August Craft Month and Heritage Week 2024

  • being updated-

3 Aug – Irish lace making interactive display and workshop – The Guild of Irish Lacemakers, Collins Barracks, Dublin

3 Aug – Lace making demonstrations at Arthur Cottage – Arthur Cottage, Dreen Road, Cullybackey, Co Antrim

17 Aug – Celebrate August Craft Mont with Borris Lacemakers – Borris House, co Carlow

21-23 Aug – Carrickmacross Lace Summer School: 3-Dimensional Snowdrop – Theresa Kelly – Market Place Theatre and Arts Centre, Co Armagh

22-23 August – Limerick lace pop-up exhibition, Friends of Lace Limerick, 16 Roches St., Limerick city

23 Aug – The History of Irish Lace, Cork Public Library, Cork

24 Aug – Bring Out Your Lace 2024, Friends of Lace Limerick, People’s Museum, Limerick

25th August – South Armagh Lace Collective in collaboration with Northern Ireland Screen:  Films from the archives. Stories of Lace making in South Armagh, 3pm on Sunday in Culloville Community Centre, 3 Corasmoo Road, Culloville,  Co Armagh.  BT35 9FE

31 Aug – Celebrate August Craft Mont with Borris Lacemakers, Arboretum Home and Garden Centre, Leighlinbridge

1-31 August- Lacemaking demonstrations on demand at the Kenmare Lace and Design Centre, Monday to Friday 10.30 am to 1.00pm.

1-31 August – Linked by a Thread lace exhibition, Clones Lace Museum at the Ulster Canal Stores Visitor Centre .

Looking for lace traces in West Cork

This post is of a more personal nature, as it summarises my own experience (Gabriela Avram’s) during a recent vacation in Bantry, West Cork.

I have been attending the West Cork Chamber Music Festival almost every year, so I am very familiar with the Bantry and Glengarriff areas. But this year I decided to make a few inquiries about Glengarriff Lace, as I was quite intrigued of its scarcity and close resemblance to Limerick lace. The first mention I heard of Glengarriff Lace was from Veronica Stuart a few years back when I first attended the International Lace Festival in Kinsale. The only photograph I could find online was the one of a collar from the Headford Lace Project collection.

We stayed in a new place this year, and when I tried to question our landlord about Glengarriff lace, he promptly introduced me to his wife, who has been an art teacher in the area for many years. She hadn’t heard anything about Glengarriff lace, but told me that the Sisters of Mercy had created a Lace School in Bantry that was active many years in the 20th century.

Embroidery and lacemaking class with examples
The Lacemaking class in the Convent of Mercy in Bantry, West Cork pose with their samples to celebrate the end of year! From the Fergus O’Connor Collection .

A bit of online research led me to the above photo from the National Library of Ireland Collection, showing a group of pupils with their work. Further research led me to the photo of the school – I am not sure if the building still exists. The former site of the Sisters of Mercy is now an assisted living establishment.

"Institutional style building in an unknown location" is a convent in Bantry
 Sisters of Mercy Convent and school in Bantry, County Cork. Fergus O’Connor collection.

The following day I went to the Bantry Library, where I got more help. The Bantry Historical and Archaeological Society publishes a journal, and in the second volume I found an article on The Sisters of Mercy in Bantry, signed by Jenny McCarthy. The article states that the Lace School was open in 1902, and it was an effort of the Sisters to teach the young girls useful skills.

On one of the following days, I visited the tiny Bantry Museum and discovered there was quite a bit of lace there – of various types – although the origin of the pieces is mostly unknown.

Also, an article on a website belonging to the Sisters of Mercy presented a more detailed history of the Bantry convent. And this is not the only place where the Sisters of Mercy were active in West Cork.

But what about Glengarriff Lace?

The UCC Library preserves, as part of the Bantry Estate Collection, typed correspondence concerning a site to be leased from the Leigh-White Estate by the Congested Districts Board, Dublin for the Glengarriff Lace School, 4 – 15 Nov. 1913. Land was leased for the construction of a Technical School of Lace Making & Hand Weaving in Glengarriff, and a photo representing a group of students is available in a private collection.

A Dáil Éireann debate on the Arts Bill from 1951 mentions:

The type of excellent lacework that you can get in little cottages around tourist spots like Glengarriff is of immense artistic quality, and has been a heritage of the people and of families. This is something that could be encouraged and developed so as to make available things of beauty and quality instead of the awfully loud, garish and unfortunate souvenirs that are plastered around this country and which are meant to be representative of something typically Irish or something produced in Ireland.

Further discussions on the characteristics of Glengarriff Lace on the Laces of Ireland Facebook Group led to a number of other contributions.

