Irish Crochet Lace listed as part of our cultural heritage

By Rosaleen Dwyer

Rosaleen Dwyer is the County Heritage Officer at South Dublin County Council – every week she gives us an insight into the natural heritage around us and the beautiful biodiversity of the plants and creatures

A CLONDALKIN based group of crochet makers, the Irish Crochet Lace Revival Group, has succeeded in adding the craft of Irish Crochet Lace to a national list of Irish cultural heritage resources.

The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD, launched the permanent National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage on Thursday.

Fiona Guinan Minister Josepha Madigan and Carmel Lyons of the Irish Crochet Revival Group 1

Fiona Guinan, Minister for Culture and Heritage Josepha Madigan, with Carmel Lyons of the Irish Crochet Revival Group

This list acknowledges and promotes Ireland’s rich cultural heritage and is a recognition of a series of unique Irish cultural practices from around the country.

Unlike our built or our natural heritage, ‘intangible cultural heritage’ represents living forms of heritage and includes skills, customs, or traditions that are unique to Ireland. Already on this national list are activities that include Hurling, Uileann Piping, and Harp Playing.

Ireland is a signatory to the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. This convention obliges member states to identify and promote examples of each state’s unique living culture.

Irish Crochet Lace is a uniquely Irish tradition which evolved here during the 19th century from the early needle lace tradition. Instead of using needles, Irish Crochet Lace uses very fine crochet hooks and cotton threads and in the past, household items and high fashion pieces made from Irish Crochet Lace were exported all over the world.

The number of people actually practising Irish Crochet in Ireland today has dwindled however, mainly due to more easily available, cheaper, machine-made laces. 

For this reason, the Irish Crochet Revival Group was formed in Clondalkin in 2017 with assistance from South Dublin County Council under the County Heritage Plan. The Group aims to revive interest in this uniquely Irish craft by drawing together remaining crafters in Dublin and linking with other remaining groups and individuals around the country.

The group is keen to retain and improve those skills remaining in the community while also teaching it to new generations. The group also has lots of fun creating innovative and modern uses for Irish Crochet Lace!

The Irish Crochet Revival Group meets in the County Library in Tallaght on every second Saturday of every month, from 10am to 12 noon.

For further details of the Intangible Cultural Heritage programme see:

https://www.chg.gov.ie/arts/culture/projects-and-programmes/intangible-cultural-heritage/

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