Like most things, this Valentine’s Day is going to be a little different, BUT if you are lucky enough to be with your love this year, there are still lots of ways to mark the day and we have some ideas…
A Romantic Walk
Although it’s technically spring, you shouldn’t ditch the layers just yet. Before you head out for a nice romantic walk (withing the restrictions, of course), pop on our Glenveigh Quilted Jacket or wrap up in a warm lambswool pashmina, designed and woven at our mill in Donegal.
Dress for Dinner
OK so you can’t go out, but that doesn’t stop you from dressing for dinner. Go all out in your finest tweed suit, light a candle and break out the table linens. Whether you’re ordering in or cooking from scratch, this will certainly make an impact.
Low-key Picnic for Two
Bring the outdoors in with a picnic (or brave your garden all wrapped up!). Take a throw – our colourful Wigwam Collection, designed and woven in Donegal is a good choice – and a couple of luxurious, duck-down filled tweed cushions, and you have the makings of a charming picnic for two.
Take up Poetry
There is no better time in the year to profess your love than Valentine’s Day, and no better medium to do it than poetry. Our Donegal Tweed Notebooks are made in Ireland and are the perfect vehicle for you to present the fruits of your creative labour.
We’ve gathered together our top Winter Sale picks, pieces that are made to last and timeless design that you to will return to season after season.
As a fifth-generation family business with over 150 years’ experience in designing, weaving and tailoring, we have always been about ‘slow fashion’ and creating styles that will stand the test of time. Each piece in the Magee 1866 collection has been designed and made with longevity in mind.
Explore our top picks for men, women and home.
Maroon Handwoven Jacket
A Donegal Tweed jacket is a wardrobe workhorse, a versatile and truly unique garment, it can be easily dressed up or down. This indulgent merlot herringbone tweed, with lavender, olive, rust, cobalt & mustard flecks is designed and handwoven in Donegal. Now 20% off.
Whether you chose crew neck, V-neck or ¼ zip, a cotton jumper is a staple all year round. Layer over shirts or under jackets, (a crew neck works really well on its own or with a t-shirt). Our beautiful quality knits will integrate seamlessly into your casual wardrobe. Now 20% off.
Navy Micro Design 3-Piece Tailored Fit Mix & Match Suit
A timeless navy suit, perfect for both the office and more formal occasions. This contemporary style features a subtle micro design and is part of our three-piece Mix & Match suit offering. Now 20% off.
Our social diaries may be a little on the quiet side these days but the events will happen again and you should be prepared. Our dress collar formal shirts come in Classic or Tailored Fit and single or double cuff. Now 30% off.
Part of our ‘Casual Luxe’ collection, the Clogher t-shirt is available in grey, navy or stripes. Made from luxuriously soft cotton in a relaxed fit with curved hem, these are basics at their best. Now 20% off.
A firm favourite in the Magee 1866 Women’s Collection, this lambswool jacket in navy Salt & Pepper Donegal Tweed, with its slightly slanted pockets, princess seams, peak lapel and cut-away front, give it a tailored, waisted appearance without sacrificing on comfort. Style over a dress or jeans for a put together look. Now 20% off.
Treat yourself to luxury. Our Clooney Cardigan Coat is a standout piece from our winter collection. This truly special and timeless cashmere wool blend in pewter and vanilla houndstooth is the epitome of indulgence. Featuring a deep shawl collar, waist belt and hand-warmer pockets, this style is perfect for cocooning in on winter days. Now 20% off.
A classic wardrobe staple, the cashmere-blend Beatrice cardigan is available in black, navy or plum. The slim-fitting silhouette features a round neck and 3/4 length sleeves and looks great styled alone or over a shirt. Now 50% off.
Every wardrobe needs a pashmina. In Ireland, we wear ours no matter what the season. Woven in a beautifully soft cashmere-lambswool blend at our mill in Donegal, this is a piece you will reach for time and time again. Now 20% off.
Update your interiors for the new year. Our range of Donegal Tweed cushions are designed and woven at our mill in Donegal in patterns and colours inspired by the land seascapes that surround us, and filled with a luxurious duck-down filling. Now 20% off.
Made from the softest cashmere blends, this edit features some of our most lush pieces. Natural fibres are central to our collections. Renewable, biodegradable and coming from all-natural sources creating a rich, soft feeling that can’t be imitated. Designed for warmth and comfort, these are pieces to be treasured and enjoyed for years to come.
