He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
by William Butler Yeats
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
Nestled at the foothills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains, Mountmellick was once known as the little Manchester of Ireland due to the presence of a large and diverse industrial base, which included flax and cotton mills. Traces of Mountmellick’s rich heritage as a Quaker settlement remain in its Victorian and Georgian architecture.
During the 19th Century this quiet residential town gave its name to the world renowned Victorian White on White embroidery called Mountmellick Work.
Today the Museum has built up a treasure trove of old and contemporary pieces of this magnificent work. Heirlooms of bed coverlets, pillow shams, tablecloths and nightdress cases survive today in excellent condition which is evident in the items on display in the museum.
This embroidery is unique as it is the only form of embroidery that can claim to be entirely Irish in origin and design.
The craft has a long association with the Quakers who fostered the tradition by teaching it in the schools. Mountmellick Embroidery became a popular hobby for ladies of the Victorian era which led to a major interest in the work.
The Museum is passionate about keeping the tradition of Mountmellick Work. Group and one-to-one workshops are provided on demand and are tailored to your individual needs. Advance booking necessary.
This is an opportunity to stroll through the town of Mountmellick and explore its historical and cultural depths. Starting at the Museum the trail takes the format of two circuits set in a figure of eight, which facilitates a looped walk with storyboards at each point. A booklet and map are available in the Museum.
If you are interested in tracing your family history, the Museum has a database of Quaker Records dating back to the 17th century.