Thursday Doors

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I went with the colour blue for my post on Thursday Doors this week.

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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.

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It really is a tiny glove.

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You didn’t argue with some of the past Mayors of Youghal.

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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.

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These pieces of lace are made by the needle and the thread is of very fine cotton.

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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.

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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.

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About Jean Reinhardt

Author of 'A Pocket Full of Shells' an Amazon International best seller, Jean writes young adult and historical fiction. She has been known to shed a tear over Little House on the Prairie.
This entry was posted in History, Ireland, society, Thursday Doors, victorian ireland and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Thursday Doors

  1. Norm 2.0 says:

    Loved the history in this one Jean. I always learn so much on Thursdays 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bikerchick57 says:

    Thanks for the pretty blue doors and the history lesson of Tom Thumb and lace. I didn’t realize that lace was a big thing in the mid to late 1800’s and I had never heard of Youghal lace. The things I learn here! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. joanfrankham says:

    That’s very interesting about Youghal lace, I wonder can you still find it in the shops down there? though I don’t think I would be paying £6 000 for it!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • A group of women meet up in the library once a week and teach anyone interested how to make it, as far as I can remember. Not sure if what they produce would fetch such a high price, though, I think most of them do it for a hobby. I must have a look in town for any samples on display.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dan Antion says:

    I have to agree with Mary, I love the blue doors and, of course, the history lesson. I’m going to pack this off in an email to my wife, because she will like the lace history. Thanks for adding that, Jean.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. socialbridge says:

    Fascinating!
    Love that blue door too.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. jesh stg says:

    Love the brick of this building and they choose a good door for it:) Especially the last piece of lace is very intricate – and so beautiful – that goes way beyond my skills of crochet! Interesting how they learned those stitches. Sometimes we don’t know how much we benefit from the ones who have gone before us, who have documented it and put it in books so everyone could gain from their knowledge!
    Before I forget,- I had to smile about your comment last week that your husband eats salad “because he knows it’s good for him.” He probably had some encouragement from you:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m amazed at how they were able to unpick an old piece of lace and replicate the pattern. That’s so clever. Your last sentence made me laugh. My husband doesn’t cook, so ‘hunger is good sauce’ as they say. I ‘encourage’ him to eat a salad by not cooking anything except the fish or meat that goes with it, lol. 😉 Works every time!

      Like

      • jesh stg says:

        I can’t imagine how long it would take to unravel and record a pattern of lace that way (because my sense is that one would have to go reverse!)
        I can see with the salad that you hold all the cards:):)
        I know this is off the subject, but the last two weeks I notice that your comments come back well after 3 pm (in Cal.) -do you ever go to sleep?

        Another random comment is something you might need to think about. Another blogger-author asked on his blog if people would be willing to have his just released book on their blog. I responded ( I do it in the sidebar), because there may come a time that I need that favor too. But after that, I thought, other authors I regularly write to, like you, may like the same thing.
        Since I’m the one who does the invite, there’s nothing attached to it. I do it as long as I want/can. Maybe you like to think about it and let me know. The only thing you would have to do is load up the photo of the book you want to be displayed and email it to me. I’ll give you the email whenever you’re ready.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. jan says:

    I had no idea Tom Thumb was a real person! Fascinating post, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What fascinating history! I can’t imagine keeping what went where and how straight by unraveling the lace! I watched for a short time women in France making lace. They had magnifying glasses and lap boards/frames and great lighting. What an achievement to make such beautiful and fine lace back in the days before there were such things!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Jim says:

    nice post.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I can NOT imagine doing all that lace by hand. Phew! Love the blue doors.

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Suvi says:

    I love a door with a story!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. inesephoto says:

    Wow, amazing collection!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Kash Pals says:

    An interesting read on Youghal’s beautiful lace.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. pommepal says:

    What immense patience that nun had to teach herself how to do the lace then to teach the children. Nice blue colour of the door.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. My gosh. That’s some intricate lace!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Aquileana says:

    Those laces look great, love their details… I love these relics from the past… sending best wishes! Aquileana 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Prior-2001 says:

    Thanks for the history here and the way u showed the pics of the glove “got me” – because it seemed normal sized and then so small – ha!

    Liked by 1 person

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