Linked by a Thread

Ulster Canal Stores Launches Clones Lace Exhibition “Linked by a Thread”

Ulster Canal Stores Launches Clones Lace Exhibition "Linked by a Thread"

The Management and Staff of the Ulster Canal Stores are delighted to announce the much-anticipated opening of the newly designed Clones Lace Exhibition, ‘Linked by a Thread’. Minister Heather Humprey’s  who has shown a great interest in this project will officially open the Exhibition on Monday the May 20th, 2019 at 10am. The Chairman of Clones Development Society, Michael Dowds said ‘This project has been a long time in the making and is a collaboration of hard work between Clones Development Society, The Ulster Canal Stores, Clones Lacemakers and Monaghan County Council. It is an honour to house such an important piece of local heritage within the walls of this beautiful historic building and is fundamental to telling the story of Clones Lace and its origins.’

Funded under the Town & Village Renewal Scheme through the Department of Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht, Monaghan County Council and Clones Development Society the exhibition weaves the tale of this unique form of crochet lace, from its humble beginnings as a social enterprise in the post Famine period of the 1850’s, to its revival by dedicated locals in the 1980’s.

Designed by the award-winning team behind the GPO Witness Visitor Centre, Martello Media, the exhibition aims to educate, preserve and promote this traditional craft, and showcase the history and stories of the people whose hands it has passed through over the decades. This is the only museum dedicated entirely to the crochet lace, and the collection holds stunning antique pieces ranging from the Victorian era, right through to more modern designs such as spectacular wedding dresses. Manager of the Ulster Canal Stores,  Deirdre Kelly said she is delighted that this exhibition has come to fruition and thanked the staff of the Ulster Canal Stores in particular Kathleen Cassidy, The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Monaghan County Council and Clones Development Society for their help and support throughout this process.  She said she would especially like to thank the families of former lace makers who have been very supportive of the Exhibition throughout the entire process. Deirdre said ‘The exhibition very much emphasises the importance of women and their contribution to society in days gone by. It showcases their skills and imagination and allows us a glimpse into the past’ she stated. ‘Our plans are to conserve as many antique pieces as possible and develop an archive of relevant documents for future research purposes.’ 

Visitors can immerse themselves in a short film which portrays the destitution of the region following the famine, before embarking on their own journey of discovery through the timeline of Clones Lace and its dedicated makers. The museum includes a learning space for adults and children and in June will host the annual International Clones Lace Summer School. As part of this project a dedicated website will also be launched and will include a mechanism for purchasing this beautiful produce online as well as showcasing the cultural and heritage assets of Clones on a worldwide stage.

This family friendly museum is based in the Ulster Canal Stores and is free to visit. It also has a lovely onsite restaurant with ample parking space which includes parking for people with disabilities. It will open to the public from Tuesday the 21st of May 2019  onwards and we will be delighted to welcome groups, families, visitors, tourists and schools etc to visit this beautiful exhibition.

Photographs by Eugene T Hamill