Irish design advocate and entrepreneur, Rachel Gaffney, launched lifestyle brand Rachel Gaffney’s Real Ireland in 2002. Having moved to Texas in 1996, Rachel noticed a distinct lack of quality Irish goods in stores. RGRI’s bespoke tours now cover travel, food & drink, media, culture, fashion and homeware, introducing people to the very best Ireland has to offer.
“On Christmas Eve, I would always get to sample one of the first freshly baked batches of my mum’s mince pies.”
A gift you received as a child that stands out in your memory?
Roller Skates with red leather straps - they were skates without the noisy ball bearings in the wheels, so I felt really special!
Did your family pass on any Christmas traditions to you?
So many, I'm not sure where to start! The house was filled with the aroma of baked goods for an entire week leading up to Christmas. Visiting the cribs around the churches of Cork, midnight mass on Christmas Eve, reading the Cork Holly Bough newspaper, the excitement when opening our stockings filled with goodies at the end of our bed on Christmas morning. (I think this may have kept us from going downstairs!)
Any objects you particularly associate with Christmas Eve rituals?
Objects no. On Christmas Eve, I would always get to sample one of the first freshly baked batches of my mum’s mince pies.
What are the most valued items in your home, and why?
I have a wall in my home that is now my Irish & English Gallery. Me being from Cork and my husband from Sussex, this is our wall where we hang paintings and photographs that have meaning to us both. There is a painting of 'Rounding Fastnet' by Cork artist, Gus Delaney, a pencil sketching of Blackrock Castle & Shandon Bells to name but a few. We only hang things on this special wall if it has meaning to us both.