Kenmare Lace

Kenmare Lace and Design Centre Opening Hours: 10:30 am to 1:00 pm (Mon – Fri)

The second Biennial Kenmare Lace festival ran from March 19 to March 22 2015

It was another very successful event.

Once again, Kenmare was the focal point of the lace-making world as enthusiasts of this delicate art gathered to take part in the second Kenmare Lace Festival from 19 to 22 March. There were workshops, competitions, lectures, exhibitions and fashion shows, not to mention the lace-bedecked windows of the shops and restaurants all over town

The festival, at The Kenmare Heritage Centre, was ably opened Declan Murphy of Failte Ireland on Thursday 19th   with ‘The Heritage Lace Experience’, a wonderful exhibition of antique lace from around Cork and Kerry.

The exhibition  drew expressions of awe and wonder from the many visitors as they examined the minute details of the delicate lace, much which was made in Kenmare by the Poor Clare nuns, who practiced and taught lace-making in the local convent since the 1860s. We would also like to thank all those who lent their precious family heirlooms to the exhibition.

The opening was followed by a talk ‘Introducing Lacemaking to children’ by Nora Finnegan, featuring work completed by Kerry schoolchildren under Nora’s tutelage
Commemorative Circle of Lace Made by the children of Kenmare Primary School and local women.
Made by Lauragh Primary School, Co. Kerry
Made by the children of Drumnacurra Primary School, Co. Kerry

The International Lace Exhibition, featuring the entries in the Contemporary and Traditional Lacemaking competitios, proved a great attraction. It opened on Friday at the Carnegie Ants Centre. Entries came from Australia, Scotland, Spain and Ireland.

The workshops in Kenmare needlepoint lace, Limerick and Carrickmacross lace, bobbin and traditional crochet lace, drew enthusiasts from all over Ireland, and some ladies even travelled all the way from Italy and from Norway especially for the Festival.

as did the Luxury of Irish Lace Exhibition, featuring work by the teachers. The winners of the Contemporary Lace competition came from Scotland, Australia and Ireland.

There was a wonderful fashion show in the Park Hotel Kenmare, featuring award-winning Irish designers such as Helen Cody, Tina Griffin and Alice Halliday, and presentations by local boutiques and stores such as O’Sullivan Ford, The White Room, White Willow, Nest Simplicity and Neidín Hats. Among the show-stopping raffle prizes were designer items, jewellery, paintings and many vouchers for fashion and holiday items, and, of course, all the glamorous, beautifully-dressed ladies present found a little goodie bag under their seat. The best-dressed lady award went to Elaine Kelliher from Kilgarvan, who wore a beautiful red dress with matching accessories. This prize was sponsored by Sean Taaffe Hair & Beauty.

This year, the Fashion-Able competition was sponsored by the National Tailoring Academy, and was judged by Sinead Doyle of the Academy, Nora Finnegan, Chairperson of Kenmare Lace Festival and award-winning designer, Helen Cody, who had no easy task in choosing the winners. Runner up, Aimé Ann-Marie O’ Shea, won a tailoring course at the National Tailoring Academy and €200, and the overall winner, Evelina Cecekova, won a week long tailoring course and €500. Both our prize-winners are attending the Mallow College of Design and Tailoring.

The Festival culminated in a Lace Luncheon in the luxurious surroundings of the Sheen Falls Lodge, and featured a walk-around by students of the Mallow College of Design and Tailoring, the couturiers of the future.

There are so many people we would like to thank for their help and support: Pobalscoil Inbhear Scéine, the Carnegie Arts Centre, the Park Hotel Kenmare, Sheen Falls Lodge, the local shops and restaurants, Senator Mark Daly, Michael Healy Rae TD, Councillor Dan McCarthy, Noel Crowley, the lacy window artists, the many volunteers who gave up their time to curate our exhibitions, and everyone else who helped in any way towards the success of this, the second Kenmare Lace Festival.

The final acknowledgement must go to the organising committee, without whose hard work and dedication the Kenmare Lace Festival would not have happened. So well done, Nora Finnegan, Anne Dunne, Emer Finnegan, Siobhán Thoma and Kathlyn O’Brien – take a bow!

In 2013, the Kenmare Lace Festival won the prestigious Best Innovative Gathering award by the Irish Hotels Federation.

This year we were delighted to once again host two wonderful competitions.

Our Fashion-Able Competition is for third level textile/design students and our International Competition is for anyone and everyone interested in lacemaking using traditional techniques.

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