Introduction

What is presented here is a comprehensive collection of historical references pertaining to Headford Lace, as well as the social, economic, and political context for the lace industry in Headford. Research is ongoing, and so this is a working document that will be updated as new information comes to light. The task of rediscovering the forgotten history of Headford Lace is too large for any one person, and so I wish to acknowledge the contributions of the following people:

Ella Hassett
Ger Henry Hassett
Selma Makela
Ester Kiely
Anne O'Hara Quinn
Margie McNamara
Mary O'Connor
Sandra Joyce
Teresa Eagleton
Nora Gildea
Rita Gildea
Brega Webb
Ann Greaney
Marie Boran (Special Collections Librarian, NUI Galway)
Geraldine Curtin (NUI Galway Library)
Patria McWalter (Archivist, Galway County Council)
Roísín de Buitléar
Alex Ward (Curator of Dress and Textiles, National Museum of Ireland)
James Harte (National Library of Ireland)
Brigid Clesham
Ray Hughes
Eugene & Bríd Kearney
Matthew Skic (Museum of the American Revolution)

The lacemaking industry in Headford is one of the oldest in Ireland. Historical references from the middle of the nineteenth century tell us that it was established one hundred years prior. The earliest contemporary record of lacemaking in Headford was written by Colonel Richard St. George Mansergh St. George and dates to 1790.

Historical records also show that Headford Lace was used as a typonomic term, indicating that there was something particular about the lace made here that identified it as Headford Lace, even in an international context. To date, we have only one confirmed sample of Headford Lace, which dates to 1904. For that reason, we are unable to determine what the characteristic features of Headford Lace are. What we do know is that it is a bobbin lace (also referred to as pillow lace, or bone lace) and that it is specifically of a type known as Torchon.

In the late nineteenth century, a Torchon lace industry thrived in nearby Cong. This was established by Mrs. Letitia Dawson, who is also credited with reviving the lace industry in Headford at the time. The Cong Lace Industries will be dealt with in-depth in a separate post.

Lacemaking at Headford dwindled after World War I, and was completely forgotten by the late twentieth century. The Headford Lace Project was established in 2016 as a voluntary community initiative to research, revive, and reimagine Headford’s lacemaking heritage.

Headford Lace Project would be delighted to hear from you if you can share any information about lace, lacemaking, or the lacemakers in Headford. Every little piece contributes to the overall picture, so please do not hesitate to contact us

Norma Owens (Research & Communications Officer, Headford Lace Project)

1349

Headford's association with flax is quite literally legendary. The nearby Franciscan Friary of Ross Errilly was founded in 1349 by Dr. Malachy McHugh, who was then Archbishop of Tuam. At the time, the area was in the grip of The Black Death. Legend says that the archbishop was praying in the church for an end to the plague when he fell into a deep sleep. He dreamed that he was visited by an angel who told him that his prayers would be answered if he built a friary. He was instructed to go west from Tuam to Headford, to the townland of Cordarra, and there he would be given a sign. The following morning, the archbishop set off and, after a short time, he saw three swans, each with a bunch of flax seed in its bill. The swans circled McHugh three times and then flew westward toward the Black River, where they landed on some marshy ground near the riverbank. By the time the archbishop arrived, the swans were gone, and in their place were three bunches of flax that were in full bloom even though it was still only the month of February. The archbishop understood this to be the heavenly sign he had awaited. He retreated to the nearby church of Killursa, where he prayed and fasted before commencing the building works. It is said that as soon as the foundations were completed, the plague ended. The first stage of construction took three years, but the archbishop himself never got to see it as he died from the plague in 1349.1 The foundation of the friary is mentioned in the Annals of the Four Masters2 and the place takes its name from this legend: Ross Errilly is a derivation of the Irish Ros na dtrí Eala, which translates as "flaxseed of the three swans."3 

ross errilly
Ross Errilly. Photograph by Norma Owens

1652

Settlement of Ireland Act takes Headford Castle out of the ownership of the Skerrett family. Edmund Skerrett is expelled by the Cromwellian commissioners of Ireland and the castle and estate is granted to Sir George St. George (1583-1660). St. George ownership of this land was confirmed by royal patent in October 1666.4 We know that Sir George's grandson, Lord George St. George (1658-1735) inherited Headford Castle and became renowned as an uilleann piper.5

1749

In the 1740s, Headford Castle is occupied by Olivia Ussher St. George (d. 1765)6, the granddaughter and heiress of Lord George St. George. Olivia married Arthur French of Tyrone House on 23 January 1736.7 In 1749, Arthur French's nephew, Arthur Murphy, Esq. (1727-1805), writes from Headford that Mrs. French “has erected a spinning school near her, manufactures a great deal of linen”.8 Arthur Murphy was a nephew of Arthur French through the latter's sister, Jane, who married a London merchant named Richard Murphy. Richard was drowned en route to America in 1727 and his son was subsequently raised at the French's estate in Cloonyquin, near Tulsk, Co. Roscommon.9

Captain James Mansergh (c.1725-1772) was the son of Mary Southcote and Daniel Mansergh (d. c.1724) of Macrony Castle, Kilworth, Co. Cork. His first wife was Elizabeth Gifford, daughter of John Gifford of Ahern, Co. Cork.10 On 15 July 1749, James married as his second wife Mary (Molly) St. George11, who was a third cousin once removed of Olivia Ussher St. George. Mailí San Seoirse, or 'Molly St. George', one of the oldest known Irish harp tunes with extant lyrics, is said to have been inspired by this lady. It was written by Thomas Connellan from Co. Sligo, and was first published in the 1720s.12 

stgeorge gravestone stmarys
St. George grave in St. Mary’s Church of Ireland, Athlone

Molly inherited Headford Castle from her father, a grandson of Capt. Richard St. George (1590-1667), governor of the town and castle of Athlone13. It is not clear how the castle transferred ownership from one branch of the family to the other, especially into the hands of an "illegitimate" daughter.

st george headford castle inheritance
Inheritance of Headford Castle

1753

"In 1753 is recorded the last flight of the religious from the walls of Ross-Errily. The property had passed from the Clanricardes to Lord St. George, who continued to protect the inmates of the monastery, although the statutes of the land enacted imprisonment for life as the penalty for contributing to the support of a Catholic priest. In the year we have mentioned, Lord St. George successfully terminated a suit in which he was involved with a family of Iar Connaught. The defeated parties vowed vengeance against their antagonist, and swore informations to the effect that Lord St. George had under his protection some members of a religious community, the tower of whose monastery could be seen from the windows of his lordship's castle at Headford. The government of the day resolved at once to inquire into the accuracy of these informations, though prima facie it seemed absurd that a Protestant nobleman would show such courtesy to the proscribed friars of the Catholic Church. Fortunately Lord St. George received some friendly hint of the approaching storm. He and the religious were now alike imperilled. These however quitted the monastery without delay, and so arranged the place that no traces remained of its former inmates. Looms were got in; weavers were set to work; and the whole place assumed the appearance of some large factory; the walls, moreover, and the ceiling, hitherto adorned with frescoes, were now whitewashed; and when the government commissioners arrived, they were able to report that there was not a solitary friar on the premises, and that Ross-Errily was not a monastery, but a manufactory. The Franciscans, at their departure, took with them the church plate, ornaments, and vestments, and retired to a small island formed by the Black river, where they built a small convent, the foundations of which still remain, and whence they could see the lofty tower of the old monastery, which had once been their home. That island to this day is called Hyauwn-na-braugher, i.e. "the Friar's Island". Thenceforth Ross-Errily was nothing more than a crumbling ruin; but its tower, its ivied gables, its columned aisles, its ornamental windows; still proclaim the former grandeur of this home of piety and science."14