Houndstooth Clooney Cardigan Coat
Cocoon yourself in cosy luxury with the Clooney Cardigan Coat. This truly special and timeless cashmere wool blend in chunky pewter and vanilla houndstooth is the epitome of indulgence. Featuring a deep shawl collar, waist belt and hand-warmer pockets, style over a turtleneck knit and heeled boots.
The Emma Coat, with its contemporary boyfriend fit is a comfortable, relaxed piece. Its iconic black and white enlarged herringbone cashmere-rich cloth, designed and woven at our mill in Donegal, bears all the hallmarks of luxury and quality associated with Magee tweeds.
Add a touch of luxury to your day with our working from home essentials.
Handmade in Ireland from a natural wax blend and essential oils, our candles are available in a range of luscious scents like the invigorating Sweet Grapefruit & Lemon Zest or calming Lavender & Heather.
We’re all looking a bit closer to home for our getaways this year, and we might be bias, but Donegal really does have it all. Voted ‘Coolest Place on the Planet’ by National Geographic in 2017, whether you’re looking for adventurous outdoor pursuits, a bit of luxury or breathtaking scenery, there is something here for you.
Here are some of our family’s top tips for things to see and do on a three-day staycation in Donegal.
Base yourself at the Lough Eske Castle Hotel, this 5-star award winning hotel and spa is nestled at the foot of the Blue Stack Mountains just five miles from Donegal Town. From Cedars Restaurant you can take in sweeping views of the castle gardens and surrounding woodland while enjoying simple, exquisitely fresh ingredients prepared to perfection.
After you get settled at the hotel, take the short, 10-minute drive into Donegal Town – a lively spot all year round. The epic Donegal Castle, built in 1474 sits on the banks of the River Eske and was the stronghold of the O’Donnell clan, one of the most powerful Gaelic families in Ireland. Pop over the bridge and you’ll find the start of the Donegal Bank Trail, a pleasant scenic stroll along the river that takes you out to Donegal Bay and back.
The Diamond is the main hub of Donegal Town, surrounded by café’s and restaurants and our Magee of Donegal shop, which stands on the site of the original drapers shop, founded in 1866. Here we specialise in Magee men’s and women’s wear and accessories – designed and made in Ireland. Other brands include – Barbour, Dubarry, Seasalt and luxury Irish made gifts including Newbridge Silver. Call ahead to arrange a weaving demonstration in our heritage room or take a break at the Weaver’s Loft café where we focus on a seasonal menu and home baking.
Time to explore the Wild Atlantic Way. Just up the coast is Mountcharles Pier, stop for a coffee at the small café there, and have a splash in the ocean if you feel up for it. After enjoying the views across the bay, head toSalthill Gardens, built within old stone walls, this contemporary garden is bursting with flowers, shrubs and vegetables. Wander the paths, peer through rod iron garden gates, and feel as if you’ve stepped into the pages of The Secret Garden. (Open 1 May to 30 September 2020).
Continuing along the coast you will find Killybegs, Ireland’s largest fishing port. Just in time for lunch, The Seafood Shackwill not disappoint. Famous for their seafood chowder (winner of Ireland’s Best Chowder at the 9th All Ireland Chowder Cook Off in Kinsale in 2019) the rest of their offering is delicious too, freshly prepared local seafood all to be enjoyed al fresco accompanied by views of the sea and busy fishing boats.
Onward to Sliabh Liag, the highest sea cliffs in Europe. Stretching to over 600m above sea level, the views are unmissable. Drive to the top of the cliffs, or park and enjoy the hike.
Take the loop back through the winding Glengesh Pass to the heritage town of Ardara, a must for fans of traditional Irish music and also a town steeped in the wool trade. A busy market town, in the late 19th century our founder John Magee would visit the market in Ardara to buy and sell handwoven tweeds. On your return, treat yourself to a delicious dinner at the Lakeside Restaurant at Harvey’s Point Hotel on Lough Eske. Their seven-course tasting dinner is the perfect way to enjoy the best of Irish produce.
Head north to Glenveagh National Park, the second largest national park in Ireland covering 170 square kilometres of hillside above Glenveagh Castle on the shore of Lough Veagh. The park hosts a variety of walking trails to suit everyone from the novice to experienced hiker. The fresh air and stunning views are guaranteed to blow away all your cobwebs. If hiking isn’t your thing, cycling and fishing are also on offer as well as a relaxed stroll through the castle’s walled Victorian gardens.
