Search this Blog for anything you thought you might have seen here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wonderful weekend! Part 1.

Oh my! So much that I would like to tell but not enough time.

The three train journeys on Thursday took us from the very South of Ireland almost to the very North. 3 hours Cork to Dublin, 2 hours Dublin to Belfast and another hour to Larne.
The time just flew as we tatted most of the way. I was making Jane Eb's little SCMR favorite to way to use up a yard/metre of thread. I had printed little cards to stick them on to have something to give away. A lot of them never made it to the cards but were given away on the train!

Larne is on the East coast of Northern Ireland, just across from Scotland, the shortest ferry crossing goes to Stranraer.

We were met and taken to our 'place'!(You can read all about it if you wish). I had not known what to expect, except that it was a convent and maybe a little spartan!!

Oh my it was amazing. The original house was built in 1873 by the Smiley's. Sir Hugh had married a scot from the Coats and Clark thread how cool is that!!

In 1928 the house was sold and sold again in 1929 when it was bought by the nuns. The house had been stripped of all its furniture which had been auctioned...what a shame.

The nuns wanted it as a convent and a retreat for ladies. Nowadays it is a retreat and conference centre run to perfection by only 3 ladies, Sisters Margaret Rose Sister Anna and Maura. Nothing was too much trouble for these ladies to do for us!

In 1960 a new accomodation block was built, it was demolished and a new extension built and opened last September. It is fabulous, all ensuite rooms, lovely dining room and conference rooms. Perfect!

You can see my room, the purple arrow. Very simply, but elegantly furnished.

The extensive grounds were being redeveloped, here is the new Rose garden.

Old house/new extension.

Just too much to show you. Later we were given a tour of the old house.. I will show you that later if you would like.

We were greeted with a high tea of Beef Strogonof even before we saw our rooms, which was very welcome.

It chanced that on Thursday evening the Womens Institute in Larne meet here to do crafts and we were welcomed into their midst. What a talented lot of ladies making beaded jewellery, bargello, tapestry, and so much more, too much to take in. We of course invited them to our sessions!! and they came!

On Friday morning we made lace with the ladies of the Northern Ireland Lace Guild..our hosts. Another wonderfully talented lot.

Fergal decided to take an interest in other laces and became an honorary he thinks. he wants to post his experiments on the Leps own blog...see link in side bar...sometime soon!! when he gets his act together.

We had all been asked to make something with a butterfly theme that weekend. I took a tatting pattern but never even started it. This is the Carrickmacross lace pattern that I started.... you can see the pieces on the table.

I just about managed to get the bits all tacked together....tissue paper with the pattern on top, then the net and finally the organdy.

The only other time we got to make lace was on the Sunday morning..the rest of our time was action packed! I did get to start the couching on my project but it will take me a year to finish it!!

So why didn't I make a large tatted butterfly...well everyone who saw my tatting really appreciated for the first time!! and several wanted to learn,, from my guild and from the Women's Institute and from the Northerm Lacemakers so I had the makings of a few more tatters to fill my time.

In the afternoon we got to walk into Larne while some of the group met the Mayor.

On Friday evening two ladies came to show us their patchwork....a mind boggling selection of traditional patchwork, free form work and applique. I couldn't even begin to show you....not without permission anyway. But here is my group getting a closer look at the end of the talk.

Then it was our turn, each to talk about something we had tatted doileys in Blue lagoon and Coral Reef, 3 Geckos and a series of Hearts Desire in all my colours went down well as also did samples of my threads...they had never seen the like!!

Our lace makers do so many things....Carrickmacross, Limerick, Youghal, Tambour, Bandon, Bobbin, Mountmellick embroidery and more.

Jill had recovered an old coaching parasol, simply beautiful.

This is Mountmellick embroidery, white stitches on white sateen heavy fabric...I am trying this too.

Mary's knitted Doiley.

I am not even sure what kind of needlelace this is by Jackie.

Limerick lace harp.

Irish Crochet...

A fairy in Carrickmacross....

and so much more...there were 33 in our group from Cork.

And that was just our first full day.


  1. Oh Wow Pam! I feel as if I were there with you. What an excellent post. Can't wait for part 2!

    ...p.s. the irish crochet is exquisite!

  2. I think the weekend would have been like a dream - too much to take in. Somehow, I don't think that Part 2 will begin to cover it all.
    What an idyllic location - so lovely to see all that green!

  3. Sherry you were all there inside me, your influence made me glow.

    Maureen, I don't think Part 2 will cover it either. I can't even show a fraction of it as I don't want to offend the people who showed their talent. Thanks for your interest.

  4. Have you read what Fergal has written on his blog?

  5. I like the lace harp! I notice the Traditional Lace Makers of Ireland bag has the same harp on it. Was it chosen simply because it's a symbol of Ireland, or do people in the group also play? One of these days I'm going to design a tatted harp. (I do play, in case you hadn't guessed.)

  6. Oh my! What a lovely, scenic trip. And the lace...of all kinds...what a wonderful experience for you.
    We have nothing like that in USA, that I know of...certainly not in the backdesert of New Mexico.
    thank you for sharing all the photos and the narritive. I could feel the breeze and smell the ocean..(sigh)...
    X Bev

  7. Hi Miranda thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. The Harp is just pour Logo, a modern drawing. It is the most common symbol of Ireland. No one plays that I know of.

    Hi Bev, glad you are enjoying it. It takes so long to write these blog just has to be worth it.
    Did you read the lep blog too....even more photos.

  8. Hi Pamela, Oh my what a beautiful place to stay in. It looks peaceful. Thank you for sharing your day well part of your day. I have to go read part 2. The lace is all lovely. I like the fairy, she is adorable.

  9. Hi Carol, thanks for stopping by and especially for leaving a comment.
    Sometimes I wonder if it is worth all the time it takes to blog.

  10. I know what you mean Pamela. It does take a lot to blog a long post and put pictures up. But I so enjoyed reading about your adventure and seeing places I have never been and will probably never be able to see in person.

    I think more people read the posts but don't leave messages to let you know they were there.

    But I do enjoy your pictures and posts. Thank you for taking the time to blog it.


  11. Wow! That house is incredible! That is pretty cool about the former owner being an heir to the Coats & Clarks fortune! Cool!

    The laces you showed were absolutely beautiful! Thanks for all the fabulous pics! :)


I love your comments they keep me blogging.
Every comment is much appreciated, but please try not to use my real name in a comment or on your blog. Tatskool is my on line name and one that I really like. Thanks.