The Limerick Lace competition at this year’s Limerick Show attracted 17 exhibitors, with judges Veronica Stuart and Eleanor Calnan paying tribute to an exceptionally high standard.
Sponsored by the Archive Section of Limerick City and Co Council and by Limerick ICA, the overall prize was won by Carmel O’Donnell of Golden, Co Tipperary.
Ethel Patterson came second overall but she also won the ICA prize for the best piece of Limerick Lace done by an ICA member — about one-third of entries were from ICA ladies.
Ethel has the distinction of being a member of ICA in Donegal Federation, as well as a Women’s Institute member in Tyrone. Meanwhile, Marie O’Brien from Milford, Castletroy, in Limerick, got third overall prize.
Anne Gabbett, along with Limerick Federation craft officer Carol O’Keeffe, began organising classes in Limerick Lace about four years ago, when then federation president Anne Maria Dennison called for a revival of the craft.
“It was the year of craft and she was anxious the heritage of Limerick Lace wouldn’t be lost. We were very fortunate to get a gifted craft teacher, Marian O’Callaghan, from Ballyhea,” says Anne, who has been delighted by the very definite revival — 30 people are learning it at any one time in Limerick.
One class takes place in the Millennium Centre, Raheen, while another runs in Limerick City, with both taught by Marian.
“The women who come are needlework people, craftspeople who just love craft. Some have been there from the beginning — there’s a core group of about four or five in each class who have stayed with it.
"I’m delighted to see the craft kept going. We have this opportunity of learning it correctly with Marian —Limerick Lace has a lot of stitches.”
Classes begin again on October 5, when feedback from the judges on the pieces entered at Limerick Show will be given.