Jackie Magnin making bobbin lace.

Headford Lacemaking accepted to National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage

HEADFORD Lacemaking has been accepted to the National Inventory for Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The establishment and maintenance of this national inventory is one of Ireland’s obligations under the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. It protects, promotes and celebrates Irish living cultural heritage practices, customs, crafts and tradition.

Headford Lace is a style of torchon bobbin lace historically made in Headford. Historical evidence shows that the lacemaking industry in the town dated back to around 1765, making it one of the oldest Irish laces.

Headford Lace Project (HLP) has worked hard since its foundation in 2016 to research, revive and reimagine this special craft through workshops, demonstrations, community collaborations, and events that inspire.

So far over 80 apprentices have been trained in the craft of Headford Lace and HLP looks forward to welcoming more learners and improvers back to Headford soon.

Announcing its inclusion in the inventory, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media, Catherine Martin, said: “Living cultural heritage practices require knowledge and skill, and foster our sense of community and place. These practices thrive through the dedicated communities who sustain and pass on their skills.”

Official State recognition would will raise awareness of these practices and traditions.

Galway County Council heritage officer Marie Mannion said Headford Lace being accepted to the national inventory was the result of all the hard work and dedication of the members of Headford Lace Project.

“It is interesting to note,” she commented, “that Queen Victoria purchased £20 of Headford lace in 1847 and the only surviving piece of Headford lace was a piece that came from Headford Castle c1904. But now thanks to the work of the Headford Lace Project 80 people have been instructed in the craft of Headford lace and their work is now recognised as an important aspect of Ireland’s intangible cultural heritage.”

HLP chair Eilís Nic Dhonncha added: “We are thrilled that this beautiful craft tradition has been recognised for its intrinsic value and that it will be safeguarded alongside other important parts of Irish culture and celebrated for generations to come.”