Antique Clones Lace – Irish Crochet

Shamrock Clones Knot Jabot

I first saw the Shamrock Clones Lace Jabot, below, in a chest of drawers, among other pieces of Lace, belonging to Eithne D’Arcy and her family, the Mc Gorrys, who were lace buyers in Clones up until the circa 1940s. Eithne told me that it was crocheted by an old woman in the hills beyond Roslea. It was probably crocheted with the help of her neighbours or family. When it was finished, she walked about 20 miles over hills and tracks it to sell it to Mrs McGorry. It was brown black, from the turf fire in her cottage. The McGorrys staff then ‘did it up’ in their laundry, so that it became white, crisp and beautiful.

I have always loved this piece, as it has the shamrock Clones knot filling stitch and would get it from the drawer each time I visited Eithne in the 1990s. When she died in November 1999, Eithne’s daughter, Daphne, kindly sold it to me and it is now a treasured part of my collection.

Venetian Needlepoint lace – sewn in early 18th century

according to lace experts  Jules Kliot (Lacis) and Anne MacIver (Sunnyvale Lace Museum)

The second piece is Venetian Point lace and dates from the early 18th century, according to lace experts. The bottom edging is done in bobbin lace, to make it easier to remove for washing purposes. This Venetian Point lace piece (small gros point) has been cut at either end and was part of a larger piece. It was part of the possessions of Lady Langham of Tempo Manor, in Fermanagh, formerly the seat of a senior branch of the Maguires, up until the early 19th century. We can only imagine its history… It has a raised outline around the motifs, which is one of the identifying features of Innishmacsaint lace, and which is a feature of one of the Brady neck bands. Comparing the Venetian Point lace piece with the Brady neck bands, I became more aware of how Venetian Point lace would have influenced Clones Lace and Irish Crochet lace in the late 1840s-1850s, before the  people began crocheting their own motifs, inspired by the wild flowers and commonplace items around them ( see Clones Lace, 2nd edition, by Máire Treanor, Lacis 2010)

1st and 2nd neckband are Clones lace samples from Edward Brady, a Clones Lace Buyer

The 3rd neckband was worn by the mother of Dorothy Scott, a school teacher in Temora, New South Wales between 1903-4. All three neckbands were crocheted by the same group of crocheters in Clones.

The 3rd and 4th neckbands are samples and came from a trunk, belonging to a Clones lace buyer in Clones – Edward Brady, who was a lace exporter from the late nineteenth century – 1940. Dorothy Scott sent me the third piece  from Australia. It belonged to her mother, a school teacher in the Boundary Villa School, near Temora, New South Wales, in about 1903-4. All 3 pieces were made by the same group of women in the Clones area, as they have the same motifs and shape. The  second piece has needle filling stitches. The 3rd and 5th pieces have the same water lily motifs. They are very similar to Venetian Needlepoint lace, which inspired Irish Crochet Lace.

More to be added…



8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Pat Wafer on August 19, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    The first time I saw Clones Irish Crochet was in an Interweave Crochet Magazine. I was sitting in a bookstore coffee shop in the Mall of America, passing time with my daughter. She, knowing how much I love crafting, went and picked out several craft magazines. I was flipping through the pages of the Interweave Crochet Magazine and saw the Masc Fidil designed and made by Maire Treanor. I was so impressed by it that I purchased the magazine thinking the pattern was in it but it was not. As a result I began looking for the pattern. I also began searching for information regarding Clones Lace and was impressed with the history of it and as a result, I have become a fan of Clones Lace and am still in the process of learning the techniques of making the motifs. Believe it or not, the magazine stays open on the page where the picture of the mask is. Cool, huh?

    Patricia of Minnesota


  2. Posted by cloneslace on August 19, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    On a grey rainy cool August day, you make me smile:)


  3. Posted by Candy S on September 16, 2011 at 12:57 am

    I also have been searching for the pattern for the Clones Lace mask. I thought it was so beautiful and unique…a real eye catcher on a glass table, or in a frame on your bedroom wall. Truly beautiful. I hope I find this pattern before my tired eyes cannot handle that fine thread anymore…

    Candy of Milwaukee, Wisconsin


    • Posted by cloneslace on September 16, 2011 at 10:34 am

      Hi Candy
      I have 2 ideas re: the mask, which I have discussed with Interweave Crochet. One is to do the mask as a pattern for an article in their mag. As I am currently doing the shawlette with them, it would be in the summer or Fall 2012 issue.
      The second idea is to do an ebook of the mask. I am researching both ideas and I will let you know which idea I run with. Thank you for your interest.


      • Posted by Mary Juden on November 14, 2011 at 1:06 pm

        I just saw a picture of the mask and find it beautiful. I do so hope you make the pattern. It really is so unique.

      • Posted by cloneslace on November 15, 2011 at 12:39 pm

        I have done a few masks at this stage, but Crochet Traditions wants me to do the one which is photographed here. I’m glad that you like it.
        I will probably do a book on masks next year. I can’t include this one until after it is published:)

  4. I was also shown how to crochet the basics by my Gran for a Brownie exam at 8 yrs old –
    we lived in Dublin and in my teens I visited my aunt’s mother in Arklow who showed me the Irish Lace motifs – I became fascinated and made my first Lace Blouse for my Mum in my teens.
    For my Sixth Form Prom I wore a 2 ply Victorian High neck Blouse and have enjoyed making a wide variety of Items since. I first found a book by Eithne d’Arcy in the Dublin Museum which gave step by Step instructions and photos – So when I planned my Wedding dress (1982 )
    I decided to make a Lace Motif Jacket – Roses & Shamrocks in 2.25 inch squares with Net sleeves – taking me 6 months to complete ! This month I got a copy of Interweave and LO – the Shamrock that I used is shown in Maire’s article – I am delighted to say the blouses still wash as white and have been worn recently. Over the last few years my spare time is still spent making, teaching and designing whenever I can. IT is a very rewarding part of my life !!


    • Posted by cloneslace on February 21, 2012 at 8:42 pm

      Hi Dawn

      Where do you live now? I would love to meet you if I’m anywhere near you. I get the impression you live in the States. Hopefully I’ll be there in July. Your Lace Motif jacket seems lovely. I’d also love the see the sixth form prom blouse you did! You were before your time! -thinking of all the wonderful designs that are being done in Eastern Europe now:)


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