Explore Your Heritage at Kennedy Celtic Boutique
By: Lesley De Marinis – mtltimes.ca
Donna Dodge and Nancy Barabé opened Kennedy Celtic Boutique in Pointe-Claire Village nearly five years ago. “We are the only Celtic store in the province of Quebec that brings items in from Ireland, Scotland, and Wales,” Dodge explains. “We have a passion. We have a very, very big passion to bring tradition and authentic gifts to the province of Quebec.”
The boutique imports eighty to ninety percent of its products directly from Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. The remaining items are hand-selected from manufacturers in Canada. Dodge and Barabé believe strongly in dealing with companies that support the people of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.
The boutique carries everything from tweed hats and kilts, to sweaters and sporrans. It is the largest distributor of Celtic jewelry in Eastern Canada, and is popular for its traditional jewelry, including claddagh rings and heather gems.
For Dodge and Barabé, though, the boutique is about much more than the products they carry. Celtic lore is their passion, and they love to teach customers about traditional Irish, Scottish, and Welsh culture.
“The stories and the heritage all come out here. When we’re talking to people, it’s not just about the products,” Barabé says.
Barabé and Dodge are happy to educate customers on everything from how heather plants are turned into jewelry, to how to wear a tartan.
“There’s no real rules for tartan anymore,” Barabé explains. “It’s really regarded more openly, so if you like a color, you wear a color. One of the things I try to teach here about tartan is to declare your style. Tartan is for everyday, not just special occasions. Whatever your style is, even if you want sneakers instead of ghillies, there’s not the same type of rules as there used to be. They say as long as you’re not clashing your colors you’re good to go.”
“So that’s one of the big things we try to do is teach people a bit more,” Barabé continues. “There’s a lot of people that come in that don’t really have an idea of what it means to be Irish or Scottish or Welsh so we try to kind of point them in the right direction. So like we say, it’s more than the product.”
The boutique is also dedicated to supporting the Irish, Scottish, and Welsh organizations of Quebec. This includes donating prizes, sponsoring breakfasts and parades, and judging annual Queen and Court selections. The Kennedy Celtic Boutique team will be walking in the St. Patrick’s Day parades in both Châteauguay and Hudson this month.
“We really enjoy what we do and we have a real passion for all of our customers,” Dodge says. “This is my third company I’ve owned and I think it’s the most rewarding.”
Visit Kennedy Celtic Boutique at 4 Avenue de Lourdes in Pointe-Claire Village.