Sunday, February 5, 2023

Antique Irish Lace

 From Victoria:

A two-hundred-year-old thatched-roof building nestles along a lane in the Northern Ireland village of Enniskillen. Its whitewashed façade looks every bit as enchanting as a fairy-tale cottage, but the scene that awaits inside is even more magical. Opening the door to Rosemary Cathcart’s shop is much like walking into a winter wonderland. Lace in every imaginable shade of white drapes from ceiling to floor like tiers of frosting on a wedding cake, while crystal chandeliers and strings of pearls catch the sunlight pouring through the front windows. There is so much loveliness to take in that first-time customers find themselves grasping for words and, more often than not, simply exclaim in wonder. The shopkeeper’s mother was an accomplished seamstress who stitched her daughter’s wardrobe and instilled in her an appreciation for needlework. When Rosemary was eighteen, she came across a piece of Irish lace in an antiques shop—its filigree pattern and fine workmanship capturing her attention and her heart. With that first snippet, she began a collection that has spanned more than thirty years and led to her business, Sheelin Lace. Meaning “fairy pool,” the melodic-sounding Sheelin was the moniker given to the building by Rosemary’s mother-in-law, Nancy Cathcart, who originally owned a tea shop there. Since fairies conjure up fanciful visions, the name suits the boutique perfectly. “The interior is a treasure trove draped with antique Irish collars, handkerchiefs, stoles, bodices, veils, and wedding gowns,” the proprietress relates. “We also sell lace and diamanté headpieces, lace bags, lace necklaces, and framed pieces for display or study.” (Read more.)


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