We hope you enjoy your trip through our home county and the landscapes that have inspired our talented weavers and designers for more than 150 years.
From dark origins during the Roman empire (think martyred saints and animal sacrifices), Valentine’s Day evolved over centuries to become the loved-up holiday we know today. Chaucer and Shakespeare romanticised Saint Valentine’s Day in poetry. In the 18th century, the first Valentine’s Day cards (handmade!) were sent. These cards were discreetly slipped under doorways or tied to the door-knocker of a beloved one. Then, in the early 1800’s, mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards began circulating.
Today, we celebrate Valentine’s Day with cards, flowers and chocolate, gifts, and a date! It’s also quite common to celebrate the day by getting together with friends and loved ones. We’ve put together some gift ideas to show someone in your life, whether it’s your partner or a close friend, that you love them!
For more gifting inspiration, check out our gift guide here. And don’t forget to check out our Valentine’s Day city escape on social media, which we’ll be gifting to one lucky couple! The offer includes a night in the Merrion Hotel in Dublin, and one of our Made to Measure suits from Magee 1866 on South Anne Street in Dublin.
From everyone at Magee 1866, including chairman Lynn Temple above, happy Valentine’s Day!
‘Tis the season for gift-giving and gift-opening, and we’ve been really good this year. Here are the gifts we’re hoping to find under the tree!
“My wish list includes one of our throws, designed and made by our weaving mill in Donegal. They are perfect for snuggling down with on the sofa and watching a Christmas film. If it’s just me – The Holiday or Love Actually are my favourites, and if with my children and husband – The Snowman followed by the Snowman and Snowdog!
I would also love a notebook – I have a terrible memory and need lists for everything. I know we live in a digital age and there are all sorts of apps for lists and organisation but I prefer writing things down with a pencil and paper. These beautiful Donegal Tweed bound notebooks are made in Ireland.”
“I do a lot of travelling for work, visiting fabric fairs and factories,! so if Santa wanted to bring me one of our lovely Donegal Tweed passport covers, it would be the perfect accessory to dress up my rather dog-eared passport! As an only child and grandchild, Christmas with my small family is generally a quiet one but we always look forward to Boxing Day when we go for a walk along the seafront in my hometown in the Southeast of England. We watch the either brave or slightly mad locals embracing a charity Boxing Day swim, followed by a walk along the promenade to walk off the Christmas Day dinner. One of our Merino Wool waffle knit sweaters and the gorgeous new red and grey Alexa coat will be sure to keep me warm.”
“For Christmas, I’d love a teddy bear in Donegal Tweed to give to my nephew. It’s something he can hang onto throughout childhood, and pass on when he’s older — a real family heirloom. For myself, I usually spend a lot of the Christmas holidays outside. You can find me having a dip in the sea at dawn (highly recommended!) or taking long walks through the countryside with family. A warm scarf and the Demi jacket are the perfect things to keep me warm through the winter.”
“With two small sons at home, the holidays involve a lot of running around outside, visiting family (and Santa!), and a lot of silliness. This year, I’m hoping for a really smart, versatile piece of outerwear – a coat that will keep me warm while I’m chasing the wee boys around, but also something that will look smart if I manage a rare night out! Having a young family is a bit of a juggling act, so a good-quality piece of outerwear like the Moross Duffle coat that I can take everywhere with me that’s made to last, is top of the list. “
My early memories of Magee as a child were built around what Dad wore as he left for the office at exactly 0750 every morning – namely a navy suit with a brightly coloured tie. (While Dad has never worked directly in our design departments, he has always had a natural flare for colour and styling!) The upstairs wardrobe was full of soft earthy brown and green houndstooth jackets with the odd thornproof suit in a moss green with a fine red thread running through (great for dressing up in as a child!). My brother and I also acquired a bright green linen/silk bolt that we used for ‘tent’s and ‘hide-outs’ in the woods at home. Probably not the final end use desired by the Weaving designer at the time but perfect for us – 65m went a long way for these structures.
