A sweater has the power to make or break an outfit. Choosing the ideal sweater requires taking into account its harmony with the rest of the outfit, the season of the year, and the weather. For many Irish, the Aran sweaters, which date back to the late 1800s, serve as a unique and timeless fashionable piece. The Aran sweater has grown in popularity globally and has also become one of the Aran islands’ greatest contributions to Irish fashion. Originally, it was only Irish apparel, until the 1940s, when Patons of England published the first commercially available Aran Knitting patterns. The Aran sweater’s unique appearance is a result of these patterns. The Aran sweater has up to six separate patterns, each of which is very symbolic, detailed, and symmetrical. Most of the patterns seen on the sweater are inspired by the Celtic knotwork design.


But what are Aran Sweaters and how were they inspired by Celtic designs? This article answers these questions.


What is An Aran Sweater?

An “Aran Sweater” is known as a special kind of sweater that was created for the first time on the Aran Islands many generations ago. They are also referred to as Fisherman Sweaters and are characterized by their remarkable use of numerous complex textured stitch patterns. Historically, unprocessed wool that retained its natural oils was used to knit Aran sweaters, making them water-resistant and wearable even when wet. The majority of modern Aran sweaters and cardigans are knit from a softer yarn called merino and available in a range of colors that capture the beauty of the Irish countryside, including the natural báinn (bawneen) color.


How Are Aran Sweaters Inspired By Celtic Designs?

Wearing a well-designed Aran Cardigan or Sweater has several benefits. The finest wool is used to make them. In every weather, they offer exceptional warmth and comfort. They are comfy and simple to wear and they are a part of Ireland’s history. The striking and instantly recognizable designs of the Aran Sweater or Cardigan are one of their unique features. People will instantly recognize that you are wearing an Aran sweater without your having to tell them. The Irish have always traditionally adored beautiful patterns and ornaments. The Aran Islanders weren’t an exception. It is a Celtic trait to enjoy elegant design and effects. The Celts were warriors, poets, and creative people. The love of decorative ornamentation was well known among the Celts. Even today, spirals and Celtic designs are well-known and respected, and the intricate patterns and designs of the Aran Sweater and Cardigan are unmistakably influenced by this heritage.


You’ll discover that there is a similar complexity and sophistication when you compare the unique and extremely elaborate pattern on an Aran sweater to those iconic Celtic designs. Numerous people have noted the resemblance between the patterns and decorative features found in Celtic art and monuments and those found in Aran sweaters. Ireland is the only nation where the Celtic heritage is so powerful. Only Ireland, thanks to its Celtic heritage, could provide us with those exquisite patterns and embroidery on an Aran Sweater or Cardigan. The women who created the original Aran Sweaters and Cardigans adopted these Celtic-inspired patterns of course. Because the Irish are influenced by their Celtic origins, they didn’t even have to think about it because it was practically a part of who they were. Aran sweaters and cardigans require more than simply knitting and design. They require creativity and Irish Celtic ancestry served as inspiration. Because of this, only Ireland and the Irish can create such extraordinary knitwear. Because they are a product of a long-standing tradition that dates back into the mists of time, Aran Sweaters and Cardigans are special.


The Modern-Day Aran Sweater

As we approach the turn of the 21st century, knitwear produced on both handlooms and machine looms has significantly improved the market. Traditional Aran stitches have continued to serve as a primary source of inspiration for designers as they create new sweater styles despite changes in trends. Although these sweaters aren’t made by your grandparents, they are unquestionably still rooted in the heritage of fine Celtic craftsmanship. Today’s sweaters include contemporary silhouettes, but if you look closely, you can still see the diamonds, cables, and trellises that your forefathers initially created. Aran stitch knitting can now also be done with Merino wool, cashmere, or synthetic fibers. Modern Aran sweaters are incredibly diverse because of these alternatives.


What is Special About Aran Sweaters?

The special features of the Aran sweater, which made it a priceless article of apparel on the Aran islands, still serve the wearer well today. Due to their water resistance, Aran sweaters protect their wearers from the rain and waves. The Aran sweater can hold up to 30% of its weight in fluids before feeling damp because of its exceptional water absorption capacity. This important feature ensures that the sweater keeps the wearer warm throughout chilly days and nights, which is especially significant for fishermen from Aran Island. The breathable Aran sweaters made with natural wool helps to regulate a person’s body temperature and serve as a form of natural insulation to prevent excess cold or heat.


Aran Sweater Stitches

There are a lot of stories and legends surrounding the well-known Aran knitting stitches. Even the Book of Kells is said to include Aran stitch patterns. The more believable hypothesis is that old Celtic art served as inspiration for Aran knitters. According to the story surrounding the origins of Aran knitting, each clan devised its unique stitch patterns, which were well protected over the years and passed down from generation to generation.


What do The Aran Patterns Mean?

●      Honeycomb Stitch

Represents the diligent bee. The Islanders greatly valued efficiency and hard work. It is also said to provide luck to the wearer.


●      Diamond Stitch

Represents the farmland of the Aran Islands A wish for health and prosperity.


●      Cable Stitch

A representation of the fishing ropes. A wish for luck and safety while fishing.


●      Basket Stitch

A representation of the fisherman’s basket signifying the expectation of a large catch.



Does Aran Wool Come from the Isle of Arran?


Yes, Aran Wool comes from Aran Islands in Connemara, off the west coast of Ireland. Aran wools are medium wools that are made from yarns and in more recent times mixed in with  premium fabrics such as Merino, Cashmere and others in order to give a softer more luxurious feel against the skin. Some designs use thicker, more robust, and more rigid than other types of wool depending on the style. They are perfect for making cozy accessories for the autumn and winter, such as oversized scarves and cuddly hats, gloves, and cowls, as well as for knitting Aran sweaters or cardigans without being too bulky.




Aran sweaters are a timeless classic that makes a cozy and significant addition to any wardrobe. The relevance of the Aran sweater and its significant history cannot be disputed. It is a highly valuable item of clothing because of its extensive history, tradition, warmth, comfort, and flexibility. Our fishermen’s sweaters are stylish, natural, and environmentally friendly while preserving the rich legacy of the Aran sweater. Visit us today at Aran Sweaters Direct and find a wide range of beautiful, handmade, stitched Irish Aran sweaters that are just excellent for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Delivery Options

We ship worldwide every day and offer various shipping options such as Free Shipping (Approx 21 Days, no tracking) as well as Tracked Express Local Carrier Shipping ($17 USD, Approx 12 Days) with local carries with USPS, Royal Mail, Canada Post, Australia Post and other local and national carriers. Please note that shipment times are beyond our control and is up to the local carriers and may take longer as busier times of year such as November & December.

For faster shipping, we also offer FedEx delivery which costs $42 USD. (Approx 5 - 6 days)

We only pay Taxes & Duties for USA shipments.

We offer 45 day returns on all silver purchases (Subject to restock fees, minus shipping costs, see our full T&Cs here). Most gold pieces are made to order so are non-refundable. Please allow up to 3 to 4 weeks for production of custom made pieces.

Please see our full T&Cs here. feel free to contact if you would like to know more about the above.

Join the Family

Sign up to our monthly newsletter to receive 10% off your first order, as well as news, offers & competitions.