This account gives an idea of the scale of the textile industry in Headford at this time, given that the existence of a factory in the town seemed plausible to government officials.15

ca. 1766

Writing about pillow lace (another name by which bobbin lace is known)  in 1866, Wadge16 and Parkinson & Simmonds17 state that “About 100 years ago, the manufacture of this beautiful fabric was introduced to Headford, a little town in the West of Ireland, by one of the ladies of the St. George family”. The writer goes on to paint a less-than-flattering picture ... "It was then a poor, filthy hamlet, because all the labour of providing household comfort devolved on the men [...] And no doubt, as the women afforded no help in keeping the many, there was weeping enough when rent days came round, or death visited the inhabitants of Headford. Mrs. St. George was not an imaginative woman; her ambition was to make her tenants industrious, to teach them to know and feel the profitableness of industy; being confident that, if this was once accomplished, comfort, and cleanliness, and thrift would follow. The result justified her wisdom. A marking epoch arrived in the annals of the hamlet, when Mrs. St. George established a school for the instruction of girls in pillow lace making; and this wise and noble act had the effect of so entirely changing the social condition of the inhabitants of Headford, that in a few years they became as remarkable for their industry, forethought, and neatness, as they had before been for the opposite qualities. As years went on, the prosperity of the place increased; merchants' travellers visited it to buy the lace, and leave extensive orders; huts gave place to comfortable cottages; and large well-stored shops were opened to supply the increasing wants of the people."18

Given that historical records usually omitted the first names of women, and the fact that the ownership of Headford Castle was transferred during this key timeframe, it is not clear who this record refers to. It may be either Olivia French née Ussher St. George or her third cousin once removed, Molly Mansergh St. George.

1771

Colonel Richard St. George Mansergh (c.1750-1798), son of Capt. James Mansergh and Molly St. George, inherits Headford Castle from his mother. As the terms of the inheritance prescribe, he adopts the surname St. George, thereby becoming Richard St. George Mansergh St. George.19 

1775

Col. Richard St. George Mansergh St. George employs Charles Frizell Jr. to survey his estate. Among Frizell's recommendations is that "there are several Looms in the Town if Encouragements is given to Linen Manufacturers to settle may in some time hence flourish."20

Late 1700s

Parkinson & Simmonds note that “the prosperity of the place increased; merchants’ travellers visited it to buy the lace, and leave extensive orders”.21

1777

Col. Richard St. George Mansergh St. George fights for the British Empire in the American War of Independence. Fellow officer, Lieutenant Martin Hunter, considered St. George "quite military mad". As Martin recounts: "I often thought that St. George wished to be wounded, as he frequently said, "Tis very extraordinary that I don't get a clink, for I am certain I go as much in the way of it as anybody"."22

richard mansergh st george thomas gainsborough
Richard St George Mansergh-St George (c. 1776-1780) by Thomas Gainsborough. Image courtesy of the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia.

In 1777, St. George is shot in the head at the Battle of Germantown, near Philadelphia. In the years that followed, he would travel frequently to France or Italy that the warmer climate might ease his head pain. In Naples, he meets artist Xavier della Gatta, and he works with him to create a painting of the Battle of Germantown and another painting of the Battle of Paoli.23 St. George had himself included in the Germantown image (bottom left) being carried from the battlefield by Corporal George Peacock. St. George was so grateful to Peacock for his act of mercy that he gave him fifty guineas, “gold coins that would be the equivalent of about three years' of corporals' pay.”24

xavier della gatta battle of germantown
Battle of Germantown (1782) by Xavier della Gatta. Courtesy of the Museum of the American Revolution.

After the battle, St. George is trepanned (a portion of his skull was removed) and he is fitted with a silver plate to cover the hole. During this procedure, the patient is required to remain conscious and sitting upright. St. George’s friend Lieut. Martin Hunter remarked that "He bore the whole operation without saying one word."25 Thereafter, St. George always wore a black silk cap to hide the wound and was described as having “phases of insanity”26 as a result of the head injury.

Richard st george mansergh st george
Portrait of Richard Mansergh St George 1791 by Hugh Douglas Hamilton. Image in public domain.

1788

"St. George corresponded all the time he was in America with a Mrs-, whom I believe he afterwards married," according to his friend and fellow soldier, Lieutenant Martin Hunter.27 The identity of his lady friend, whom he addressed as “O Imperial”,28 is unknown, but eleven years later St. George marries Anne Stepney of Durrow Abbey, Co. Offaly. The couple would have two sons within three years: Richard James Mansergh St. George (1789-1857) and Stepney St. George (1791-1847).29

1790

In 'An account of Galway' by Richard St. George Mansergh St. George, he is critical of the way in which his agents have, during his time away at war, sublet plots of land up to five times and drove the lowest tenantry to destitution, leading to extreme poverty and civil unrest in Headford. He claims: "My great object is to establish at Headford a Linen Manufacture - I can give the Manufacturers Tenements which I am willing to do at any rent, or rent free - I wish to promote Industry, Civilization and good order - and the administration of justice."30


It is also in this document, at the very bottom of the penultimate page, that St. George makes a most important remark: "The women at Headford make lace".31 This is the first contemporary record of lacemaking in Headford, and one of the oldest of a lace industry in Ireland. While Carrickmacross Lace, established in the 1820s, is often considered the oldest lace in Ireland, we now know that the tradition of lacemaking in Headford predates that by several decades.

The women at Headford make lace
Image courtesy of Trinity College Library Dublin

1791

George Romney paints a portrait of Anne (Stepney) St. George in which she is pregnant with her second son, Stepney.32 Her first son, Richard James Mansergh St. George, appears in the painting with her, leaning his head in her lap. Mrs. St. George began sitting for Romney on 21 July 1791 and, in total, it took Romney four sittings to complete the portrait of her and ten sittings to complete the portrait of Master St. George.33 In the painting, Mrs. St. George is depicted wearing a Turkish costume, which was in fashion at the time. Co. Richard St. George Mansergh St. George commissioned the painting, and paid Romney 200 guineas in advance for the portrait.34 The painting hung at Headford Castle until 1888, when it came into the possession of Mrs. Winn, granddaughter of Mrs. St. George.35 The painting currently hangs in the Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington, New York.

anne stepney st georgeAnne St. George née Stepney (1791) by George Romney. Image courtesy of the Hecksher Museum of Art.

1794

Anne (Stepney) St. George dies in chidbirth.36

1796

Col. Richard St. George Mansergh St. George commissions a portrait of himself mourning his wife. St. George himself intended to never see the painting. Instead, he wished that it be shown, upon their reaching maturity, to his children, who were being sent away to stay with guardians and who St. George feared he may never see again. Tormented with grief by his wife’s death, he writes the following: “In the Mansion house I shall build a room where [the Painting] shall be desposited [...] Instructions shall be left so [...] The Images of their Father and Mother may appear to [my Children] in the terrible circumstances I have conveyed to you. I have a material purpose in this which may be frustrated perhaps, it depends on their nature, but I conceive This dreadful and strange apparition may by a sudden and powerful impulse (inducing them eagerly to read the history contained in the volumes which shall be desposited in a Trunk in the room with the Picture of which they shall have had no previous intimation) produce the effects I wish for and hourly fill my thoughts.”37 In the painting, St. George is depicted without his head wound and wearing the uniform of the Yeoman cavalry (Irish militia loyal to the British Crown), which worked to stop a growing revolution in Ireland in the 1790s.38

hugh douglas hamilton richard st george mansergh st george
Portrait of Lieutenant Richard Mansergh Saint George c. 1796 by Hugh Douglas Hamilton. Image in the public domain.

