The County Cork Industrial Association was a co-operative of lace makers based in the south of Ireland at the end of the 19th Century and beginning of the 20th century. It was part of the Irish Industries Association, an organisation founded by the Countess of Aberdeen, Ishbel Hamilton Gordon, in May 1886 as a co-operative movement. Lady Aberdeen was the Vicereine of Ireland from 1886 to 1887 and 1906 to 1915. As it’s patroness, she was one of the driving forces behind the success of this organisation.
It sold Irish handmade laces, such as Irish Crochet Lace, Limerick Lace and Carrickmacross Lace, at workers prices, at various exhibitions held in Ireland and around the world in the period from 1886 to 1914 through the Irish Industries Association. Irish lace was world renowned for its’ artistic design and elegant finish. The items in the County Cork Industrial Association Collection show how fine the crochet threads and the stitches were, leading to the finest quality in workmanship.
Production of handmade lace in Ireland was encouraged as a way to alleviate poverty, particularly after the Irish Famines of 1846 and 1847. However, the level of quality in design and stitches attained was the result of the many lace schools set up to teach design in the craft of lace making. This craft training included drawing and how to make patterns. Assistance in this training was given from Mr Alan Cole of the Science and Art Department, south Kensington, London and Mr James Brennan of the Crawford College of Art and Design.
I hope you enjoyed this small story of Irish heritage.