Avoca Handweavers

On my recent trip home to Ireland, I paid a visit to the Avoca Handweavers Mill in Avoca, Co. Wicklow. I have vague memories of visiting it as a child and was keen to visit again.

Avoca Mill by knitahedron

These days, the Avoca name is better known as a lifestyle brand, with a very popular chain of shops and restaurants. It’s origins however are as a weaving mill, Ireland’s oldest in fact, as proudly proclaimed in the photo above!

Shuttle at Avoca Handweavers by knitahedron

Most of the weaving today is done on power looms and there are only two remaining handweavers employed. You can read a little more about the history of the mill and the company on their website.

Blankets at Avoca Handweavers by knitahedron

The weaving rooms are open to the public and you are free to explore to your heart’s content. There are information signs to guide you and explain the various processes.

Yarn cones at Avoca Handweavers by knitahedron

At entrance there’s a small museum type space with memorabilia and a few antiques along with a short video documentary running on a loop.

Blankets at Avoca Handweavers by knitahedron

The memory that stayed with me from childhood was the smell, and it’s still there. That lovely sheepy, wooly smell of lanolin and spinning oil!

Sheep at Avoca Handweavers

We chatted briefly to the two handweavers who told us that demand for the blankets is still high in both the traditional Irish loving markets of Germany and the US along with the emerging Japanese market. The Japanese love their aran jumpers!

Avoca Handweavers by knitahedron

I have to confess that I was so busy snapping away, that I neglected to read all the info signs! However, as far as I know, these lovely, stringy, complex contraptions are used to line up and wind the wool onto the giant spools for the weft threads.

Avoca Handweavers by knitahedron

If you’re ever in that neck of the woods, do pop in. I’m going to leave the rest of the post to the pretty pics and you can find even more in my Flickr album. Enjoy!

Avoca Handweavers by knitahedron

Avoca Handweavers by knitahedron

Avoca Handweavers by knitahedron

Avoca Handweavers by knitahedron

Avoca Handweavers by knitahedron

Avoca Handweavers by knitahedron

Avoca Handweavers by knitahedron

Avoca Handweavers by knitahedron

Avoca Handweavers by knitahedron

Avoca Handweavers by knitahedron

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