There is something special about Aran Sweaters. They feel warm and comforting, like a big hug. This is what they were for, a big hug from the Fisherman’s wives and ladies as they thought of their men out at sea braving the elements to get a catch. The Aran Sweater is perfect for such conditions as not only is it strong and easy to mend but it is also water resistant. Given the wild waters of Galway Bay and Atlantic this is a vital piece of kit.
Why is the wool water resistant? It all depends on the sheep that you take it from? The Ladies of the Aran isle who had to make them knew very well that the Aran sheep were more than capable of staying dry. They had seen that the sheeps wool seemed to keep out the rain. Rain is something they get quite a lot of on the island so this seemed the best material to use.
The original wool used was much coarser than the modern equivalent we use today. It was kept rough as it retained the lanolin in the wool. This lanolin is a naturally water resistant property that kept the men dry and warm out on the fishing boats.