Sharing family celebrations and special occasions with friends near and far is something we so look forward to as we embrace 2021

In partnership with Carlow County Council

Creating connections is what it’s all about. Gifting bespoke and personalised pieces that connect us with our past, our present and those dear to us makes memories that will last through the years. Connecting with the maker of your gift and having direct input into how your gift is designed is an amazing experience, rewarding not just for the receiver but for the giver.

Helping us to create those memories are a group the creators who, part and parcel of the Carlow landscape, engage, dream and create those special pieces that mark and remind us of those precious moments. Meet those involved in revitalising the unique craft for Borris Lace; as well as the  finest of lace makers, wood turners and  textile artists all creating unique pieces to mark the joys of births, weddings and special family occasions. In Carlow, you’ll find it all and more.

The hidden lace of Co Carlow

Workshop at Borris House

The history of Borris Lace

Lacemaking was introduced to Borris by Lady Harriet McMorrough Kavanagh during the Great Famine of the mid-1840s. In a brave effort to help the local people, she taught lacemaking as a means to provide an income to distressed families.

Despite a decline in the demand for Irish handmade lace after the Second World War, the popularity and success of Borris Lace meant it survived, albeit in a limited way, until the 1960s when it finally closed.

Reviving Borris Lace

Today, Borris Lacemakers is an innovative and creative community group breathing new life into a local tradition, sharing skills and stories and making connections within the community and beyond. 

Borris Lacemakers create exquisite pieces from existing patterns, taking the craft to new levels. They use traditional techniques in new designs influenced by contemporary life. 

Although this past year has presented challenges, Borris Lacemakers are keen to connect with people around the country who have an interest in lace. Connecting and participating will never be so easy as they plan to bring some activities online. You can find them now on facebook.com/borrislace; Twitter @Borrislacemaker; email at borrislacemakers@gmail.com.

Mary O’Neil, The Lace Gallery

Carrickmacross Lace is an enchanting craft which originated in Ireland in the 1820s, inspired by Italian lace. With a passion for design, lace maker Mary O’Neil produces smaller items to make them commercially viable rather than the intricate designs of years gone by. Mary has recently published a Carrickmacross Lace workbook, available on her website, thelacegallery.com.

Focus on the Forest

William & Cheryl Stanley, Ballyshane Irish Wood Design

Ballyshane is a multi-award-winning company founded by William McHucheon and his wife Cheryl Stanley in 2017. From their workshop in Carlow, they create beautiful luxury serving boards handcrafted from 100% sustainable hardwoods. William has been a wood turner and furniture maker for over 19 years and Cheryl has worked in the craft industry for over 10 years. 

Glenn Lucas, Glenn Lucas Woodturning

Turning full-time for 30 years, Glenn Lucas balances his production of functional ware with an extensive training schedule and since 2020, a remote tuition programme, all run from his Woodturning Study Centre in Co Carlow. Vouchers for day-long woodturning classes for beginner to advanced are available for you to enjoy a day turning or to improve your skills.

Designer Textiles

Miriam Lloyd, Christening Generations

Miriam Lloyd lives in Ballon, Co Carlow. A dressmaker all her life, she set up her business Christening Generations in 2015 and specialises in making family heirloom Christening gowns. Miriam redesigns wedding gowns, communion dresses and veils into precious gowns for families to pass on to future generations.

Siobhán Jordan, Siobhán Jordan Art

Based in rural Carlow, Siobhán Jordan’s work looks at the emotions familiar landscapes and memories evoke. Detailed stitch work is married to a free, almost abstract painting style. She’d inspired by the landscape around her, photos of which she uses in her work, layering images with paint and stitch until the work reveals itself.