Our fabrics and garments have evolved over the years, but the core message of quality and producing a timeless product has always been at the heart of what we do. We focus on natural fibres – wool, alpaca, cashmere, linen and silk. Traditionally Magee 1866 concentrated on jacket and suits, I joined the business in 2012 and while I have no formal training in design, I have been steeped in our brand since a child and love and believe in the the idea of taking a clothing brand and building a lifestyle around it. This is what we are striving to do and use our amazing fabrics as much as possible in these collections.
The Magee 1866 fabrics would have been originally all handwoven and their function was not fashion but utility. In the 1960’s two leading Irish designers – Sybill Connelly and Irene Gilbert started to use our Donegal tweed in the women’s collection. We have always been renowned for our brightly coloured and intricately designed apparel fabrics. In 2018 we launched our first interiors collection.
While we do buy from other mills, particularly in suiting – the UK and Italy, this vertical approach from mill to finished garment allows us to develop truly unique fabrics for our product collections.
Each season we are working to subtly push the boundaries, combining the best of Donegal cloths with contemporary styling – AW19 the Duffle and Alexa coat, while still retaining our more classic pieces. A tricky balance! The Autumn Winter season is so strong for us, colours are rich with earthy tones and our natural cloths really come into their own.
Trends are evolving all the time and the casual direction the world is moving is very prevalent – I still believe there will always be room for a smartly tailored suit, so much so we have just launched an extensive made to measure service!
Spring Summer is a little more difficult, but we are looking to develop the Irish linen story across a number of products and use a more softer colour base across our lightweight wools. For us the ideal spring piece is something that can transcend seasons, particularly in Ireland where our weather is so unpredictable.
A sneak preview to SS20 and our Irish linen suit in an olive green Glencheck (also available in navy) is a wardrobe must – the great thing about this suit is how you can mix up the styling – the checked jacket with plain linen trousers and a t-shirt or the trousers with one of our Irish linen grandfather shirts (an exclusive made in Ireland product). Embracing the casual trends we are introducing a casual lux collection.
I have been working with our team to review how we can use our beautiful Donegal tweeds and linens in some timeless and the more quirky accessories, e.g. our Donegal tweed teddy bear (Made in the UK) and our throws – made in Donegal by us. This is an exciting area for development – watch this space!
This autumn, we’re celebrating women with a series of interviews, focusing on women in Ireland. We got the chance to interview Easkey Britton, a Donegal native, five-time Irish National Surfing Champion, who also holds a Ph.D in Environment & Society.
Can you tell us what it was like venturing into surfing, researching, teaching?
up in Rossnowlagh by the sea, I’ve been in love with water for as long as I can
remember. The sea is the single greatest influencer in my life and for me
surfing is this playful medium that allows me to indulge in that passion and
which has also allowed me to build a career. The sea is a constantly changing
environment that fuels my curiosity and I think this translates well into my
academic interests. I earned a first class BSc in Environmental Science
and a PhD in Environment and Society, specialising in human well-being and
coastal resilience, both at Ulster University. Surfing during my studies
also helped me keep a healthy work-life balance, and clear perspective on the
importance of always doing what you love and not postponing that desire.
I’ve found a way to weave my passion for the sea, surfing and helping to foster
a more positive relationship between people and the sea in my current research
post at NUIG.
Any advice for young women finding their way professionally?
increasingly see a pressure to always be ‘on’. That constant drive to
create change, or make a difference, often leads to burn-out. For me, I
noticed I was going through a pattern where I’d reach the mid-point of each
year (around June) and my physical and emotional health would start to crash
and burn, because I’d been in ‘doing’ mode constantly all year. To break
the pattern I began to track the moments in my life when I felt most alive and
full of energy, and what were those moments when I was left feeling
drained or exhausted. Slowly, I’ve come to understand the importance of cycles.
We all have them, men and women. Because we’re living beings we’re influenced
by our environment and are affected by the cycles of night and day, the moon,
the seasons… As women, we are gifted with an internal cycle – if we’d only
been taught to better listen to our bodies. Our body tells us when it’s time to
act and when it’s time to rest. I’m beginning to develop a greater awareness of
my menstrual cycle in the last couple of years, and it has had a profound
effect on my work-life balance and energy levels. It helps me understand my own
inner ebb and flow, the high cost of always being ‘on’ in a society that
rewards ‘being busy’, and the equally important need for stillness and
Best piece of advice you’ve received?
