I went with the colour blue for my post on Thursday Doors this week.
This gorgeous stone building houses not only the Visitor Center and Tourist Office but at the rear is the entrance to the YMCA snooker club. In between the two, there is a small museum with some very interesting artifacts on display – like Tom Thumb’s glove, for instance.
It really is a tiny glove.
You didn’t argue with some of the past Mayors of Youghal.
During the Great Hunger (Irish Famine) of the mid-1800’s, a piece of Italian lace was unraveled by a nun, Mother Mary Ann Smith of Presentation Convent, Youghal, and carefully examined until the stitches were mastered. She then selected the children capable of the best needlework and taught them what she had learned. Their newly acquired skills brought money into their homes at a time when it was sorely needed to pay rent and buy food. No doubt quite a few evictions were avoided by those industrious children.
These pieces of lace are made by the needle and the thread is of very fine cotton.
The Convent Lace School was opened in 1852 and in 1863 a shawl of Youghal Lace was presented to the Princess of Wales on the occasion of her marriage to the future King Edward VII. It was the first of many presentations to the Royal Family. Queen Victoria’s coronation veil was made of Youghal Lace, as was a train worn by Queen Mary on a visit to India in 1911.
Several medals were awarded to Youghal Lace in international exhibitions over the years including the Chicago World’s Fair 1893 and the Exhibition of British Lace in London 1906. After Mary Ann Smith’s death in 1872, the work in the lace room was carried on by Sister Mary Regis Lynch, who produced many new designs. The Lace School flourished until World War I, which effectively did away with many lace markets. However, Youghal Lace continued until the late 1950s.
In 1987 history repeated itself when another nun from Presentation Convent Youghal, Sister Mary Coleman, along with Veronica Stuart from Carrigaline, Co. Cork, unraveled a piece of Youghal Lace, as Mary Ann Smith had done. The stitch work was studied and techniques noted, with Veronica Stuart even traveling to the Continent to perfect her skills in needle-lace. In 1989 she began to teach Youghal Needlelace, ensuring its survival. It is still being made today, having its own range of 100 separate stitches and is known for a hallmark shell border, alluding to the town’s marine history. It takes about three months to create a piece of lace the size of an A4 page, so I can appreciate why even a small piece of it fetched a price of £6,000 (€7,500) at an auction in London in 2012.
Thanks for stopping by this week, it’s amazing what you find behind a door. Why not have a look at some more Thursday Doors on Norm’s blog.