Fidelma Cosgrave, lacemaker from Limerick, told us:

“Below is Glengariff lace my brother and I bought it in 1957 or 1958 as a present for our mum. Nora Finnegan knows who made it – the lady is dead for many years. My memory of buying it is: I was 4 or 5 we went into the lady’s thatched cottage to see this old lady dressed in black making the lace. She had a large frame and she worked away on the lace. It was in the Glengariff area.”

Nora Finnegan, Kenmare Lace and Design Centre:

“I believe the Limerick Tambour Lace you had on Facebook was made by Sheila O’Sullivan from Ardgroom village. Ardgroom is near Glengariff. Sheila regularly supplied Tambour Lace to the Convent in Kenmare and after that to The Kenmare Lace and Design Centre. She passed away a few years ago.
If you look at the piece she is working on , it is very similar to the piece you had on Facebook. I have kept the other piece, because I wanted to have something made by her.

Nellie Brooks was a very talented lacemaker. She also made some lace for The Lace Centre. She lived up a steep road above Glengariff town in a lovely old cottage. She learned to make Limerick Tambour, or Glengariff Lace, from her mother in law. Nellie in turn taught it to her daughter in law, but her daughter in law passed away at a very young age and so did not get to make much of it.”

Veronica Stuart, Traditional Lacemakers of Ireland:

“A lady called Peggy Brooks used to teach in Glengarriffe, I was lucky enough to have met her a few times. Lovely lady. RIP. I have a newspaper article about her . Must look it up.”

South Armagh Lace Gathering

On 21-23 June 2024, following the invitation received from the South Armagh Lace Collective,  a delegation of Friends of Lace Limerick , including Susan Frawley, Fidelma Cosgrave, Toni O’Malley, Eva Ryley, Marina Poster and Gabriela Avram, undertook a trip to Culloville in South Armagh.

On the way, the group paid a brief visit to the Carrickmacross Lace Gallery in Carrickmacross.

The next stop was the Armagh County Museum , which is a partner in our Laces of Ireland project and will organise a dedicated lace exhibition in August 2025. A group of members from the South Armagh Lace Collective joined us for the visit. Sarah Millsopp, the curator, shared with us an important part of the lace collection that is not usually on display. The two hours reserved for the visit flew. We were all in a trance, marvelling at the exquisite work and attempting to identify lace types and provenance.

On Saturday, 22 June 2024, the members of the South Armagh Lace Collective organised a Carrickmacross Lace making class for the visiting group and for local people interested. Some were complete beginners, others like myself had attended a workshop 5 years prior (and still had the unfinished piece!). A pop-up exhibition with heirloom and contemporary lace pieces was organised in the same venue.

In the afternoon, a Lace Gathering took place at the Culloville Community Centre. The event saw the launch of the Laces of Ireland project in Northern Ireland. Rosie Finnegan-Bell, the chair of the South Armagh Lace Collective, sent invitations to the lace making community both north and south of the border, and there were more than 70 people in attendance.

The audience had the chance to appreciate the pop-up exhibition, discover new connections and talk about their own experience related to lace.

A pop-up Limerick lace exhibition was organised by Friends of Lace Limerick.

Carrickmacross lace teacher extraordinaire Mary McMahon was also present. Mary was one of the lacemakers who created the lace for Sybil Connolly’s famous dresses Pink Ice, and Illusion, now in the collection of the Hunt Museum in Limerick.

The gathering was a huge success, with enthusiastic feedback coming from all over the island of Ireland.

On the next morning, June 23rd, before departing for Limerick, the visitors were led on a tour of the Creggan Graveyard by local historian Una Walsh, whose enthusiasm, knowledge and elocution left a deep impression on the audience.

Based on a last minute arrangement, an invitation to visit lace designer PJ McCabe and custodian of the St. Louis Convent lace designs in Carrickmacross was extended to the whole Limerick group, accompanied by Rosie Finnegan-Bell. The idea of commissioning a joint design for a triptych has emerged and is under discussion at the moment.

The visit to South Armagh was supported by Creative Ireland and Limerick City and County Council through Creative Communities on a Shared Island.

Members of the South Armagh Lace Collective are expected to visit Limerick in October 2024.

On the edge – lace exhibition

Corrib Lace Makers are inviting you to visit their 2024 exhibition.

Location: Aras Eanna Arts Centre, Inis Oírr

Dates: 2-20 June 2024

The first lace exhibition on Inis Oírr, Aran Islands.

Step into a world where craftmanship meets centuries old tradition at this Exhibition of Irish lace! Each handmade piece draws its inspiration from the culture, heritage, landscape, flora and fauna of Galway, Connemara and the Aran Islands. Lace requires practice and precision; the result is a unique creation that reflects the artistry and skill of the makers’ hands.

On the Edge lace exhibition

Two Antique Irish crochet lace wedding dresses (on loan from The Traditional Lacemakers of Ireland, Cork) will also be on display, threads of the past intertwined with those of the present.

