Cushendale Woollen Mills

Cushendale Woollen Mills

Even the name is beautiful – Cushendale. I am of course talking about the woollen mill in the quaint and historical town of Graiguenamanagh in Kilkenny, Ireland.

We have been in Ireland (the Republic and Northern Ireland) for a few weeks now. The main reason for our visit has been to catch up with family but naturally, to visit Ireland also means to become a tourist.

I have always wanted to visit Cushendale Woollen Mills. From the other side of the world I had googled their website and watch clips on YouTube.

The mill, one of Ireland’s few remaining woollen mills still in operation today has been a family owned business for generations.

The history of the mill begins in 1204 when Cistercian monks, having discovered the pure water quality of the River Duiske, built a monastery and mills nearby. Their monastery prospered, through the export of wool, to become the largest Irish foundation – Duiske Abbey.

In time, the small town of Graig na Manach – ‘the monks’ village’, grew up around the abbey and the mills.

In the 1600s, the Flemish weaving technology arrived and 200 years later a successor of that technology, Patrick Cushen advertised himself as a woollen manufacturer with a mill in the town, 200 metres from the current site.

The family purchased one of the original abbey mills in 1925 thus gaining access to the pure water needed for the washing and dyeing processes.

It was Philip who named the business Cushendale.

Today, the mill is owned by another Philip Cushen, an absolute gentleman. We did the tour of the mill in operation with Philip explaining the processes. The highlight of the tour was for me watching a spinning mule circa 1900s in action.

Philip Cushen and Me
Philip Cushen and Me

The shop is filled with woollen goodies – blankets, scarves, home interior products and a small selection of wool.

If you are ever in County Kilkenny, please visit – it is well worth it. Then go visit all the historical sites of the village and have coffee and lunch at the Daisy Chain café. Take it from me, their soup is to die for!

Daisy Chain Cafe
Daisy Chain Cafe

Comments

    1. Post
      Author
      Linda Cooper

      The Mill and the tour was amazing Sue. So much history. Like you, I am fascinated by the history of Ireland. So much of it. Yes, I did buy some wool…how could I not? LOL

  1. Fil

    HI Linda
    I’m visiting via Sue’s Sizzling Towards 60 site and really enjoyed your post. I live just north of the Irish border and I’m a passionate knitter (spending more time ripping out than knitting up at the minute but…. )- really looking forward to following along on your journey. To my shame I’d not heard of Cushendale and tend to look across the water for my knitting inspirations – thanks for pointing me closer to home 🙂
    Enjoy the rest of your trip.
    Best wishes
    Fil

    1. Post
      Author
      Linda Cooper

      Hello Fil, How nice to connect with you. Ireland is one of my favourite places and I visit as often as I can. Having a son and two grandsons living in Portadown is a great incentive for me to come. What sort of knitting do you enjoy? Best wishes xxx

  2. Judith Lannam

    Will be visiting my daughter in Dublin from 14th -29th September 2019. i would like to buy a Zwartbles wool blanket or knee rug. I will not be able to visit Kilkenny, do you have other shops you supply in or around Dublin. the blanket/knee rug would be a gift for a friend here in New Zealand.
    Kind Regards
    Judie Lannam

    1. Post
      Author
      Linda Cooper

      Hello Judie, Thanks for stopping by. My visit to the Mill was pure delight but a personal one. I am a knitwear designer not a supplier. I went onto Zwartbles website and it seems you can buy their blankets online http://zwartblesireland.com/blankets-rugs-yarn/ It may be worthwhile looking at. Enjoy Dublin. It is such a wonderful city and one I enjoy visiting.

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