to protect from damp and cold. But for most people, the appeal of caps for themselves or as Irish gifts is their appearance. They are quintessentially Irish but also understated. They look equally great with an Aran sweater or a trench coat.
Whether you are looking for great ideas for Irish gifts or a stylish winter hat for yourself, Donegal tweed caps are ideal. They are durable and resilient, while also being versatile enough to be worn with nearly anything.