Irish Crochet Lace
Irish Crochet Lace

Irish Crochet Lace


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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