Mike O’Connor and Lisa Van Eyck came to Ireland in the 1970s, both drawn to the vibrant music scene of West Clare. Mike, originally from Hastings, England had been to Art College in Liverpool, England. Lisa, originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan had been to Art College in Nova Scotia, Canada. They put their passion for creativity together and in 1979 set up production in the loft of the building above an ice-cream shop. From here they designed and screen printed t – shirts – one of their first custom jobs was for the now legendary Lisdoonvarna Music Festival. In this photo Mike and Lisa are screen printing onto silk scarves – a painstaking process that required very clean hands!
Wild Atlantic Waves
The whole building is now the hub of Celtic T-shirts Ltd, yet retains its original character. Waves of 40 foot have crashed over the roof during bad winter storms – but like Celtic T – Shirts integrity, it remains intact! Though our designs are known world – wide, it is only when the building is under a giant wave that Celtic T – Shirts has become front page news! Many of our walk – in customers stop by Lahinch either on the way to The Cliffs of Moher or Dingle. While The Wild Atlantic Way guides travellers along coastal towns, we often point visitors in the direction of Ennistymon and The Burren, as there is a rich culture to be discovered inland aswell. We are behind the wave in this picture!
What is screen printing?
The process of screen printing is a time honoured craft. The stencils are exposed onto the screen, the mesh of the screen that has not been blocked off allows the ink to pass through. The inks are hand blended on the screen itself and then pulled across the screen and printed onto the garment underneath. The garments are then ‘cured’ in our conveyor belt dryer which ensures the inks are dried securely into the fibres. Our printing ‘carousel’ is the first thing you see when you step into our shop. Walk – in customers are treated to a personal demonstration and are always impressed!
Lisa is the co-founder of Celtic T – Shirts, along with Mike who sadly died in February 2021. Marlene has been at the helm of the t – shirt ship for several years now, and she has been keeping the printing process running smoothly with Clare and Lisa’s daughter Josie. We have many McKays on board – Jeanne you will recognise modelling many of the ladies garments, and Patrick has built this shiny new website for us! Many mighty, colourful characters have worked within these salty walls and each has helped to make our shop what it is today. We are a family centred business and appreciate deeply the time that our staff members have given us over the years. Everything printed here in our shop has been saturated in sparkling wit and loud music – when we pack up our orders we are including the essence of what makes Celtic T – Shirts so special, so you can enjoy it too!
Our instore gallery
Mike’s powerfully colourful lino-prints adorn our walls. Mike focused on his own art after a lengthy career in the t – shirt business. Mike’s inspiration came from the wild, untameable landscapes of County Clare. He always found magic in the ordinary and Celtic T – Shirts still retains his charismatic energy, humour and music! His family will maintain his legacy but for now prints are unavailable to purchase. Check out Mike’s website: michaeloconnor.ie
Please be assured our workshop is a safe place to browse, shop and hang out.
We have hand sanitizer available and everyone is welcome!