The Sheelin Lace Museum
Irish Lace was at one time world renowned and prized for its beauty and the intricacy of its stitch work. Examples of old Irish lace can attract high rices at auction and are not that easy to find.
Nowadays the craft is kept alive by just a small band of enthusiasts and craft workers, but the history of Lace is interwoven with our history and is a fascinating topic.
The museum is looking better than ever after a recent makeover, and exists due to the dedication of one woman, Rosemary Cathcart, who has assembled a stunning array of more than 400 exhibits in her museum, with examples of just about every style of Irish Lace created during the heyday of Irish lacemaking from from 1850 to 1900.
It is a must see for anyone interested in hand crafts of any kind, in fashion or in the history of fashion and dress.
There are Wedding Dresses and Veils, Shawls, Parasols, Collars and Jackets and many other items either made from lace or incorporating lace in their design.
The section on Victorian lace includes a bed fully dressed with lace bed linen and a collection of fans which are wonderfully intricate and decorative. There is also an interesting picture gallery of lace makers at work in the traditional craft.
An adjoining shop sells a wide range of hand made and maching made lace items. These are not, it has to be said, cheap, but when you consider the work that went into making them they seem like an incredible bargain. And as unique and beautiful hand made items they are likely to become family heirlooms.
Visiting the Museum
The museum is open all year from 10am to 6pm Monday to Saturday.
A shop at the museum sells antique and modern Irish lace and linen as well as books about lace making and postcards of some of the exhibits.
Allow about an hour to visit the museum.