The tradition of Borris Lace dates to Borris House, located in the centre of the village, and specifically Lady Harriet Kavanagh. Income from lace making relieved poverty for local women during the ravages of the Great Famine (1846-1848). Lady Harriet was well travelled and there are theories as to how she may have been influenced by the lace she came across in her travels – old Greek Lace, Venice, Genoese and Milanese lace. Lady Harriet was artistic and drew the designs herself. She then taught women on the estate how to work them.

Her son Arthur married his cousin Frances Forde Leithley in 1855. Frances took over the management of the lace industry after her marriage with the same interest and enthusiasm as her mother-in-law. Sponsorship of the lace industry was a responsibility passed down to each new mistress of the estate, from Mrs. Frances Kavanagh to Mrs. Helena Kavanagh and Mrs. Mina Alice McMorrough Kavanagh until it finally closed in the 1960s.

Borris Lacemakers is an innovative and creative community group established in 2016 and dedicated to the revival of the unique and distinctive Borris Lace which dates back to 1846.

The Borris Lacemakers collaborate with local communities to ensure that Borris Lace remains part of the local and national heritage. Borris Lacemakers offer workshops, demonstrations and events that encourage and inspire new lacemakers to carry on this noble tradition. In today’s busy society lacemaking is a wonderful way to relax and unwind, whilst playing your part in keeping the art of Borris lacemaking alive.

Through participation you will be able to meet like-minded people, and you will be given the opportunity to create timeless gifts for your friends and family. There are regular weekly classes while Borris Lace Starter Packs are also a great opportunity. The packs consist of patterns, instructions and all materials required to learn the basics of Borris lacemaking. Also included is an accompanying video on how to carry out the stitches, all contained in a most attractive presentation box. Reatailing at €35 these stater packs make a great gift for anyone interested in pursuing the craft of lacemaking. They can be purchased by emailing borrislacemakers@gmail.com or message facebook.com/borrislace