1798

On 9th February 1798, Richard St. George Mansergh St. George travelled to his Araglin estate in Cork (that he inherited from his father) to “upbraid his assembled tenantry for their “insurrectionaly spirit” and for felling his trees. Accompanied only by his agent, [Jasper] Uniacke and an escort of two soldiers, he declares his intention to burn more houses and “transport every United Irishman he could discover amongst them”.”39 On 12th February, “a group of some thirty rebels from Counties Cork and Tipperary arrived at the house of Jasper Uniacke […] According to an account later published by the Hibernian Chronicle, they "demanded that St. George Mansergh, who was then in the house, should be sent out to them; this being refused, they rushed in to seize him, on which he shot one of them dead, which so exasperated the rest, that with pitchforks, and other weapons," he and Uniacke were "barbarously murdered" with a rusty scythe.”40 Mrs. Uniacke [Maria, née Andrews]41 was injured while trying to save her husband, but she “survived and identified two of the assailants, John Haye and Timothy Hickey, at their trial later in 1798: both men were found guilty and executed at Araglin.”42

Headford Castle and its estate are inherited by the St. George's elder son, Richard James Mansergh St. George.

1812

Richard James Mansergh St. George marries Elizabeth Sophie Shaw. The couple would have no children.43

1817

On visiting Headford, John Bernard Trotter commented: "We were very glad to observe, in the cabins skirting Headfort, many of the women employed in making lace. In Ireland the women want employment very much, unless where the linen-manufacture exists. It is true, that they often assist in the labours of the field in small farms; but it is painful to see them exposed to weather and such hardship. The more the smaller domestic manufactories are spread among them - such as knitting, spinning, making lace, &c. &c. the more the condition of the poor will improve.” He goes on to say that “As the following day proved to be the market one, we saw the place to much advantage, enlivened by the rustic crowd, and exhibiting the bustle of internal trade and manufacture, greatly protected and encouraged by the proprietor, Mr. St. George. He has established a mart for the sale of flannels, and gives premiums for the best pieces, and largest quantity sold. We saw a good deal of it, and abundance of the usual country commodities, in the market.”44

1824

“Mr. St. George gives premiums for the encouragement of the linen and flannel manufactures.”45 

headford castle by st george 01

headford castle by st george 02
Two views of Headford Castle, Co. Galway c.1828 by Richard St George Esq. Images courtesy of James Adam and Sons Ltd.

1833

Stepney St. George marries Fanny L'Estrange from King’s County (now Co. Offaly).46 They would have seven children.47

1835

An inquiry for the House of Commons into the Conditions of the Poorer Classes in Ireland reported that there were 35 widows living in Headford, 17 of whom lived rent-free and earned their living as lacemakers. They received “a good deal of assistance from Mrs. St. George.”48 At this time, the mistress of Headford Castle was Elizabeth Sophie St. George (née Shaw).

1836

Richard James Mansergh St. George builds a new Elizabethan-style residence, designed by George Papworth, on the site of the old Headford Castle.49

1837

Bobbin lace-making, coarse linen, and flannel are listed as the main industries in Headford.50

Pre-Famine

"Previous to the famine, however, the lace manufacture at Headford was on the decline, and for this simple cause, that the patterns were becoming old-fashioned, and no one was at the trouble of procuring new ones. The creative power of lace makers in general is very deficient. The manufacture is eminently imitative. The patterns are traced and pinholed on parchment, and no scope is allowed for the display of either taste or imagination; and thus the inventive faculties, being never called into exercise, become extinct. [...] Art education for the working classes is what we want in this country [...] in the schools maintained for the instruction of the children of the artisans and peasantry. [...] The pilllow lace trade might, I am confident, be once more established in Headford without difficulty. Every woman in it would willingly lend her aid, and there is a loud imperative call now that we should all unite and exert ourselves for the good of our fellow-country-men and women."51

Mid-1840s

Parliamentary Gazetteer records linen and woollen manufacture in Headford.52

1842

Richard James Mansergh St. George becomes an absentee landlord of Headford and decides to become a resident of Malta.53 Despite St. George having made efforts to improve horticultural practices on his tenants’ land,54 his heavy-handed response to a local meeting held to appeal the payment of tithes when he stormed into the church (where the meeting was held) wielding a sword, prompts an article in the Connaught Telegraph in 1841 to describe him as “a little local tyrant who, however great the curse of absenteeism may be, would confer a blessing on an unhappy peasantry, had he rid them for ever of his torturing presence.”55 

His brother, Stepney St. George, takes over the management of the Headford Estate.

1843

On 20th November, Fanny St. George, wife of Stepney, died of a fever after giving birth to twin sons, who survived.56

1845

The Illustrated Record & Descriptive Catalogue of the Dublin International Exhibition of 1865 recounts that "During the autumn of 1845 the writer passed through the little town. It was then like a hive of bees in summer, full of joy and activity, and the hum and noise of industry. At some of the cottage doors were groups of neatly-dressed young girls, seated on low stools, their lace pillows on their laps; and while their fingers moved rapidly through the maze of bobbins, their voices filled the air, if not with melody, at least with heart music. Farther on might be seen a couple of elderly women, whose hands had not yet forgotten their cunning, working out intricate, if not very graceful patterns; or perhaps a young mother seated within the doorway, her foot gently moving a cradle, while her fingers plied their busy task.”57

1846

In just a year, The Great Famine was starting to take a severe toll on the town of Headford. The same writer mentioned above described how “In about a year afterwards all this was changed. The young lace-makers fled away from the disease and destitution which followed on the failure of the potato crop. […] The [merchants’] travellers ceased to visit the place, and now it contains amongst its inhabitants but a few regular lace-makers, though a slight knowledge of the art is very generally known.”58

1847

Richard James Mansergh St. George did not live at Headford castle at this time, so it was his brother, Lieutenant Stepney St. George, who managed the family's estate at Headford during the Famine. He wrote regularly to Dublin Castle requesting boilers in order to establish a soup kitchen for his tenants. Ïn a letter dated 22 April 1847, he pleaded "Send us immediate relief. [...] Otherwise nothing can save thousands from dying; even this very day I have seen several persons actually die in the streets of this small village and fever is commencing its attack on us."59

soup kitchen
Farm buildings on the Headford Estate (off Bridge Street) in which Stepney St. George established a soup kitchen during the Great Famine.

Stepney himself died in 1847 of the fever which was then ravaging the area.60 Stepney’s wife had predeceased him (1843), so Headford castle and estate was let.

st george grave tomb headford
St. George grave at the White Church in Headford. Stepney St. George (1791-1847) and his son Richard James St. George (1838-1889) are buried here.61

It can be seen that, despite the ravages of the Famine, lacemaking helped to sustain the local population. A Board of Works report states that “A good deal of lace is manufactured in this country: in the small town of Headford there are several hundred people engaged in it; from want of a market it is bought by pedlars at a very low rate, and carried to other parts of the country at a very low price, that one would scarcely think paid for the material it was made of.”62 A remark added to the report by Sir R. Routh states that "Lace from Galway, Limerick, and other parts of the Irish western district, goes largely into the English trade." 63 What is interesting to note here is that, despite the decline, there are still "several hundred" people working in the lace industry in Headford. We can only imagine how many were employed in lacemaking at its peak. However, the low prices offered for lacework would continue to be a serious issue for the industry in the coming decades.

