O’Meara’s Irish House is located in the heart of the Door County, WI peninsula and has been a destination for forty-five years for those on the hunt for high quality, authentic Irish clothing, crafts and jewelry. Door County, well known especially in the Midwest, is a gorgeous resort area that sees more than two million visitors a year.
Owner Megan O’Meara says that they are often asked what an Irish store is doing in the middle of a Scandinavian area. “As it turns out, many Irish settled in Door County originally, not to mention that the majority of our customers travel from Chicago, Milwaukee and beyond,” she says. “We frequently see some of those Scandinavians coming in for a peek of our fabulous wool room along with Germans, Italians and every other ethnicity you can imagine. What we have found is that good taste is universal.”
O’Meara is originally from Chicago and her Irish relatives hail from counties Tipperary, Mayo, Galway and Limerick. She has owned O’Meara’s Irish House for 20 years and says that one of the best parts of the job is spending time in Ireland. Whether she’s there for her annual tour of Ireland that she hosts for customers, meeting with vendors directly in their factories, or visiting with her Irish friends and family, days spent in Ireland make for a richer experience for her customers back home in Fish Creek. “I love seeing our vendors at various buying shows, however, for some of our larger lines, I like to take time and look at every fabric sample, gemstone and color swatch in person. The challenge is to always find incredible things that cannot be found anywhere else,” she says. Apart from her retail space, O’Mears Irish House has a guest house above her shop as well as an online store.
In a changing retail market, O’Meara puts the longevity and growth of her business down to two key things. “We have amazingly loyal customers who always want new things to shop for and we have an amazingly talented group of vendors that always manage to produce an exciting range of products every year.”