Spiddal, shopping, and scones

There are few things that go better together than shopping and cake, and even fewer places that do it so cosily as Standún in Spiddal. As a famous tourist destination for almost 75 years, it is a store steeped in tradition, even though there is nothing old-fashioned about it. It is probably best known for its selection of Aran sweaters, and has an impressive selection of Irish and international fashion labels and giftware too.

Founded in 1946 by May and Mairtin Standún, it has been thriving ever since. The initially tiny shop was originally an all purpose store selling everything from groceries to cement, bedding and bicycles, footwear and furniture — there was even an ice-cream parlour and petrol pumps. Famously known as the home of the Aran sweater, it has become a firm favorite for both tourists and locals. In 1972 May and Mairtin’s son, Donal, took the reins. Now it is run by Cliona and Laragh Standún, the third generation.

It is the ideal place for tourists to pick up souvenirs for the folks back home or something from local designers, from books to Belleek, and tons of other trinkets. I love to have a browse here for quirky little gift ideas and it is the perfect place to find a wedding present. When you are finished all that hard work, there is just the little matter of cake.

The cafe situated in the centre of the store serves delicious home baked food. The tables are covered in smart polka dot oilcloth and the room decorated in shades of blue and cream. Cute Nicholas Mosse clover patterned sugar bowls and milk jugs sit on top and little bouquets of fresh flowers are picked from the garden by Raymonde Standún, Cliona and Laragh's mother. This is a hands-on family.

There is soup with good brown bread, a selection of cake from muffins to carrot cakes to bakewells, biscuits, scones, and cookies. Theres a full range of Lavazza coffees to choose from or simply a nice pot of tea with a Butler's chocolate. The staff are welcoming and very helpful, it is lovely to hear Irish spoken on occasion too. Family run, authentically Irish, and in the heart of Connemara, if you are looking for something unique, this is the place.

Standún, Connemara Coast Road, Spiddal, Co Galway. Phone 091 553108.


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