Despite the obvious challenges, lace historian Susanna Meredith describes how the women of Ireland engaged in the lace industries succeeded in ensuring economic stability and bringing about a social integration between the classes and creeds that had not existed since the Plantation of Ireland. She claimes that “When famine ravaged Ireland in 1847, women were found inspired with an energy to work that was truly inspiring. Wherever there was a female hand, it was set in motion, and, generally, it seized a needle and wielded it vigorously for bread. […] Ladies burst the bonds of conventionalisms, and went regularly into business, to procure remunerative occupation for the destitute of their own sex. […] every feminine handicraft was endeavouring to assert itself, and the women of Ireland united in a grand bond against a common foe."64 Meredith goes on to quote J.F. Maguire M.P. writing in his Irish Industrial Movement (pp. 184 & 225), who asserts that "in the desire to do good, and to succour a common humanity, people were brought together, felt together, and acted together, who had been estranged all their lives [...] ”65 

It is remarkable to note that "When men's hands were useless, little girls' fingers, by means of this lace-work, provided for families; and [...] the provision failed not while the famine lasted."66 World War I is often cited as a watershed, bringing women out of the home for the first time. However, the cottage industries in Ireland achieved this many decades before. Meredith notes that "What the industrial impulse did for intellectual female circles in Ireland was more than a restoration to fortune. It assured them of a resource for their needs far above the accidents of transitory things, for it drew out their powers, and enabled them to test the value of their cultivation."67 This independence for women brought about its own social change, although contemporary commentary on it is tainted by the conventions of the day. In discussing the booming lace industries, it is noted that "all earthly blessings are liable to the taint of our moral natures, and this was no exception. Money became a snare to the ill-trained female multitude. An injurious expenditure of it occurred; and the results were apparent in the deteriorated morals of the lower classes. This fact is cited by some people as an evil attributable to crochet work; and many condemn the industrial movement altogether, in consequence of the social inconveniences they erroneously ascribe to it. One of these was the withdrawal of women from domestic occupations. Increased rates of wages failed to induce them to become servants, as long as they could procure any sort of living by needlework; and a strong tendency to neglect the useful application of the art of sewing, in the desire to pursue the ornamental, prevailed very extensively. It must be confessed that these circumstances have produced a very marked effect on society. The national characteristics came out in full force under them, and betrayed a deplorable condition of educational destitution."68 Anti-Irish sentiments aside, it is remarkable that this commentary was written by a woman!

1849

In the winter of 1836-37, a new Church of Ireland curate was appointed to Headford by the Archbishop of Tuam. This was Rev. William Jackson (c.1809-1885) from Mayo, and he had graduated with a B.A. from Trinity College Dublin in 1830 at the age of twenty one.69 The then Archbishop, the Honorable and Most Reverend Power Le Poer Trench, wrote a letter on November 28, 1836 in which he stated that he was moving the young curate from the parish of Feenagh, Co. Leitrim, because he was "much wanted at Headford".70 Rev. Jackson is subsequently recorded living at Headford in 183771 and again in 184672. He married Julia de Villiers in Headford on 30 June 1847.73 Two years later, Rev. Jackson was promoted to a position as Vicar of the Union of Templemore in Co. Tipperary. On that occasion, a letter was published in the The Tuam Herald on 25 August 1849. The twenty-six signatories include Richard J. Mansergh St. George of Headford Castle. It congratulates Rev. Jackson on his promotion and praise his "constant urbanity of manner towards all classes, and the diffusion of an unobtrusive charity to the poor of this town and neighbourhood, without distinction of creed". It furthermore recognises Mrs. Julia Jackson for her work in reviving the lace industry in Headford. It says: “In Mrs. Jackson, the poor of Headford and the surrounding district will have lost a most humane and active friend, and her untiring exertions in the cause of general charity, and in particular, her successful efforts to revive our hitherto neglected lace manufacture, have, we trust, by giving wholesome stimulus to industry, and opening a future and remunerative market for the production of our poor and well-conducted female population engaged in this trade, laid the foundation of a continual demand upon their labours, which will long survive her regretted removal from among us.”74 Mrs. Jackson must have died some few years afterwards, as Rev. Jackson is listed as a widower when he marries Susan Anne Kenny of Ballinrobe in St. Stephen's Church in the Parish of St. Peter in Dublin on 11 April 1866.75 Rev. Jackson goes on to become Dean of Killala in Mayo from 1872 until his death76 at Kilanley, Castleconnor, Co. Sligo (where he was also the incumbent) on 04 August 1885.77  

1849aug25 tuam herald rev jackson julia lace industry

Image courtesy of The Tuam Herald

1852

Nineteen paupers left via Nenagh to catch the train to Dublin en route to America. “They were sent out by R. M. St. George, Esq., of Headford Castle, to whose property they originally belonged. Mr. St. George very humanely gave each emigrant a sum sufficient to support him for a time after his arrival in America."78 This was known as assisted emigration, and it became popular with Irish landlords because it was cheaper to export people from their estate than to support them under the Irish Poor Law Act of 1838.

Also in 1852, the Ladies’ Irish Industrial Society opened a branch of the Normal Lace School in Headford. The Normal Lace School had been established two years prior in Dublin, and was now being extended to various parts of the country "under the patronagem and generally at the sole expense, of individuals who became the medium of introducing the work to the market by their own personal exertions".79 The patron in Headford is listed as a Mrs. Hunt. She was Catherine Elizabeth Hunt née Powell, who on 25 March 1851 had married80 the St. George's land agent,81 Edmund Lombard Hunt82 (1801-1860). The Mansergh family had ceased residing at Headford Castle after the death of Stepney St. George during the Great Famine.83 Unfortunately, local accounts of Mr. Hunt's management of the estate at Headford are very unfavourable. Dr. Kathryn Moore of NUI Galway claims that "In December of 1850 many houses were levelled within a mile of Headford town on the estate that Hunt had taken over, undoing the good deeds of the St. George family".84 From May 1855 comes the following report: "Fifteen houses were levelled on the property of Mr. St. George on Thursday last and the greater number of these poor people had paid, and the remainder were willing to pay all arrears. Amongst the evicted, a poor child in fever was thrown upon the dunghill in bitter cold”. Locals say the evictions were carried out in Keernaun by Mr. Hunt.85 Whatever the actions of her husband, Mrs. Hunt certainly advocated for the people of Headford through her patronage of the lace school. Unfortunately, her efforts were ultimately in vain. Meredith notes that "Connected with this failure there is a very remarkable fact to be noticed, and it is that the lace did not fail to be demanded, but that it failed to be produced. The workers never were content with the remuneration offered them, though it was generally greater than that which the lacemakers of Buckinghamshire, and the foreign lace workers obtained."86

“I likes the crochet best, ma’am,” said a girl, “because there’s hope in it. I may get ever so much for what I makes, if I happen to hit on a new stitch, and all the time I’m at it, I don’t know but I may have a lot of money coming to me, and I’m kep in spirits like, to the last moment; but that pillow-work – och, ‘tis horrid, ma’am! You’re made sinsible from the beginning that you’re only to get the trifle of a price, no more, nor no less, and no thoughts will help you, you must go on with the thing to your ordthers, which is what I won’t do, until I can’t help it, plase God!”87

1859

Richard James Mansergh St. George dies. Headford Castle is inherited by the eldest son of his brother Stepney, Richard James St. George88 (c.1838-1889).

