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

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


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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