Launch of groundbreaking ‘Irish Hands’ e-commerce platform

News | May 29, 2024

by Anne Marie McLaughlin, ii Innovation Manager.

Exciting new platform promotes Inishowen & North West as the home of Irish arts, crafts & creative making

The ii – inishowen innovation – digital hub in Buncrana is delighted to announce a launch event for “Irish Hands”, a groundbreaking new e-commerce platform dedicated to selling unique handmade arts, crafts, clothing and homeware from Inishowen and the North West.

The launch event, which takes place from 2pm – 4pm on Friday the 7th of June 2024, is a call to all creatives from the North West (artists, artisans, designers & makers) to discover how the new platform offers each of them a free, customised, online store designed to showcase and sell their unique products locally, nationally and internationally.

Attendees will learn about the platform’s key features, including how Irish Hands will harness videos and social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, X, TikTok & YouTube to showcase local makers and their unique creations globally. They’ll also learn about “Inishowen’s sacred ancient triangle” – a term coined by Irish Hands founder Shane Kirby, consisting of a 6,000- year-old Neolithic settlement at Thornhill, prehistoric rock art sites, and the ancient ringfort Grianán of Aileach – and his claim that the peninsula and wider North West is the ancestral home of Irish arts, crafts and creative making.

The launch event for “Irish Hands” is part of an open day at the ii in support of “I Love Inishowen Day” – with multiple other events taking place across the peninsula on the following day (Saturday, 8th June 2024) in conjunction with Go Visit Inishowen.

Shane Kirby, founder of the new e-commerce platform “Irish Hands” said: “Irish Hands is all about supporting local makers from Inishowen and the North West – with a focus on selling high quality products and promoting creative makers who are “bridging ancient traditions with contemporary flair!”

With a PhD in PR and over 20 years’ experience, my past clients include the Heritage Lottery Fund and Scottish Tourist Board, as well as having the privilege of working with SDLP leader Mark Durkan as his Senior Communications Officer, and the late Pat and John Hume on an ‘Ireland’s Greatest’ media campaign / RTÉ public poll that he won back in 2010. Over the years I’ve also helped to promote almost one hundred local artists, artisans, designers and makers whilst working in the Press & Communications Office of Derry City & Strabane District Council in the past or in more recent years with Artlink Fort Dunree. Indeed, I will use this wealth of experience to promote members of the Irish Hands community and their craft locally, nationally and internationally.

Alongside my “other half” Eileen Doherty, (a long-standing defective concrete campaigner and co-founder of Men’s Shed Carn), who brings her ‘Business, Marketing and Digital Transformation’ advice and expertise to the new project, we’re committed to nurturing the creative spirit of our community and sharing its brilliance with the world.
The launch event at the ii will provide an in-depth look at how Irish Hands will operate, the features and benefits for local creatives, and how it will also be “a treasure trove of history and heritage.” Indeed, I’m not only on a mission to highlight the beauty and brilliance of contemporary craftmanship, i.e., the “Best from the North West”, but also to be an advocate for the preservation of age-old techniques and traditions honed and passed down through generations of our local makers.
I’d therefore like to take this opportunity to encourage as many makers and creatives as possible to come along to the launch event at the ii– and hopefully consider becoming part of the “Irish Hands” family in the future.”

Event details:
Date: 7th June 2024
Time: 2pm – 4pm
Location: Inishowen Innovation (ii), St. Oran’s Road, Buncrana, Donegal F93 RT73

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