Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland. Charity Reg: 17397
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Focus on Museum Collection County Waterford Lace

In the 19th century lace making was encouraged as a suitable occupation for young girls and women. It allowed them to also earn a living and provided an income for married women giving them some financial independence. In 1868 Miss Keane of Cappoquin, began to teach lace making to the local girls using Italian patterns. For about ten years thirty girls were employed. ‘Miss Keane [Francis Annie Keane 1849-1920, Glenshelane House] and one of the women unraveled some old Venetian rose point, and so learned the method of working. Only Venetian laces and the finest kind of Reticella are made at this school. At the annual Exhibition of Industries at Lismore Castle for the cottagers of the Duke of Devonshire’s estate, specimens of Maltese lace are still shown, the workers being the remnant of a number once employed at the convent, Tallow, Co Waterford.’ (The Woman’s World, 1888).

In the 1880s James Brenan, head of the Cork School of Art visited convents throughout Munster to instruct the nuns in the art of lace making. In 1885 Queen Victoria ordered a fan of Cappoquin lace for Princess Beatrice’s wedding.

Lace Circa 1880


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