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Heritage Week event urges public to ‘Bring Out Your Lace’

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Pictured above: A lace worker making Limerick lace 1936 (Courtesy of Veronica Rowe)

Máire de Paor (neé McInerney)  on her First Communion, May 1948. Her veil was made of Limerick Lace.

Máire de Paor (neé McInerney) on her First Communion, May 1948. Her veil was made of Limerick Lace.

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.

Noreen Hussey (neé O’Sullivan) wearing a veil of Limerick lace at her wedding in St Mary’s Cathedral, San Francisco, 1959.

Noreen Hussey (neé O’Sullivan) wearing a veil of Limerick lace at her wedding in St Mary’s Cathedral, San Francisco, 1959.

 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.”

 For more information visit the website here.

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.

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