The South Armagh Lace Collective and the Clanrye Lace Group have worked tirelessly over the last couple of months, alongside the Ring of Gullion Partnership in planning the ‘Linen and Lace’ exhibition. The event ran from 5 to 7 August and was organised as part of the Ring of Gullion’s Lúnasa Festival 2021 and was housed in the National Trust’s Derrymore House Property. The festival is part of the Mourne-Gullion-Strangford Aspiring UNESCO Global Geopark of events and is funded by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.
The unique exhibition celebrated the rich textile making heritage in the wider South Armagh and Newry area. The Linen and Lace exhibition was part of the ongoing wider Lúnasa Festival which has become the fastest growing grass roots festival in the region and highlights the very best of what South Armagh and the Ring of Gullion has to offer in terms of the landscape, heritage and culture.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Cathy Mason said, “The Linen and Lace Exhibition represents the work of a dedicated group of master craftspeople from this area to shine a light on their rich lace-making traditions and skills as part of an ongoing effort to safeguard these cherished practices for future generations to enjoy. Both group’s commitment to keeping the lace tradition alive and honouring the memory of all those early lace pioneers is to be commended.”
The South Armagh Lace Collective and the Clanrye Lace Group share the same vision which is essentially is to work with local communities to reawaken and re-ignite an interest in their respective lace traditions. It is important to highlight that these two traditions have immeasurable cultural value and have had an enormous impact on the social and economic heritage of this area within the district.
These traditions, have withstood the test of time and are a testament to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the women who made them. Clanrye Lace was developed in Newry in the 1920s as part of the Lace School at the Convent of Mercy whilst the women of Culloville and Crossmaglen in South Armagh have been making Carrickmacross Lace for the best part of 200 years.
The exhibition was hosted in the beautiful and historic Derrymore House which is the perfect meeting place for these two lace traditions given Bessbrook’s long and illustrious association with the Linen trade.
The Lúnasa Festival is part of the Mourne, Gullion, Strangford Aspiring UNESCO Global Geopark activity programme and funded by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council. To find a full list of events which includes a Creatures of the Night event in Derrymore House grounds in the 27 August, please visit the Ring of Gullion AONB website www.ringofgullion.org