 

capt richard mansergh st george descendant chart

1861

A visitor to Headford describes “Headford, an exceedingly well-ordered little town, where we certainly came up with both lore and lay, the latter being chanted by the neat peasant girls that sat at the doors lace-making, while the lessons in the art we for the first time received was lore of a kind so entertaining; we were very glad to be allowed to make purchases from their after hour’s manufacture of the very pretty cushion lace, to make presents of in our own less industrious part of Ireland, where Cowper's appropriate lines would always remind us pleasantly of our entrance into Headford, where sits the

Cottager, who weaves at her own door,
Pillows and bobbins all her little store;
Content, though (poor) and cheerful, if not gay,
Shuffling her threads about the live-long day,
Just earns a pittance and at night
Lies down secure, her heart and pocket light."89

1864

Mr. Corrigan is named as the Steward of Headford Castle.90 

1869

The lace school "of the St. George family, at Headford, Co. Galway" is mentioned in A History of Lace by Mrs. Fanny Bury Palliser.91 

1870

Ms35 733 clonbrock papers august dillon clothing account book headford lace
Image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

We know that most Irish lace was sold on the English market. However, there is also evidence of it staying in the country where a patron of means could be found. The Dillon family of Clonbrock House, near Ahascragh in East Galway, were such patrons. Lady Augusta Caroline Dillon née Crofton (1839-1928), wife of the 4th Baron Clonbrock, Luke Gerald Dillon (1834-1917), had a keen interest in promoting women's industries. In her clothing account book dated to the middle of 1870, there is a record of a purchase of interest: "8 yds Headford Lace" for which she paid two shillings.92 This purchase price gives us an indication of the low wages that would have been received by the lacemakers, particularly given that this purchase had most likely passed through the hands of several middle men, who would take their cut from this price. What is also of interest is what the lady purchased alongside the Headford Lace, which comprised "6 Sheets of Blue Tissue Paper (6d), 2 yds of elastic 4 (8d), 1 Stay Lace & 6 Buttons (1s 6d)"93The purchase of stay lace suggests that perhaps the Headford Lace was being used to trim an undergarment. This fits with what we know about Headford Lace not generally being considered a fine lace.

Most importantly, however, this entry in Lady Clonbrock's clothing account book is the first known reference to Headford Lace as a typonomic term i.e. it suggests that Headford Lace was known as a particular kind of lace that was recognisable by its own particular set of characteristics. 

1874

“The extravagances of the owner of Headford Castle considerably crippled his resources and caused the compulsory surrender of many thousand of the estates most fertile acres” and the estate was put up for sale through the Landed Estates Court in 1874 and sold in 38 lots in 1876. The Castle, town and some of the lots were not sold.94

1880 women carrying meal sacks from the relief commission at headfordThe State of Ireland: Women Carrying Home Meal-Sacks from the Relief Committee. A Sketch near Headford, by our special artist. Published in Illustrated London News, 20 November 1880. Image courtesy of Mary Evans Picture Library.

1885

A bobbin factory is recorded in Headford.95 The precise type of bobbins is not mentioned, but it is compared to the factory in Tuam, which is described thus in the Irish Historic Towns Atlas: “The Rishworths also promoted local industry. They found adequate water power and timber on their own property at Curraghcreen to manufacture fittings such as bobbins, reels and spools for cotton and woollen mills. The business grew and diversified over some twenty years until 1887 when the company opened a match factory known as the Curragh Mills. It succumbed to a price war in 1890.”96 It is likely, therefore, that the bobbin factory in Headford was also supplying the weaving industry, rather than the lacemaking industry.

1887

Here again we have another reference to Headford Lace as a recognised type of lace in its own right. The Royal Jubilee Exhibition, held in Manchester, included a section on 'Women's Industries'. The catalogue describes entries in various mediums, including Youghal Lace, Carrickamacross Lace, Limerick Lace, and Mountmellick work - well known types of Irish lace and needlework.97 Alongside these exhibits is the following listing: "Mrs. Burke, Omer [Ower]98 Headford, Co. Galway - Headford Lace."99 This illustrates that Headford Lace was recognised internationally as a particular type of lace. Emphasising this fact are the other instances of "torchon lace" recorded in the same catalogue, indicating that there was something particular about Headford Lace that set it apart from torchon lace more generally. 

1889

Richard James St. George dies aged 51 years100 on 02 June 1889 at 181 Anerly Road, Anerly in Surrey, England.101 His widow, Mary Agatha St. George (née Henely) - who had since remarried in Kensington to Jerome Feliza Trudon102 - sold Headford Castle in 1892 to Martin McDonnell, a merchant from Dunmore.103 There ended the St. George patronage of the lace industry in Headford, but the lace industry lived on for some time afterwards.

The National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts & History at Collins Barracks in Dublin have in their collection seven specimens of "pillow lace, made at Cong, Co. Galway, c.1889. Presented by Mrs. Dawson."104 In 1902, Mrs. Dawson was also credited with reviving the lace industry in Headford at the end of the nineteenth century.105 The lady referred to here is Letitia Josephine Mary Dawson (née Blake) (c.1840-1876) who lived at Houndswood, near Cross, a small village 10km northwest of Headford on the road to Cong.

Letitia Dawson was assisted in her endeavours by Miss Alice Jane Elwood (c.1851-1919) of Lackafinna, Cong. Alice herself was a noted lacemaker in her own right, winning a bronze medal at the Royal Dublin Society in 1889.106

The history of the lace industry in Cong will be covered in a separate post.

The precise nature of the relationship between the lace industry in Cong and that in Headford has not been established. In any case, its cultural legacy forms part of the wider historical and social context of lacemaking in the area. Furthermore, the examples of lace from Cong in the National Museum provide a valuable resource for contemporary lacemakers who are working to research and revive the lace heritage of the locality.

1894

"A piece of Headford prize lace" was offered by a Mrs. Fahy as a prize in the Annual Bazaar in aid of The Sisters of Mercy in Ballinrobe.107 We believe that the prize was donated by Mrs. Ellenor Fahy, who is shown in the 1901 census records living in Ballinrobe. She is the wife of a general merchant, and they live above their shop on Main Street with several live-in shop assistants and milliners.108  

ballinrobe fahy
Image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

1901

190220 catherine burke parker
Catherine Parker née Burke was known as a lacemaker by her family. This photograph was presented by her great granddaughter, Brega Webb.

The Census of Ireland in 1901 records five lacemakers living in the Headford area. They are:

Sarah Walsh - (single) aged 61, Ower, Killursa, Headford - Lacemaker109
Anne Hogan - (widow) aged 63, New Street, Headford – Housekeeper110
Margaret Higgins - (married) aged 36, New Street, Headford – No occupation111
Julia Casey - (single) aged 23, New Street, Headford - No occupation112
Margaret Casey - (single) aged 24, New Street, Headford – No occupation113 
Catherine Parker - (married) aged 50, High Street, Headford - No occupation 114

The difficulty with such records, however, is that if the woman was married, she would be listed either as having "no occupation" or else simply recorded as a "housekeeper". It is only if the woman were unmarried or widowed that her occupation would be recorded. Therefore we can conclude that there were many more lacemakers living in the area in the early twentieth century than the records actually show. In fact, if we look at the above listings, only one of the ladies, Sarah Walsh, is actually listed as a lacemaker; the other ladies are known as lacemakers from other historical records.

1904

historic headford lace 

The only known example of Headford Lace is believed to date from 1904. It came from the last family to live in Headford Castle and was given by Mrs. Mary McDonogh of Moyne Hill, Headford, to Sandra Joyce, a local crochet teacher, who in turn loaned it to the Headford Lace Project. 

1906

headford castle
Headford Castle. Photograph courtesy of Dr. Patrick Melvin & Éamonn de Búrca.

