Shop Local Kildare - Experience Gifts for Christmas
And because I love Kildare and shopping locally is of huge benefit to your own area, I am focusing this post on Kildare experiences. I threw the question out to people and looked for some suggestions and I got so many great ones that I don't think I can fit them all in but here are some fantastic options.
First up are the foodie ones - Kalbarri Cookery School is based in Kilcullen, and Siobhan and her team do a whole range of cookery courses for all ages and abilities, including baking birthday parties. This is a great idea for anyone who wants to improve their cookery skills whilst having a fun night out. You can purchase vouchers from Kalbarri - kids classes will resume in January on Monday evenings between 4-6 p.m. and the teens and young adult classes will also be back on in January as well as a vegetarian cookery demonstration.
Another option for a course is the barista course run by PS Coffee Roasters in their Clane Roastery - priced at €135.00, it's a great introduction to the story of coffee and how to do latte art, as well as how to use and clean the coffee machine. They also offer a coffee subscription service which would be just perfect for the coffee lover in your life, especially as they have recently introduced compostable packaging for their coffees. The subscription service has different options in terms of length and what type of grind you want and the coffee is delivered by courier once a month.
I also have to mention Crean's Place in Kilcullen, not only is it one of my favourite places to eat, it has had a zero waste ethos from the moment it opened - from sourcing local food and in house baking, to removing disposable coffee cups from the restaurant, they are really ahead of the game in terms of sustainable policy. You can buy a voucher from them at varying prices - dinner is gorgeous and I love their brunch options and being newly plant based, I'm delighted that they have vegan options also, even down to offering a vegan option for their new supper club. The supper club is just €25 p.p. for a 3 course meal (with a minimum of 4 guests) and byob with no corkage. It's a wonderful place to eat with a great atmosphere, so this is a present any food lover would appreciate.
Moving away from food, a great idea for anyone with an interest in photography is one of Conor Williams' Photography Courses. I have done two of these myself and can highly recommend them. I went from knowing nothing at all about my camera, to being able to use it properly and knowing a little about perspective and lighting and composition. The atmosphere is very relaxed, Conor is a great teacher and there is lots of individual attention.
Another hobby idea is to treat someone to one of the classes at Florence & Milly in Clane. There is an upcycling 'make your own wreath'class as well as a Christmas Pottery workshop coming up and loads of regular events for kids and teens.
Based in Straffan and Celbridge, the Craft Corner offers classes for all ages including sewing as well as general arts and crafts.
For a more outdoorsy idea, you could gift someone a barge trip - we have done the Bargetrip.ie cruise and it was just the most relaxing way to spend some time. There is a sense almost of being removed from the world even though you are right beside it. They have lots of voucher options and set out from the canal in Sallins.
From North Kildare, you can pick the Royal Canal Boat Trips option, with 3 hour private charters for up to 12 people. I haven't done this but it looks fab and was recommended by a friend!
Another outdoors type gift would be something from Abbeyfield Farm - you can buy vouchers for archery, clay pigeon shooting or horse riding and all levels of experience are catered for so it could be a chance to try something new.
Although there are lots more options, I've tried to give a balance of different ideas and kept the focus to Kildare so hopefully you will find some inspiration here :) Don't forget to read my first ethical christmas post about how you can benefit wildlife organisations - Saving Two Birds With One Gift
Some other posts you might be interested in:
Trip on a Barge
Trip to Derryounce Lakes