Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kenmare Lace and Design Centre, Co. Kerry

Whether you make lace or not, anyone passing through Kenmare is advised to stop off and visit the Kenmare Lace and Design Centre. It is situated in the old Courthouse above the Tourist Office.

Although small, it is packed full of antique lace, samples, photographs, demonstration models, and the best of all chat! Give yourself plenty of time to admire the lace, view the demo's and talk to Nora and other customers on the beauty, and history of this type of Irish textiles.

Kenmare Lace is a type of needlepoint lace. It is made with a needle and thread, you lay down couching thread over the whole design, then fill in the design using detached buttonhole stitch. These stitches are worked row upon row in from the couching thread. The size and tension of the stitches determines the pattern.

The Design Centre is a Community Development Project, spearheaded by Nora Finnegan with a few other local women, and its aims is to save the history and heritage of Kenmare lace in Kenmare. On display is a unique collection of antique Kenmare Lace and other laces, carefully preserved by the sisters at St. Clares Convent, Kenmare. It is so wonderful to see this work, not in a museum setting, but in a homely space, overlooking the women who are lovingly trying to save a very local tradition.

As well as the beautiful Kenmare Lace on display, there is also Limerick, Irish Crochet, Bobbin, and Carrickmacross Lace. There is some lace for sale, as well as haberdashery, tools, craft kits, and much to my delight, a range of different sized cotton thread.

Take a look at the website for a more detailed history on Kenmare Lace, and how it was recognised for its delicate beauty all over the world.

Opening times:

winter Mon-Sat 10.30am - 1.30pm,

summer Mon-Sat 10am-1pm, 2,15pm-5.30pm

Kenmare Lace and Design Centre
The Heritage Centre
Co. Kerry

Tel: 00353 (0)64 42636
Fax: 00 353 (0)64 42636


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