Pictured above: A lace worker making Limerick lace 1936 (Courtesy of Veronica Rowe)
Limerick Museum and Archives will host a public event later this month to help people discover if they own a precious piece of Limerick’s history and heritage.
‘Bring Out Your Lace’, which takes place in City Hall on Tuesday 25 August as part of National Heritage Week 2015, will have experts on hand to identify whether lace items presented on the day are authentic pieces of Limerick Lace.
Limerick Lace is regarded as one of the greatest craft industries in Irish history and is among the most famous and beautiful laces in the world. At its peak in the early 1850s, an estimated 1,800 people were employed in Limerick City making lace. Over many decades, it produced a large output of lace products, from dresses, christening shawls and ecclesiastical robes to handkerchiefs and doilies.
Nora Finnegan, Limerick Lace expert and founder of the Kenmare Lace class, and textile conservator Cliodna Devitt will be attend ‘Bring Out Your Lace’ to provide expert advice and information to members of the public.
“Limerick Museum and Archives aims to document where lace is held and to help the owners of lace to care for it,” explained Jacqui Hayes, Limerick Archivist. “We hope that each piece of lace will be professionally photographed and the owner will also get some advice on the type of lace and some tips on how to care for it.”
“For those who simply are interested in lace but don’t own any pieces, they are still welcome to visit our open day where they will find lots to interest to them. There will be lace making demonstrations and lace experts available to talk about lace. Our ‘Amazing Lace also remains open at Limerick Museum in City Hall,” added Ms. Hayes.
Ms. Hayes said Limerick Lace was once a major industry in Limerick and the city gave its name to a particular type of lace which was produced in many parts of Ireland.
She continued: “Limerick Lace is made by hand embroidering onto machine-made net. The result is a very delicate, flowing style. Lace making required a great deal of skill and the tiny stitches meant it was a slow process to create the exquisite lace. Lace was often used in church garments and was highly fashionable in the nineteenth and early twentieth century.”
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