Sheelin Antique Irish Lace Museum

March 16, 2010

I was doing some on-line research to prepare for my St. Patrick’s Day post and found a wonderful and informative website for the Sheelin Antique Irish Lace Museum ( The museum is located in the village of Bellanaleck, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. It holds 700 pieces representing the five main types of lace made in Ireland (Irish Crochet, Youghal, Carrickmacross, Limerick and Inishmacsaint) between the mid 19th and early 20th centuries. I had never before heard of Inishmacsaint lace which, according to the website, is very similar to Youghal needlelace. When finished it has a raised three-dimensional appearance.

Interestingly, each type of lace was named for the area in which it was invented and several of the laces, Irish Crochet and Youghal in particular, were the basis for the burgeoning lace industry which was started as a means of support for a country suffering from the failed potato crop of 1846. Once again, another example of needlework as an integral part of history. To take a virtual tour of the museum click on the museum tab on the left side of the page then click on the “virtual tour” tab at the bottom left. Type “sheelin” into the keyword search box located under the “home” tab then click the picture of the museum. Be sure to enlarge the pictures to full-screen mode to really appreciate the tour.    

Happy St. Patrick’s Day y’all!!

Note: Photograph courtesy of museum website.


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