Made in Munster: The best interior shops in country towns

Carol O’Callaghan continues her round-up of home interior shops in country towns and the outer reaches of our cities, finding more treasure troves which offer something new and a touch of exclusivity

Don't we all love that special item which attracts attention and even the admiration of a visitor? Home interiors television shows call it the wow factor, cringy though that sounds now from over-use.

It might be something unusual picked up in a vintage shop, a flea market, or a trip abroad, but certainly isn’t always easy to find when there is so much homogenisation of products in interiors, driven by the relentless change in trends.

However, more out of the way places, far from shopping malls — wonderfully convenient though they are — offer up treasure, distinctive products which are often unique.

Munster has so many of these, it’s just a case of rooting them out and going off for an exploration.

What and where: Browsers Interiors, Upper William Street, Limerick V94 RF08. Think of it as a bit of everything under one roof, like a local, scaled-down Ikea, but with touches of exclusivity.

What about this for a chandelier? The candles are actually lightbulbs, blending practicality with a touch of gothic (€1,930 from Browsers Interiors).
What about this for a chandelier? The candles are actually lightbulbs, blending practicality with a touch of gothic (€1,930 from Browsers Interiors).

Lured in by the thought of: A one- stop-shop of flooring, paint, tiles, fabrics, furniture, rugs, lighting and accessories. Plus, some of the more exclusive paint brands like Porters, Little Greene, Paint & Paper Library, Zoffany and Neptune.

Geri Designs provides an in-house interior design service and also sources antiques.

Expect to pay: €10 for candles and candles holders, and €5,000 for a bespoke sofa.

No home should be without: The Brandon modular sofa system in a two-or three-seater, or L-shape. It comes in at just under €2,000 for a three-seater.

Star buy: A Gothic-style, post-modern chandelier with light bulbs which look like candles. €1,930.

What and where: O’Mahony Interiors, 11 Bridge Street, Enniskeane, Co Cork. P47 EV24. It’s what we like to call a destination shop providing a home interiors oasis while driving to West Cork.

Stroll through and browse the huge fabric library at O’Mahony Interiors, where their interior designers are on hand to help.
Stroll through and browse the huge fabric library at O’Mahony Interiors, where their interior designers are on hand to help.

Lured in by the thought of: An extensive design library of fabrics, from traditional to contemporary styles, and a staff of interior designers to help with choosing. Check out the two-storey showroom filled with tasteful furniture and accessories, rugs, carpets and flooring, and do ask about their upholstery service to update a cherished piece of furniture and to make a custom sofa and chair.

Co-ordination is big here, with paints from Zoffany, Sanderson and Designers Guild in colours to co-ordinate with their fabric designs. Take it a step further with custom-made curtains, blinds and soft furnishings, even bespoke headboards, cushions and coverlets.

Expect to pay: From €15 for candles and tealight holders to sofas from €1,400.

No home should be without: A rather covetable pink three-seater sofa, with mid-century modern design vibes (€1,095), high back and sides for extra-comfortable lounging around in front of the telly and an extra-long matching ottoman for putting feet up or parking a tray (€455).

Star buy: It’s a small, contemporary glass-topped dining table, perfect for a compact dining room or kitchen, with on-trend grey metal base and four chairs to complete the set (€450).

What and where: The White Room, 22, Henry Street, Kenmare, Co Kerry V93 E336. Pop in while playing tourist on the Ring of Kerry, Ring of Beara and The Wild Atlantic Way.

The White Room, Kenmare, for a mix of Irish linens, antique fabrics, furniture and accessories.
The White Room, Kenmare, for a mix of Irish linens, antique fabrics, furniture and accessories.

Lured in by the thought of: Hand- woven traditional Irish linen table cloths, napkins and table runners, as well as a rare collection of antique linen and lace table cloths for vintage fabric aficionados who love a traditional afternoon tea table.

You’ll also find candle holders, chandeliers and lighting, bathroom accessories and living and dining furniture pieces; Everlasting Candles, Autentico Chalk Paint, silk flowers and some unusual garden planters and accessories.

Expect to pay: From €3.95 for a decorative tealight holder, mirrors from €45 to €1,100, with larger furniture pieces like a robust 12-seater dining table coming in at €3,290.

No home should be without: Ever-versatile hurricane lamps, filled with miniature pumpkins and candles for autumn; delicate fairy lights and pine cones for Christmas, and anything else in between.

From €18 to €64 and are one the easiest ways to add seasonal atmosphere to your home.

Star buy: Magical arrangements of Christmas decorations and candle plates, with Christmas trees adorned with the latest style of intricate hand-finished baubles, cluster lights and accessories.

For a limited time leading up to Christmas, they give free informal evening demonstrations of how to re-create the Christmas look in your own home.

Perfect for the interior design challenged individual who wants to create that wow look.

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