Limerick Lace to be recognised on national inventory of cultural heritage as rare and historic collection donated to Limerick Museum

  • Limerick Lace Collection Pic Keith Wiseman
Pictured in the Hunt Museum at a reception to mark the families generosity Deputy Mayor of Limerick City and County, Gerald Mitchell and Dr Matthew Potter admiring part of the collection with Veronica Rowe. (Pic: Keith Wiseman)

The enduring legacy and importance of Limerick lace has been recognised by the Government this week with the confirmation that Limerick Lace is set to be included in a national inventory of our important cultural heritage.

Dr Matthew Potter, Curator Limerick Museum will travel to Dublin this Thursday, 18 July for the launch of the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage which recognises Limerick Lace as an item of huge cultural importance that has been passed from generation to generation.

As well as Limerick Lace, only a small number of other Irish items have made the list so far - including Uillean piping, hurling and Irish harping - so it’s a big coup according to Dr Potter.

“We’re delighted with this honour for one of Ireland’s original international brands,” said Dr Potter“Successful applicants to the National Inventory may also consider seeking nomination by the State for inscription on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, to which the State is entitled to make one nomination every year so hopefully Limerick Lace may become UNESCO recognised in the years ahead.”

It’s been an eventful month for Limerick Lace as the official handover of the iconic Florence Vere O’Brien collection to Limerick Museum also took place. 

The handover, which took place at the Hunt Museum, was attended by Dr Potter as well as Deputy Mayor of Limerick City and County, Cllr Gerard Mitchell and Veronica Rowe, the granddaughter of Florence.

As one of Ireland’s original and most enduring international brands, Limerick Lace is 190 years old this year, with Florence Vere O’Brien during her prolific era central to reviving and promoting the brand over a 40-year period between 1883 and 1922.

To honour her memory and the influence she had on the lace industry in Limerick and beyond, Florence’s granddaughter Veronica Rowe kindly agreed to donate her beautiful collection of ornate, delicate lace to the Limerick Museum.

The collection contains lace pieces, lace patterns and other related objects, mostly dating back to the time of Florence Vere O’Brien.

Deputy Mayor of Limerick City and County Council Cllr Gerard Mitchell, thanked Veronica Rowe for her generosity in donating the collection.  He said: “Limerick lace is the most famous of all Irish laces and one of Ireland’s most important art industries. In the summer of 2018, Veronica Rowe agreed to give her grandmother’s historic lace collection on long-term loan to Limerick Museum, and this is one of the most significant donations to Limerick Museum for many years.

“On behalf of the people of Limerick I wish to thank Veronica Rowe for her immense generosity in giving her priceless collection to Limerick Museum and to the Hunt Museum for putting it on public display. It is wonderful to see the two museums working so closely together in showcasing such an important part of Limerick’s historic and artistic legacy.”

Dr Matthew Potter, curator of the Limerick Museum, added that the collection is as rare as it is beautiful. “It is a wonderful privilege to accept this wonderful collection, generously donated by Veronica Rowe in honour of her grandmother Florence Vere O’Brien, whose contribution to the lace industry is immeasurable.

“I also wish to thank my friends and colleagues in the Hunt Museum, Jill Cousins and Naomi O’Nolan, who agreed to put the most important part of the collection on display in the Hunt Museum. I hope that many Limerick people and many people from outside Limerick will come to see the Florence Vere O’Brien Lace Collection, both to enjoy these beautiful artefacts and to get a better picture of Limerick’s rich tradition in the decorative arts - a tradition that we need to both understand and commemorate”.

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