"Headford Castle, the baronial residence of our very popular and much esteemed neighbour, Thomas A McDonogh, Esq, was accidentally burned down on the night of Saturday last, the 23rd instant. The fire is reported to have originated in the nursery of the Castle, and was not perceived until the flames had almost reached the roof, when it became impossible to cope with it effectively, and notwithstanding the great effords made to suppress it, the entire building was soon burned to the ground. Happily no life was lost, although some providential escapes are reported to have occurred. Neither the proprietor nor Mrs. McDonogh happened to be at home, at the precise time of the occurrence, but the servants, aided by the police and the townspeople hard by, rendered all the assistance in their power, their exertions were chiefly confined to saving the inmates and portions of the furniture and effects, in which latter they were partially successful. The roof fell in, its weight carrying away all the lower floors in succession, leaving the Castle a mass of smoking ruins, the offices only remaining intact. [...]115

How the fire originated is not very clearly known, but it is considered by some to be due to some defect in one of the flues. It was first noticed about 9:45pm, and in a very short time it was plainly seen that the Castle was doomed. Willing hands were there carrying water and assisting in removing the costly furniture, plate. &c. The lawn in front was soon covered with a miscellaneous collection of different kinds of articles, wardrobes, bedsteads, Dresden china, etc, all intermingled in the hurry and confusion that prevailed in their removal. The greatest credit is due to those who so ably assisted in trying to extinguish the flames, and among these must be specially mentioned Segt McKee, who remained in close proximity to the fire, continually pouring water upon it at the imminent peril of his own life. Constable Murray did more than a man's part also in his own unostentatious way, and certainly Mr McDonogh and Mr McDonnell should feel grateful to these and the townspeople, and bare walls alone are all that now remain of the once stately building, the pride in days gone by of the St George family. I may mention that Lady de Clifford drove from Dalgan Park on Monday to see the ruins. The building was, I understand, partly insured, but the furniture was uninsured, and consequently the greatest sympathy is felt for Mr McDonogh, as several costly articles have been seriously damaged."116

"For many miiles around the country was illuminated by flames. Viewed from districts afar the blaze presented the appearance of a monster bondfire, and as it was the eve of the Feast of St. John, it was considered in many places to be merely an observance of the old custom."117

This description of the fire at Headford Castle is a sobering reminder of how lucky we are that our sample of Headford Lace survived the conflagration.

1910

180531 honor malie
Honor "Nan" Malie, a lacemaker who lived on New Street. She died in 1931 at the age of 108. In 2018, Nora Gildea, a relative who lived at the same house on New Street, described the bobbins found in the house as like pencils, but tapered so that they were thicker at one end. This photograph was kindly donated to the Headford Lace Project by Rita Gildea.

The Headford Agricultural Show includes a category for “One Piece of Headford Lace, not less than three yards” with prizes awarded. First prize was 5 shillings, and second prize was 2 shillings 6 pence.118 The entrants were:

Margaret (Mrs. James) Higgins, Headford – one entry
Honor (Miss) Melia, Headford – two entries
Miss M. O’Shaughnessy (Mary?), Headford – two entries (1st place winner)119
Mrs. Anne Hogan, Headford – one entry
Miss Margaret Casey, Headford – one entry
Miss Mary Connell, Headford – two entries (2nd place winner)

Incidentally, Lady Clonbrock (who purchased 8 yards of Headford Lace in 1870) presented the first prize to the winner of the best Home-Made Blouse at the show.120

connacht tribune 1910 headford lace agricultural show
Image courtesy of The Connacht Tribune

1911 

The Census of Ireland records the following lacemakers in the Headford area:

Julie Casey - (single) aged 34, Headford - No occupation121
Margaret Casey - (single) aged 25, New Street, Headford – Housekeeper122
Mary Burke - (widow) aged 69, New Street, Headford – Lace Maker123
Anne Hogan - (widow) aged 74, Bog Road (now Cong Road), Headford - Lacemaker124
Ellen Keane - (single) aged 90, Bridge Street, Headford – Lacemaker125
Mary O'Shaughnessy - (single) aged 45, Gortnamona, Headford - Domestic Servant126
Mary Redington - (single) aged 46, Bridge Street, Headford – House Keeper127
Margaret Higgins - (married) aged 46, New Street, Headford – No occupation128
Honor Malie - (single) aged 69, New Street, Headford - No occupation129 
Catherine (Kate) Parker - (widow) aged 56, Bog Road (now Cong Road), Headford - Housekeeper130 

In the same year, the Headford Agricultural Show awards prizes for “One Piece of Headford Lace, not less than three yards”. First prize is 8 shillings and second prize: 4 shillings. Miss Mary O’Shaughnessy won first place, and Miss Margaret Casey won second place.131

1912

The now renamed Headford Agricultural and Industrial Show again includes a category for ‘Headford Lace’, but the list of prizes awarded shows a decline in the industry. In the category for Lace Collar, no entries were received, and in the Headford Lace category, no prizes were awarded.132

1913

The Headford Show awards prizes for “One Piece of Headford Lace, not less than three yards”. First prize is 8 shillings and second prize is 4 shillings. Miss Mary O’Shaughnessy won first place for the third recorded time, and Miss Mary Redington won second prize.133

1915

The Headford Show awards prizes for “One Piece of Headford Lace, not less than three yards”. First prize is 8 shillings and second prize is 4 shillings. Miss Mary Redington won first place, and Miss J. Casey (Julia?) won second place.134

1917 

Last record of Headford Lace category in the the Headford show. With the outbreak of World War I, many women had found more lucrative work outside the home for the first time in history. 

Galway National Shell munitions Factory 1917
Image courtesy of NUI Galway Library

1922 

Due to the “disorganisation and uncertainty caused by the war”, there were no Headford Shows in 1914 or 1919, and no record of any taking place after 1922. In the latter years of the show, there is no record of a Headford Lace category.

Mid-Twentieth Century

The twentieth century represents the biggest, and likely the only gap in the lacemaking industry in Headford since it was first established. 

1985 

A newspaper article about the Presentation College in Headford reports that “Sister Fursey remembers that the girls also did what was known as lace work and crochet – indeed Headford lace – now no longer to be found, was taught by a Miss Lee. “Mr. Jim McHugh, retired N.T., recollects […] that efforts to locate samples for the Galway Quincentennial celebrations last year proved fruitless.”135

1986

A City Tribune report on an ICA meeting of Galway TA (Town Association) members, who enjoyed a presentation on lace by Mrs. Ó Ceallaigh (believed to be a mistaken report of Nellie Ó Cléirigh), who had with her “samples of lace from her huge collection go[ing] back to the time of the Famine and by coincidence some of the pieces came her way from U.C.G. and from Headford”.136 Headford Lace Project have been unable to confirm the existence of Headford Lace in Ms. Ó Cléirigh's collection.

2016 

160526 nesting lark headford

A five-day cultural event called The Nesting Lark took place in Headford from 25-29 May. Visual artist Selma Makela created an art trail of bird-box installations throughout the town. This photo shows one of the installations that focused on the history of Headford's lacemaking tradition. It was a collaboration with the pupils of Headford Girls' National School, and the research conducted by the children is archived on the school website.

Selma's initial research on Headford Lace for The Nesting Lark prompted that project's administrator, Ester Kiely, and artistic director, Eilís Nic Dhonncha, to investigate the story futher. They contacted Anne O'Hara Quinn, who had been a member of the Traditional Lacemakers of Ireland for some years. Anne arranged a lacemakers' gathering at the Museum of Country Life, where Ester and Selma met Jackie Magnin, a lacemaker from West Cork. Jackie had used a photograph of the 1904 sample of Headford Lace to identify the lace as a type of Torchon bobbin lace and to create an exact replica. Jackie thus became the first person in a century to make Headford Lace.

headford lace reconstruction
Replicas of Headford Lace made by Jackie Magnin

This group went on to establish a voluntary community initiative dedicated to the research, revival, and reimagination of Headford's lacemaking heritage. This group became the Headford Lace Project. Its first committee also included Ger Henry HassettElla Hassett, Giulliana Victor Harte, and Rusty Weise.