Read more:

Ar an Imeall – Taispeántas Lása le Lásadóirí na Coiribe – 2-20 Meitheamh 2024

Is é seo an chéad taispeántas lása ar Inis Oírr, Oileáin Árann. Ar taispeáint freisin beidh dhá ghúna lása cróiseáilte seanré a fuarthas ar iasacht ó Lásadóirí traidisiúnta na hÉireann.

Feicfidh tú ceardaíocht sa taispeántas seo de thraidisiún atá ann leis na céadta bliain. Tá gach ceann de na píosaí lámhdhéanta spreagtha ag cultúr, oidhreacht, tírdhreach, flóra agus fána na Gaillimhe, Chonamara agus Oileán Árainn. Don lása teastaíonn cleachtadh agus cruinneas, bíonn an toradh ina chruthú ar leith a léiríonn ealaín agus scil na lásadóirí.

Beidh dhá ghúna pósta seanaimseartha lása ar taispeáint freisin (ar iasacht ó Lásadóirí traidisiúnta na hÉireann, Corcaigh), snáitheanna ón am atá imithe fite le cinn na haimsire seo.

@corrib_lacemakers @ealainnagaeltachta @galwaycountycouncil @Comhar Caomhán Inis Oírr @udarasnag

Our project receives funding!

In June 2023, we have applied for funding via the Creative Communities on a Shared Island programme, strand 2. We just found out that we are one of the nine projects selected ! We are delighted with the outcome!

The project focuses on supporting collaboration and exchanges between lacemaker groups and heritage institutions on the island of Ireland, and is led by Limerick City and County Council. The partners in the project are  Friends of Lace Limerick and the South Armagh Lace Collective, and three museums: the Limerick Museum, the Armagh County Museum and the Cork Public Museum. The long term goal is to create and promote a lace trail through the majority of historical lacemaking centres on the island of Ireland. 

For the duration of the project (2023-2025), we will be organising pop-up exhibitions, presentations, demonstrations and lacemaking classes), as well as mutual visits . 

The Laces of Ireland digital platform will be further developed to include a Laces of Ireland Trail map. An all-Ireland lace trail that will include the permanent collections and lacemaking community groups available to welcome visitors, as well as a joint calendar of events.

Our series of conversations for Heritage Week

In late July, we consulted with a number of lace artists and lace groups about the opportunity of a series of online interviews that would be shared online for August Craft Month and Heritage Week 2023. We received a lot of enthusiastic responses, and the project became reality.

Here’s the opening video of the series:

Here’s our project description on the August Craft Month 2023 website:

This project aims to enhance the visibility of lacemaking groups, organisations and individual lace artists who are keeping alive Ireland’s lace making traditions on the island of Ireland. They will continue to publish conversations with lacemakers on the Laces of Ireland channel throughout August 2023, in an attempt to encourage closer connections between groups and provide more information about Irish traditions to an international audience.

The videos are shared via the Laces of Ireland YouTube channel:

August Craft Month and Heritage Week 2023

August is dedicated to crafts on the island of Ireland. There are all kind of events: talks, demonstrations, exhibitions organised by communities and individual artists. Also, Heritage Week is happening from the 12th to the 20th August this year

We attempted to put together a calendar of lace-related events. If you would like to add an event that we have missed, please get in touch and we’ll update the list.

On Saturday, 12 August 2023, from 10am to 5pm, in the Learning Resource Room at Collins’ Barracks Museum, Dublin, members of the Guild of Irish Lacemakers will be working on their lace pieces, demonstrating techniques and displaying some pieces of lace .

Between 12-20 August 2023, 10am-4pm (12-4pm on Sundays), Lásadóirí na Coiribe / Corrib lacemakers will present the Lace Exhibition “Ó Ghlúin go Glúin” in St. Nicholas Collegiate Church in Galway.

Monday 14th August to Friday 18th August– Clanrye Lace group are having an exhibition at Newry City Library. Exhibition launch on Monday at 2:30pm. Everyone welcome – demos daily.

Wednesday 16th August, 12:30pm to 2:30pm, in Bunclody Library, Borris Lacemakers are organising a lace talk, a display and demonstration.

On Wednesday August 16th, from 12pm to 5pm, the Mountmellick Embroidery and Heritage Museum invites the public to a Crafternoon Tea at the Museum Studio in Mountmellick , where lacemakers will display their work, give little demonstrations and tell their stories of creativity.

Wednesday 16 August 2023, from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Clondalkin Library, in Dublin, the Irish Crochet Lace Revival along with lacemakers and artist Fiona Harrington will launch the result of their collaboration: a crochet replica of the Clondalkin Round Tower. The replica will eventually be on permanent display at the Round Tower Visitor Centre in Clondalkin.