There is a saying in my family passed from my grandfather to my mother to me, ‘out of the hottest fire comes the finest tempered steel’. It reminds me as we face the greatest challenges of our lifetime that change can also strengthen and transform, that no matter how tough it seems right now, if we allow ourselves to move through challenge rather than resist it there is incredible potential for transformation.
What’s top of mind for you at the moment?
the links between nature, health and well-being and, especially how water and
the sea can impact health and well-being both at an individual level and within
communities is at the core of what I do – it’s the focus of my research on the
EU funded SOPHIE (Seas, Oceans and Public Health in Europe) project.
Personal style philosophy?
harm. Be conscious, natural and responsible. As much as possible use the power
you have as a consumer, and as a citizen, to buy products that are local, made with
natural materials in an ethical way causing as little harm as possible.
And think about the end-life of a product, what waste will it create and how
might we recycle or upcycle? Always ask questions, this creates more awareness.
Your favourite local spot & why?
There are so many in Donegal! It’s hard to beat Rossnowlagh beach, although I love heading to the pier at Mountcharles with my grandmother. Sometimes I’ll swim and then we just sit and drink in the incredible 180 degree views of the bay and mountains. It’s a stunning perspective. My grandmother calls the sea there a ‘tonic for the soul.’
Your perfect day?
One filled with waves, a surf or dip in the sea before breakfast is hard to beat. I’m energised for the day!
I left the army and went to London to work as a Personal Trainer, this was not a long term career for me and I spent many hours in London exploring the wealth of stores. This is where I fell in love with fashion and design. I started in our family business aged 24, very young and very naïve, however my experiences before, while nothing to do with fashion, where hugely people orientated and I also had absorbed a lot of conversations around our business since a child so coming into our family clothing business was not totally alien to me.
Everyone within Magee was hugely supportive of me becoming part of the team, but it took me a while to find my feet and I spent time in different parts of the business, starting in wholesale (I am hopeless at sales!) and ending up in design. I love the creative aspects of my role – through both product design imagery and brand development. My aim after about a year in Magee was to create a lifestyle brand. We specialised in suits and jackets then for primarily an older generation. While we have some way to go, we are starting to capture the essence of an Irish family lifestyle brand. Our focus is luxury fabrics and design, steeped in our heritage with contemporary styling.
If I had one regret it was not working in another large brand for a couple of years before going into our company. This would have enabled me to gain some specific fashion experience which I now have but it took a little longer to grasp.
Any advice for young women finding their way professionally?
Focus on what you want to do and work hard to achieve it. We spend so much time at work and It is so important to enjoy what you are doing, there will be of course difficult moments but overall you need to be happy in your role – you will achieve more.
Best piece of advice you’ve received?
Be focused on the end goal and work hard.
What’s top of mind for you at the moment?
The effect we are all having on the environment is without doubt having an impact on me, and fashion is a huge pollutant – second after oil! From a company stance we are a slow fashion brand. We focus on natural fibres and our clothes are designed to last – not to end up in a landfill in a month post purchase.
Personal style philosophy?
I take a pretty simplistic view of fashion and adore clothes that are timeless. Comfort is also a key factor. What I buy now, I want it to last. Fabric is really important to me – be it a luxurious cashmere knit jumper or tweed coat. Staple colours are black, navy, olive green, camel and white. Orange is my pop colour right now. Silk and cashmere scarves are my go to accessory. I am not a fan of overdesigned products and feel overall – less is more.
Your favourite local spot & why?
Murvagh beach – when I lived in Donegal after returning from London, I ran there every day in all weathers, wind, rain, snow, sun – the perfect antidote to a long day in the office.
Your perfect day?
I love the mountains and spend a lot of time in France. My perfect day would be a ski tour in the Alps, with my husband and our guide. We love getting into the middle of nowhere for a few hours – bright blue skies, dramatic scenery, good snow and silence – with no one else around us! Then meet our three small children for a late lunch in Cave de Creux, my favourite restaurant – great music, team, atmosphere and food – the truffle risotto is amazing! Ski home with the boys – and then a big fire at home with a glass of red wine, reminiscing about our day.
Favourite piece or pieces this season from the AW collection?
I have two favourite pieces this season – one of our Lily jackets in a classic black and white salt & pepper Donegal tweed with a hint of lurex to add a contemporary twist and the new teddy bears! I am so excited about these little bears showcasing our original Donegal tweed in a fun way!