Why Irish wool?
Wool is one of the best natural materials and here you will be able to read all about wool in Ireland. The challenges & opportunities we have and why is it important to prove that Irish wool is NOT a waste product but a versatile, durable, breathable and ecological material.
Under EU guidelines, wool has been classified as a waste product (see here). For so long Irish farmers were keeping and breeding sheep exclusively because of the meat. Partially because of the historic struggles where the Irish weren't allowed to export or sell wool (see here) and partially because we do not have scouring and processing plants here in Ireland.
Breeds of sheep
Irish sheep breeding was and is predominantly because of the meat and not because of the quality of the wool and wool industry. For this reason, we are now experimenting and finding different breeds and how their wool felts, how does it wear, etc. There is much to learn, however fortunately Fergal Byrne, the farmer we source our wool from, is also very open to learning which will make it altogether easier for us.
Almost lost knowledge
Ireland has always had wool and sheep, but it was because of the fact that the Irish were not allowed to sell or export almost anything except the linen that the knowledge of Wool work has been slowly diminishing. There are some incredibly wonderful craft people of Ireland that are keeping the felting, knitting, weaving still alive, but due to limiting amounts of processed Irish wool available for purchase they have to work with imported wool.
No scouring plant
No scouring plant means that we in Ireland cannot process our own wool and we have to either send our wool abroad to be processed and then sent back, or we import wool from Australia, New Zealand, China, and Iceland to name a few bigger ones. Processing plants are consist of scouring, washing, drying, and in many cases also Lanolin collection. I hope one day we will have our Processing Plant but until then we will try our best to find as many as possible uses for the wool we have.
Rediscover Irish wool
We are sorry that a lot of knowledge has dissipated with previous generations but this is a perfect opportunity for us to relearn the beauty, texture, and variety of Irish sheep wool. Not every sort of wool can be used for the same things, but as we rediscover our breeds and their differences we will also come up with new and modern uses and solutions for current life necessities.
Find new uses
Besides relearning what previous generations already knew we have a great opportunity for exploring and finding new uses for our wool. Wool is natural, breathable, and a lot of other good things (see here) material that can be used for many different purposes across multiple different industries. I believe we can together come up with great uses for Irish wool and help our Farmers, Economy, and Planet while doing so.
Encourage use of Irish wool
We have assigned ourselves to be Irish wool advocates, promoters, and teachers. We hope to, by showing our process of wool preparation, that we will be able to encourage other groups, companies, and individuals on board to use and process Irish wool fleeces. The magic of creating a product all the way from its raw state gives you every time a moment for absolute delight, the rightfulness and inspires you to create more. The more people advocating Irish wool the better!
Educate and inspire
In the near future we are planning to provide hands-on demonstrations and workshops on how to work with Irish wool, so please keep an eye out for when we give a shout-out.