There is a need for rural development and policy interests to explore alternative methods of rural economic development. In rural Ireland, where diverse economic conditions exist, this is particularly true. Here, a rural development framework which focuses on the use of cooperatives manufacturing culturally significant items as a primary or supplemental economic development tool is described. Such cooperatives could provide steady jobs and incomes making them resistant to the seasonality of tourism and recurring agricultural crises. Such a development strategy allows for the retention of decision-making in rural communities, further contributing to social and economic well-being. Ireland is highlighted because the goods produced have a clearly defined market in the Irish-American population.
Keywords: Rural Development, Cooperative Development, Ireland, Cultural Artifacts