Also Wednesday on August 16 and Friday August 18, Nora Finnegan will offer lace demonstrations at the Kenmare Lace and Design Centre in Kenmare, from 10am to 11am and from 3 to 4pm on each of the two days.

On Thursday, 17 August and Friday 18 August 2023, from 10am to 4pm, the Limerick Museum in collaboration with Friends of Lace Limerick are organising a two-day Bring Out Your Lace event, where the public can bring items of lace to be assessed, catalogued and photographed and receive useful advice about lace preservation and storage.

The Kenmare Lace and Design Centre in Kenmare, co. Kerry is organising two lacemaking workshops on Kenmare Lace with expert lacemaker Sinead Hennessy on Thursday 17th August and Saturday 19th August from 11-1pm. 

From Thursday 17th to Saturday 19th August, 10am to 3pm daily, designer and lace maker Theresa Kelly is teaching a three-day lace workshop based around the clematis flower ‘The President’ in Armagh. Booking required.

On Friday, 18 August 2023 at 2pm, Dr Matthew Potter, Curator of Limerick Museum, will give a talk on famed Limerick lace-maker Maude Kearney (1873-1963). In 2023, the magnificent Maude Kearney Collection, consisting of numerous examples of Limerick lace and a large number of lace patterns, was donated to Limerick Museum by Grania McElligott, a granddaughter of Maude.  The Limerick Museum also has several remarkable lace artefacts on display.

Saturday August 19th, 10am to 4:30pm, a one day Limerick lace workshop for beginners taught by Toni O’Malley will take place in the Limerick Museum. The Museum has a number of remarkable lace artefacts on display. Booking required. Materials provided.

On Saturday 19th August, 12pm to 4pm at The Arboretum in Leighlinbridge, Borris Lacemakers are organising a lace display and a demonstration.

On Saturday, 19 August 2023, from 2pm to 5pm, the Headford Lace Project will host an interactive celebration of bobbin lacemaking in Headford, co. Galway. This heritage craft will be explored with an exhibition of lace replicas made by the group’s tutor, Jackie Magnin, and a presentation of the evolution of the project since 2016.

The Kenmare Lace and Design Centre is open June 1 to mid October 10.30 to 1.00 and 2.15 to 5.00, Monday to Saturday. Not open on bank holidays.

The Lace Gallery near Tullow, Co Carlow, is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 2pm to 6pm. Also on other days by appointment .

This is a great opportunity to visit if you are interested in lace traditions and want to meet other lacemakers!

Application submitted!

The collaboration between Friends of Lace Limerick and The South Armagh Lace Collective has led to several joint funding applications since our first joint project in 2019.

The two groups came up with the idea of a lace trail, that would map places of lace interest both in their localities, and across the island of Ireland, back in 2019. The pandemic interrupted the mutual visits, but the connections between the two groups continued online. The availability of such a lace trail has both national and international tourism potential and would encourage the organisation of lace tours throughout the island of Ireland.

In May, we identified the Creative Communities on a Shared Island programme as a potential pathway for continuing to work on this idea. We were fortunate to be able to persuade the Limerick Arts Office to support our application, as each county can put forward one project only.

The application involves our two groups – Friends of Lace Limerick and the South Armagh Lace Collective-, as well as the Limerick Museum, the Armagh County Museum and the Cork Public Museum, who all have extensive lace collections.

Fingers crossed!

The Lacemakers’ Shoes Walking Tour

Headford Lace Project is offering this Heritage Week tour, which will explore the remarkable heritage of Bobbin Lacemaking in Headford going back to the mid 1700s as well as recent work to revive the traditional craft.

Headford Lace Project is taking part in ‘Connecting Corrib Communities – Showcasing Heritage’ an initiative of Corrib Beo in association with LAWPRO.

Participants will gather at The Angler’s Rest Hotel and will explore a route including the original lacemakers’ cottages in New Street, Lace Matrix in St. George’s Square and will finish in the Lacemakers’ Garden in Headford Community Orchard. Headford Lacemaking was added to the Irish National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2021.

Date and time: 21 August, 11:30am – 1:30pm

Starting point: Angler’s Rest Hotel, Headford, H91 PN77, Co. Galway – County 

Lace Faoin Aer – Borris Lacemakers

For August Craft Month, Borris Lacemakers are going on tour. For four Wednesdays in August, they will pitch their gazebo in beautiful scenic locations in South Carlow.

  • 10 August 2022  Kilgraney House gardens
  • 17 August 2022 Lace Garden, Borris House
  • 24 August 2022 Altamont Gardens
  • 31 August 2022  St. Mullins – on the quay, Near the Mullichain Cafe

Come along, meet the makers, see how the lace is made, and view some beautiful samples of Borris Lace. Take a stroll around these beautiful gardens and sites. 

More details can be found on the August Craft Month 2022 website.