The group organised its inaugural Headford Lace Weekend in November. A free talk was attended by approximately fifty people, and eight participated in a bobbin lace workshop with Jackie Magnin. 

2017 

Headford Lace Project is awarded the Tidy Towns Heritage Award by the Heritage Council with a prize fund of €1,000. 

Over the course of the year, four more Headford Lace Weekends are organised, with almost 50 people attending workshops in bobbin lace. International links are forged with lacemakers in Slovenia and the USA. 

Headford Lace Project enjoys local press coverage in the Tuam Herald, Connacht Tribune, and the Galway Independent. Articles about Headford Lace are written for the Guild of Irish Lacemakers' newsletter and Making.ie. The group also make presentations to the Guild of Irish Lacemakers, Renmore ICA, the Irish Patchwork Society, Galway Civic Trust, and Galway City Museum. 

The Headford Lace Project Archive is established and includes a collection of historical research documents, donated lace samples, and a library of books on lacemaking. 

Culture Night on 22 September becomes a celebration of Headford's lace heritage in the town. Intertwined, a week-long lace exhibition, was curated in 17 shop windows along the Main Street and into St. George's Square. A collaboration with Headford Camera Club resulted in a lace-themed photo exhibition. A 'selfie station' was created on the Main Street by Carrot Puppet Theatre. The Lacemaker's Shoes, a walking tour through the town, brought these various elements together. The evening culminated with a presentation by Veronica Stuart, assisted by Eleanor Power, of the Traditional Lacemakers of Ireland. After dark, a large-scale slideshow on Main Street projected images of lace onto the side of a building.

culture night headford 2017

Throughout the year, Headford Lace Project also hosts a Vintage Lace Tea Party, collaborates with the Men's Shed and local master woodturners, Bríd and Ambrose O'Halloran, to make bobbins, and organises presentations and demonstrations of bobbin lacemaking in St. George's Square on St. Patrick's Day, as well as at Kilconly Food & Craft Fair, Athenry Agricultural Show, Headfest, Ballinrobe Heritage Day & Market, Galway Fringe Festival, and at the Galway Civic Trust during Heritage Week.

2018 

The Headford Lace Project community grows significantly with over 60 ‘apprentices’, who have attended a beginners bobbin lacemaking workshop. The email subscription list numbers over 200, there are over 900 Facebook followers and over 400 Instagram followers.

Norma Owens joins the committee of Headford Lace Project. She designs the website, which is launched on St. Patrick's Day. She is also the first apprentice to successfully replicate the original piece of Headford Lace based on the pattern created by Jackie Magnin.

norma owens headford lace
Tutor Jackie Magnin with apprentice Norma Owens and her first piece of Headford Lace

Headford Lace Project was shortlisted for the Cathaoirleach's Community Awards for best contribution to heritage and outstanding work in this area.

Headford Lace Project uses its prize fund from the 2017 Tidy Towns Heritage Award and combined it with Facilities funding from Galway County Council to commission a bench inspired by Headford Lace in order to leave a permanent legacy in the town. Kilkee Forge were selected to produce this bench. A collaboration with the Headford Environment Group led to the creation of a bobbin-inspired fence. Both the bench and the fence were installed by the Rural Social Scheme, and they now form the structure of the Lacemakers' Garden in the Community Orchard at White Church. The Headford Environment Group have planted the garden with lacelike plants that are also attractive to pollinators.

20180824 headford lace bench

 

References & Footnotes

1 Galway County Heritage Office (2017) 'Ross Errilly Friary'

2 O'Donavan, John (1854) Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland by the Four Masters, from the earliest period to the year 1616. Volume III. Dublin: Hodges and Smith, p. 598.

3 Wilde, William Robert (1872) Lough Corrib: Its Shores And Islands: with notices of Lough Mask. Dublin: McGlashan & Gill, pp. 112-113.

4 O'Byrne, Robert (2017) Tyrone House and the St. George Family: The Story of an Anglo-Irish Family. Bloomington, Indiana: Xlibris, p. 38.

5 Ibid.

6 Foot, Jesse (1811) The Life of Arthur Murphy, Esq. London: J. Faulder, pp. 10, 47-49. See also: National University of Ireland, Galway (2011) 'Estate: St. George (Headford)'.

7 Lundy, Darryl (2019) 'Olivia Ussher' F, #334828 in 'The Peerage'

8 Foot, Jesse (1811) The Life of Arthur Murphy, Esq. London: J. Faulder, pp. 10, 47-49.

O'Byrne, Robert (2017) Tyrone House and the St. George Family: The Story of an Anglo-Irish Family. Bloomington, Indiana: Xlibris, pp. 12; 52-54.

10 Burke, Sir Bernard (1912) A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Ireland. London: Harrison & Sons, p. 455.

11 Ibid.

12 O'Byrne, Robert (2017) Tyrone House and the St. George Family: The Story of an Anglo-Irish Family. Bloomington, Indiana: Xlibris, p. 38.

13 O'Byrne, Robert (2017) Tyrone House and the St. George Family: The Story of an Anglo-Irish Family. Bloomington, Indiana: Xlibris, pp. 22-23.

14 Library Ireland (2015-2018) 'The Abbey of Ross-Errily'

15 It is not clear who the 'Lord St. George' in this report refers to, as Lord George St. George had died in 1735. While Olivia French's brother, St. George Ussher St. George, was created 1st Baron Saint George of Hatley St. George (Co. Roscommon), he was not raised to the peerage until 24 May 1763 and he resided at Hatley St. George in Co. Roscommon. 

16 Wadge, E. Harvey [Ed.] (1866) ‘The Irish Industrial Magazine’. Dublin: McGlashan & Gill, p. 203.

17 Parkinson, Henry & Lund Simmonds, Peter [Eds.] (1866) ‘The Illustrated Record & Descriptive Catalogue of the Dublin International Exhibition of 1865’. London: E. and F. N. Spon, p. 273. 

18  Ibid.

19 Ibid.

20 Frizell, Charles Junior) (1775) 'Maps of the Estate of Richard St. George Mansergh St. George Esqr in the County of Galway in 1775'Maps of the Estate of Richard St. George Mansergh St. George Esqr in the County of Galway in 1775', p. 6. Available at Galway County Library. Reference: GSO1/5.

21 Parkinson, Henry & Lund Simmonds, Peter [Eds.] (1866) ‘The Illustrated Record & Descriptive Catalogue of the Dublin International Exhibition of 1865’. London: E. and F. N. Spon, p. 273.

22 Fitzpatrick, G. Thomas, 08 May 2007, 'Solving a Mystery'

23 Museum of the American Revolution. 'Richard St. George's Life and Death'

24 McGuire, Thomas J. (2006) The Philadelphia Campaign: Germantown and the roads to Valley Forge, Vol. II. Delaware: Stackpoole Books, p. 131.

25 Ibid.

26 Bowen, Elizabeth (2015) Bowen's Court & Seven Winters. New York: Random House.

27 McGuire, Thomas L. (2007) The Philadelphia Campaign: Germantown and the Roads to Valley Forge (Vol. II). Pennsylvania: Stackpoole Books, p. 131

28 Unknown author [identified by Stephen Gilberts at Lieutenant Richard St. George Mansergh St. George] (1777). ‘From the Camp on the Field of Battle near Delworth on the heights of Grand Wine September 11th at night’. Anthony Wayne Papers, Vol. 4, manuscript 0699, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

29 O'Byrne, Robert (2017) Tyrone House and the St. George Family: The Story of an Anglo-Irish Family. Bloomington, Indiana: Xlibris, pp. 39-40.

