Saturday February 22, 2020

This Life: The fabric of Ireland

Pamela Burke believes that west Cork can revive the old tradition of linen production for which it was once famous, writes Fiona Kelly.

26th February, 2012
Pamela Burke in her shop, Burke By Design, in Clonakilty, Co Cork, with some embroidered linen of her own making. Photo: Cillian Kelly

For hundreds of years, the word "linen" has been bound up with that of "Ireland". An English traveller in Ireland writing in Tudor times said that "the native (or wild) Irish wore shirts of 30 or 40 ells of linen dyed with saffron". Given that an ell was a yard and a quarter, this was a shirt to leave Charvet in the shade.

In fact, at that time, 30 yards of fabric was regarded scant amount for...

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