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Kate Middleton in Carrickmacross lace on her wedding day
Many brides have chosen Carrickmacross Lace for their big day – in Britain it graced the sleeves of Princess Diana’s wedding dress and its delicate appliqué technique was used for Kate Middleton’s dress when she married Prince William.
Yet the story behind this lace is as much about ragged rural poverty as royalty and romance.
It begins in 1816 when Mrs Grey Porter, the new wife of a local rector, collected pieces of appliqué lace on honeymoon in Italy. Back home she became inspired to teach countrywomen the craft as a means to them earning much-needed income.
Other lace-making classes around Monaghan proliferated, as famine relief schemes in the Great Hunger of the 1840s, and even in Carrickmacross Workhouse. Customers included Queen Victoria.
Today, the romance of the craft triumphs through the exquisite work – lace brooches to wedding veils – of Carrickmacross Lace Co-op at Carrickmacross Lace Gallery.