Photo by Salt Water New England

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Clan Aran Sweater

The traditional Aran Sweater (Irish Fisherman's Sweater) is a staple item for anyone who enjoys the New England outdoors.  Thick, warm, soft, infinitely versatile, and incredibly good looking, these classic garments also have that unique drape with patterns that look almost chiseled in 

This Aran Sweater Market's Clan sweater had been 100% knitted by hand in Ireland, with knitting needles and 100% non-itchy merino wool, although currently available sweaters have a greater variety of sources.

This sweater, that was sent by the Aran Sweater Market, has a chest garment measurement of 42 inches.  
"On the Aran islands, sweater patterns were zealously guarded, kept within the same clan throughout generations. These Aran sweaters were often used to help identify bodies of fishermen washed up on the beach following an accident at sea."

When ordering a clan sweater, one chooses the pattern of the sweater as well.  If people have multiple possible clans in their heritage, they can select some combination of the most meaningful clan association with the sweater pattern that appeals to them the most.  And many, of course, have no clan association at all and simply choose their favorite pattern.

Each sweater also comes with a bit of additional clan information, which is especially appreciated if the sweater is a gift.

A Most Authentic Garment


  1. I love this style of sweater. Timeless and fashionable, I remember it as something my father would wear during the winter months in Connecticut where I grew up. They are also reasonably priced, and I am definitely going to buy one.

  2. Gorgeous! I've said it before and I'll say it again-there is NOTHING like Irish wool, my favorite by far. I have a drawer full to prove it. Thanks for your reviews on this company, I definitely will have to try them when I need (or should say want) another sweater. They wear like iron so it might be a while ;)

  3. I ordered the kit to knit my family aran sweater. I agree the prices while not cheap are very good for the goods. I have not knit it up yet, hope to soon.

  4. Beautiful sweater!!! I do think that you have to be thin for such a bulky sweater to be flattering.

  5. I did not know sweaters of this quality were still available. Thank you for the heads up.

  6. These are unquestionably the best hand-knit Irish Fisherman sweaters anywhere.

    Having dealt with them for years (I currently own a Barrett and a Hennessy), I feel qualified to give a testimonial as to their quality, durability, beauty and outstanding workmanship. They are works of art. How anyone could knit such intricate patterns without going mad is still beyond me.

    A cheapskate’s caveat: the Free Express shipping applies to the purchase of two items with the second one free. Even so, the sweaters are still a bargain.

    As they advertise, with care, these terrific Clan sweaters will last a lifetime.

  7. This is a wardrobe classic, along with a blue OCBD, an LBD, a white blouse, khakis and a flannel tartan shirt.

    Agree with Binker, though. I may be too zaftig for this sweater.

  8. Beautiful! Looks great on you Muffy!
    I will finally have to order myself one of these. Have wanted one for awhile and now with your link I will do it! Now which to choose? :-)

  9. I have one which I value. The challenge here in the Pacific NW is having a day cold enough to wear it.

    Vancouver WA

  10. Great sweater, Muffy! The designs in the knit are so defined and crisp, unlike the "wannabes" you can purchase much cheaper. My husband had advised me just the other day, "No more sweaters, please!" --Holly in PA


  11. ''The Irish language, music and art is related to ancient Iberian, Mediterranean and North African culture, in particular the indigenous Berbers of North Africa.''

    I just found this most interesting documentary, titled '' Bob Quinn's Atlantean'', on Youtube.
    I would like to share it here, since the Aran Islands are located on the west coast of Ireland, off the coast of Connemara.

    Video Link:

    ''Atlantean is a quartet of documentary films and accompanying book (The Atlantean Irish, Lilliput, 2005) by Irish film maker Bob Quinn. [1] The films and book dismissed as myth the popular belief in "Celtic" origins of the inhabitants of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Asturias, Brittany and Galicia/ Portugal, Asturias, Cantabria and proposed instead that they are part of a common 'Atlantean' culture that includes the western seaboard of Europe and North Africa.

    Quinn focused on various traditional aspects of Irish culture and argued for their non-Celtic nature. One aspect he stressed is the role of sailing in Connemara society, where his films were made, Quinn investigated the history of the Atlantic sea lanes from the Baltic Sea and the British Isles as far south as the Mediterranean and North Africa. Quinn suggested that Ireland's first inhabitants came by boat sometime after the end of the last ice age – probably from the warmer, more populous south. As navigation gave rise to coastal settlement over long periods of time, overseas trade and cultural exchanges continued until at least the North African pirates of the 17th century. These connections can be seen in ship building styles and sailing techniques, for example in similarities between the Galway Púcán and the Arab Dhow.'' -

  12. I like the look of the Aran sweater on others, but prefer either cashmere or ribbed knit style for myself.

  13. @Suburban prep - would you mind giving a review of the kit when you knit it? I'm sorely tempted!

  14. I would love to have one of these sweaters that actually came from Ireland.

    I believe this is a very old Irish poem:

    Ich am from Ireland
    and the Holy land of Ireland
    good sire prayeth thee
    for of saint charity
    come and dance with me
    in Ireland.


  15. I was just discussing the history of the stitch patterns with my MIL. I need to find the time to knit my own!