Carrickmacross lace was introduced by Mrs
Gray Porter, a rector's wife who learned the
art of lace making on honeymoon in Italy, in
the early 1800's. It was very successful until
overproduction led to a decline in the industry.
After the famine in the 1840's, the craft was
revived when Belgian lace was brought to the
town. Here the techniques of tracing designs
onto a cambric base were introduced. In
1898 the local sisters at the convent again
revived fine lacemaking.
Lacemaking is labour intensive one small
handkerchief takes about 30 hours to make.
Designs include traditional elements such
as harps, shamrock, flowers and swans.
Crochet lace is also made a lot in Ireland,
and can still be seen in its main centre of Clones.
In Clones the local rectors' wife had brought in a
teacher in 1847, to show the poor women how
to make a bit of money by making the lace. The
idea took off and the town became a centre of the craft
Back to An Irish Patchwork