Susan Elliott has always been an Irish girl at heart. Born in Westchester County to first-generation American parents (her grandparents grew up in Ireland), Elliott was well-schooled in her heritage throughout her youth. “I’ve been to Ireland about 25 times in my life, and I plan on going again soon,” she says. “We try to go at least once a year.” So when Elliott and her husband saw an ad in the New York Times listing the sale of an Irish store in Cold Spring, she jumped at the chance to showcase the coolest parts of her culture.
In 2000, Back in Ireland opened its doors and has been part and parcel of Cold Spring’s quaint Main Street retail district ever since. Elliott describes her shop’s atmosphere as “charming; the exposed brick and tin ceiling make you feel like you just stepped into a real Irish shop.” Its three rooms are stocked to the brim with everything from hand-knit aran sweaters to Irish CDs and groceries; there’s no shortage of authentic items to get your Irish eyes smiling.
“Our store is based on traditions,” says Elliott. “You’re not going to find any modern, kitschy shamrock stuff in here. What you will find are things that you’d find in a real Irish store.” Best-sellers include the sterling silver Celtic necklaces and claddagh rings — the Irish symbol for friendship, love, and loyalty. One of Elliott’s favorite new items is the Ri Na Mara line of face and body lotions. Made in Ireland from seaweed and other soothing spa botanicals, the creams are hard to find in the U.S. “We’re planning on having a few of our Irish vendors here soon to talk with customers about the items they sell — where they come from, how they’re made. It should be quite a treat,” says Elliott.
If you’re a bargain-hunter, Back in Ireland also has an “annex” right up the street where you can pick up items they no longer stock for up to 50 percent off. Can’t get out to Cold Spring? Not a problem — you can shop the comprehensive Web site and choose items to be shipped straight to your home.
And what about St. Patrick’s Day? “We do something different every year,” says Elliott. “One year we had bagpipers at the front door, and we always wear green.” And Elliott might even break down and stock up on the kitsch for the holiday. “A lot of our customers will stop in to pick up stuff like that before celebrating,” she admits. “But we do like to keep it authentic.”
Back in Ireland
Open 12-5 p.m. daily
65 Main St., Cold Spring. 845-265-4570 or www.backinireland.com
Click on the gallery below to see some of our favorite picks from Back in Ireland