Limerick Lace: A Social History and a Maker’s Manual

Limerick Lace: A Social History and a Maker’s Manual

£8.99
ISBN: 978-0-86140-368-4

29.6 x 21.0 cm.   91 pp.  with 115 illus.   

Limerick is probably the most famous of all Irish laces. When President Kennedy came to Limerick in 1963 the Lord Mayor presented him with a Christening robe of the lace, and other important visitors have been delighted to receive gifts of this prestigious material.

The making of this form of lace became possible when machine-made net became readily available, as it is a form of embroidery on net, being either chain-stitch (tambour) or darned net (also called run-lace), or a combination of both techniques.

This volume is produced in the same format as Carrickmacross Lace and Mountmellick Work, and is in three sections. The first deals with the invention of Limerick lace and its history, the second with Mrs Florence Vere O'Brien and her contribution to Limerick and its lace-workers, while the third deals with the techniques used in making Limerick Lace, the materials and designs, preparation and sewing, and filling and embroidery stitches.

The book contains many illustrations of fine piece of lacework from the authors' collections, as well as pictures of prizewinning examples from photos in the possession of the Royal Dublin Society.

About the authors

Nellie O Cléirigh was born in Clonmel, County Tipperary, and is a graduate of University College Dublin, in History and Irish, but she also attended embroidery classes at the Dublin School of Art. She formed a collection of old Irish lace which has been exhibited in Ireland and abroad, and this led to her study of the history of lace making in Ireland and of the people who contributed to it development. Publication of her Carrickmacross Lace in 1985 has led to lectures, publications and broadcasts in Ireland and abroad.  She worked as a civil servant in Dublin until her marriage to Cormac, when she established a handicraft business in Dublin, and later a craft shop in Knightstown, Valentia Island, Co.Kerry. Her Valentia, A Different Irish Island was published in 1992.

Veronica Rowe (née Hardy) grew up at Walterstown, Crusheen, Co. Clare, not far from the home of her maternal grandmother, Florence Vere O'Brien (whose work for the Limerick lace industry is told in Section Two of this book). She trained as a textile designer in Scotland and worked with several handweaving firms in Ireland. She gained an Arts Council scholarship to France and Italy, and a Diploma in the History of European Painting. She is a past chairman of the Irish Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers, and was its representative on the Crafts Council of Ireland. She is a member of the Arts Committee of the Royal Dublin Society, of its Crafts Sub-committee, and of the committee that in 1988 organised an important lace exhibition in Dublin (later displayed in Lisburn Museum, Co.Down), at which her collection of Florence Vere O'Brien's lace was shown. She organised an exhibition of Clare Embroidery in County Clare and County Down, and has written articles and a booklet on the subject.

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Carrickmacross Lace. Irish Embroidered Net Lace

Carrickmacross Lace. Irish Embroidered Net Lace

£9.99

29.5 x 21.0 cm.     64 pp.    with 84 illus, incl. 32 patterns   1985 (Dolmen Press)  1990 by Colin Smythe Ltd

Carrickmacross lace was originally inspired by some Italian appliqué‚ lace which Mrs Grey Porter, wife of the Rector of Donaghmoyne, a small village northeast of Carrickmacross in County Monaghan, brought back from her continental honeymoon in 1816. Her interest in this lace led to an  exploration of the craft with her sewing maid, and by the following decade she had evolved an individual style and established a cottage industry in her home parish, training young women as lacemakers. These in turn spread the craft to other areas in the northern counties of Ireland. In the 1840s a school of lacemakers was established to create gainful work for women after the Great Famine, but overproduction and economic depression led to a decline in the lace industry. The survival of Carrickmacross lace into the twentieth century is due to the nuns of the St Louis order who established a convent in the town and set up a lace-making class in 1897, which still continues the tradition.

There are two varieties of Carrickmacross lace - appliqué, where fine cotton is applied to a machine net base, the design outlined with a thick thread and the unworked cotton outside the area of the design motif cut away, and guipure, in which there is no net base and the outlined design motifs are joined by `bars' or `brides' worked out in needlepoint stitches. Both varieties of work are sometimes found together in more elaborate examples of this beautiful and distinctive lace. In Carrickmacross Lace, Mrs Ó Cleirigh tells the story behind the craft and outlines its historical development. Fine examples of the work are illustrated and the book also has a practical section which explains the stitches and procedures used in the craft. There is also a selection of full-size patterns drawn from historic examples in Irish collections.

Nellie Ó Cleirigh was born in Clonmel, County Tipperary. At the Ursuline convent school in Waterford she was encouraged to further her artistic studies. Embroidery classes at the Dublin School of Art were part of her training. She worked as a civil servant in Dublin until her marriage, when she established a handicraft business which she still continues. She also formed a collection of old Irish lace which has been exhibited several times in and outside Ireland, and which led to her study of the history of lace-making in Ireland and of the people who contributed to its development. Carrickmacross Lace is her first book and was originally published by the Dolmen Press in 1985.

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Irish Crochet Lace

Irish Crochet Lace

£8.99
ISBN: 978-0-85105-514-5

29.7 x 21.2 cm.  64 pp.  with 215 illus. [1985 Dolmen Press]   revised edition 2003

Of all forms of crochet lace, that known as ‘Irish Crochet’ is most sought after and is probably the best known. While the Irish tradition for producing this work dates back to the sixteenth century, when it was known as ‘nuns work’ from the fact that the technique and style was developed in Irish convent communities in imitation of continental lacemaking styles, the manufacture of crochet lace did not become a cottage industry in Ireland until the middle of the nineteenth century, after the devastation caused by the Great Famine of the 1840s, when the development of home crafts was encouraged to create some small income for otherwise destitute families.

Eithne D’Arcy, who died in 1999, came from a family who were buying agents for Irish crochet lace in the area around Clones in County Monaghan. This area was one of the principal centres of the Irish lace industry. A lifelong involvement with the Irish lacemakers inspired Mrs D’Arcy to record her knowledge and to describe the traditional motifs and patterns which were gradually being lost as the old lace makers died out. Irish Crochet Lace is both a pictorial record of one of Ireland’s finest crafts and a practical manual that sets out in order the steps in construction of a wide range of traditional motifs which can be built up into unique and beautiful designs.

John-David Biggs has taken a series of superb photographs which capture each step in the lacemaker’s craft and the construction of each motif.

For this new edition Mrs D’Arcy has clarified her instructions for various motifs: 1. Nine-Looped Flower; 9. Flower; 13. Shamrock Scroll; 14. Wheel; 15. Horse Shoe; 18. Fern; and 28. Mitred Fine Lace Motif.

 Originally published by the Dolmen Press. Designed by Liam Miller

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