HAMDEN -- Walking into Lucky Ewe Irish Goods on Whitney Avenue in Hamden, you’re met with a smile and a warm welcome from both the staff and even a sign, which quite literally means “a hundred thousand welcomes.”
“We have customers who come in and they’re becoming our regulars. We put a stool here because we’re getting, it’s like a family is growing,” said Kathleen “Katie” O’Neill Regan, Lucky Ewe’s founder and owner.
Regan came up with the idea a few years ago. She said she had just turned 50 and didn’t feel like nursing was fulfilling her anymore. She was looking for something new. Around that same time, she visited Quinnipiac’s Great Hunger Museum and something clicked.
“This idea came, open an Irish gift shop to compliment the Hunger Museum. Let us see the beauty that is coming out of Ireland,” she said.
She shared her idea with her friend Mary Beth Radigan.
“She says Kate, you have to do it. And then she says she’s getting goosebumps. Mary Beth, not the kind of person who gets goose bumps. I’m the kind of goose bump person, so anyway her reaction was so strong, so immediate, it validated that this is a mission I needed to take,” said Regan.
Two years later, Mary Beth, Katie and her niece Tara opened up Lucky Ewe Irish Goods, complete with a sheep logo that speaks to the picturesque scenes you see in Ireland.
“There’s just something cute and whimsical and when you go to Ireland, sheep are all over the place,” said Regan.
You can see the sheep’s influence right in the store with scarves and sweaters made in Ireland. The women say it’s very important for their products to be authentic.
“We have everything from Irish jewelry, woolens, we have capes, scarves, sweaters, hats, then we have all sorts of gifts, little Irish gifts,” said Mary Beth Radigan, another one of the owners.
They also embrace Irish culture with events every month like Celtic drum circles and tea leaf readings. On St. Patrick’s Day, there will be Irish music, step dancers and even an Irish soda bread contest. You don’t have to be Irish to take part in it all.
“Everyone who comes in the shop is not Irish. You don’t have to be Irish to come here, but when people leave, most people leave after they’ve purchased something, and there’s always a story behind everything,” said Radigan.
Those little stories have customers coming back time and time again, no matter if they’re from Connecticut or other parts of the country.
“I’m not Irish, but the goods are such good quality, and she has such a variety, and she’s a draw. She’s such a wonderful person,” said Karen Simses, who lives in Montezuma, Iowa.
“It’s not only a shop, it’s a connection. It’s a place where people feel home. That sense of belonging to something greater. I think we’re always searching for that,” said Regan.
For more information on Lucky Ewe Irish Goods, you can visit the store’s website.
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