An Introduction to Kenmare Needle Lace

With Fiona Harrington

This workshop is an introduction to Irish Kenmare Needlepoint lace. The aim of the workshop will be to complete a 9 square traditional stitch sampler. The 9 square sampler provides the format for the participant to learn and perfect 9 different needle lace stitches, commonly practiced by local lace makers in Kenmare.


The workshop will begin with an illustrated talk on the history of Irish Lace. Fiona will show samples of the 5 styles of Lace associated with Ireland- Needlepoint Lace, Carrickmacross Lace, Limerick Lace, Clones Crochet Lace and Headford Bobbin Lace. Each process will be demonstrated by Fiona to ensure students gain an understanding of the differences involved in constructing each style.


Participants will then be shown how to couch the linear structure for the needle lace sampler. This will be followed by instruction for each individual stitch. The final element of the learning process is to remove the lace from the supporting backing fabric. The workshop is designed for both beginners and more experienced lace makers, with an interest in Irish Lace making. The tutor will adapt her approach to suit a mixture of abilities and skills, ensuring everybody can work at their own pace and to a high standard.

*This workshop is the perfect starting place for those of you who have no needle lace experience!


About your tutor:

Fiona Harrington is a visual artist who works with handmade lace. She studied fine art, textile design and lacemaking, and has been the recipient of the Thomas Dammann Bursary, RDS Graduate Prize, National Craft Award, Eleanor De La Branchardiere Prize, Traditional Lacemakers of Ireland Award, and a Per Cent for Art commission. She has exhibited and travelled extensively to give talks and demonstrations on Irish lace, at, amongst others, the Textile Arts Centre, New York, 2018 and the Straight Out of Ireland exhibition, Pennsylvania, 2019.


Fiona was recently selected as curator of A Space Between, an international Lace exhibition which is part of initiatives celebrating Galway as European Capital of Culture 2020.

You can see Fiona's artist page here.