30 St George, Richard St. George Mansergh (1790) 'An account of Galway by Richard St. George Mansergh St. George'. IE TCD MS 1749/2, Trinity College Dublin.

31 Ibid.

32 Mansergh, Dr. Martin

33 Humphry, Ward and Roberts, W. (1904) Romney: A Biographical and Critical Essay with a Cataloge Raisonné of his Works, Vol. II. London, Thomas Agnew & Sons; New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.

34 The Hecksher Museum (1979) Catalogue of the Collection. Huntington, New York: The Hecksher Museum.

35 The American Art Association (1920) Illustrated Catalogue of Highly Important Old and Modern Paintings of Sterling Artistic Distinction. New York: The American Art Association, No. 153.

36 Mansergh, Dr. Martin (1998) 'Remarks by Dr. Martin Mansergh at the Unveiling of the Plaque to Commemorate the Events of 1798, Araglin, Co. Cork, Monday, 9 February 1998 at 3pm'

37 Cullen, Fintan (2000) Sources in Irish Art: A Reader. Cork: Cork University Press, p. 46

38 Museum of the American Revolution. 'Richard St. George's Life and Death'

39 The Irish Times, 14 February 1998. 'Captain Doe's men kill 2 after threats'

40 O'Byrne, Robert (2017) Tyrone House and the St. George Family: The Story of an Anglo-Irish Family. Bloomington, Indiana: Xlibris, p. 40.

41 Burke, Sir Bernard (1912) A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Ireland. London: Harrison & Sons, p. 713.

42 Ireland Reaching Out (2019) 'Richard Mansergh St George Esq 1757'

43 O'Byrne, Robert (2017) Tyrone House and the St. George Family: The Story of an Anglo-Irish Family. Bloomington, Indiana: Xlibris, p. 40.

44 Trotter, John Bernard (1775-1818) Walks Through Ireland in the Years 1812,1814, and 1817: Described in a Series of Letters to an English Gentleman. London: Sir R. Phillips and Co, pp. 421; 419. 

45 Dutton, Hely (1824) A Statistical and Agricultural Survey of the County of Galway: with observations on the means of improvement. Dublin: University Press, pp. 330-331.

46 Connaught Telegraph, 29 November 1843, p. 3. ‘Died’

47 Galway County Heritage Office (2017) 'The History of Headford'. 

48 House of Commons (1835) ‘Inquiries into the Condition of the Poorer Classes in Ireland’, Appendix (A) and Supplement. London: House of Commons, p. 115.

49 National University of Ireland, Galway (2011) 'Landed Estates Database. House: Headford Castle'.

50 Lewis, Samuel (1837) A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, Vol. II. London: S. Lewis, p. 4.

51 Wadge, E. Harvey [Ed.] (1866) ‘The Irish Industrial Magazine’. Dublin: McGlashan & Gill, pp. 204-205.

52 Candon, Gerardine (2003) Headford, County Galway, 1775-1901. Dublin: Four Courts.

53 The Nenagh Guardian, 18 May 1842, p. 1. 'Absenteens'

54 The Tuam Herald, 18 December 1841, p. 3. ‘To The Tenants of the Headford Estate’

55 Connaught Telegraph, 31 October 1832, p.1. ‘Extraordinary Tithe [print obscured] Headford – Richard M. St George of Headford Castle’

56 Freemans Journal, 29 November 1843, p. 4. ‘Deaths’

57 Parkinson, Henry & Lund Simmonds, Peter [Eds.] (1866) ‘The Illustrated Record & Descriptive Catalogue of the Dublin International Exhibition of 1865’. London: E. and F. N. Spon, p. 273. 

58 Ibid. 

59 Tribune Life, 11 November 2005. 'History-laden canoe comes down from its lofty perch' by Christina McDonald Legg.

60 O'Byrne, Robert (2017) Tyrone House and the St. George Family: The Story of an Anglo-Irish Family. Bloomington, Indiana: Xlibris, p. 40.

61 Brigid Clesham, archivist, in a talk at the Headford Community Orchard on 19th August 2018.

62 Board of Works (1847) ‘Correspondence From January to March 1847 Relating to The Measures Adopted for the Relief of the Distress in Ireland. Board of Works Series. Second Part. Presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of Her Majesty', published in Accounts and Papers: Thirty-Seven Volumes. Relief of Distress (Ireland): Board of Works, Part II. Commissariat, Part II. Session 19 January - 23 July 1847. Vol. LIII. London: W. Clowes and Sons, p. 210.

63 Board of Works (1847) ‘Correspondence From January to March 1847 Relating to The Measures Adopted for the Relief of the Distress in Ireland. Board of Works Series. Second Part. Presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of Her Majesty', published in Accounts and Papers: Thirty-Seven Volumes. Relief of Distress (Ireland): Board of Works, Part II. Commissariat, Part II. Session 19 January - 23 July 1847. Vol. LIII. London: W. Clowes and Sons, p. 209.

64 Meredith, Susanna (1865) The Lacemakers: Sketches of Irish Character with some account of the Effort to Establish Lacemaking in Ireland. London: Jackson, Walford, and Hodder, pp. 5-7. 

65 Ibid.

66 Ibid.

67 Ibid.

68 Ibid.

69 Trinity College Dublin (1935) Alumni Dublinenses : a register of the students, graduates, professors and provosts of Trinity College in the University of Dublin (1593-1860). Dublin: Trinity College Dublin, p. 434.

70 D'Arcy Sirr, Rev. Joseph (1845) A Memoir of the Honorable and Most Reverend Power Le Poer Trench, Last Archbishop of Tuam. Dublin : W. Curry, p. 410. 

71 Lewis, Samuel (1837) A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland comprising the Several Counties, Cities, Boroughs, Corporate, Market, and Post Towns, Parishes, and Villages, with Historical and Statistical Descriptions, Vol. I. London: S. Lewis, p. xxxvi.

72 Slater, I (1846) National Commercial Directory of Ireland. Manchester & London: I. Slater, p. 128.

73 General Register Office, Ireland (1847). Register of Marriages in the District of Tuam. Returns Year: 1847. Returns Quarter: 1. Returns Volume No: 10. Returns Page No. 477.

74 Tuam Herald, 25 August 1849, p. 3. 'Address to the Rev. William Jackson, Vicar of the Union of Templemore, and Late Curate of Headford'. 

75 St. Stephen's Church Records, Parish of St. Peter, Dublin (1866). Register of Marriages, p. 43, Entry No: 86. Available at IrishGenealogy.ie, accessed 13 May 2019.

76 Not to be confused with William Oliver Jackson, who was Dean of Killala 1903-1904.

77 Church of England (1885) Crockford's Clerical Directory for 1885. London: Horace Cox, p. 636.

78 The Nenagh Guardian, 26 May 1852, ‘Pauper Emigration’, p. 1.

79 Meredith, Susanna (1865) The Lacemakers: Sketches of Irish Character with some account of the Effort to Establish Lacemaking in Ireland. London: Jackson, Walford, and Hodder, pp. 372-373.

80 White, Colonel James Grove (1913) Historical and Topographical Notes, Etc. on Buttevant, Castletownroche, Doneraile, Mallow And Places in their Vicinity, Vol. III. Cork: Guy and Co. Ltd., p. 8.

81 St. George, Richard James Mansergh (1857) 'Will of Richard James Mansergh St George of Headford Castle, Galway'. Available at The National Archives, Kew. Reference: PROB 11/2252/46

82 Edmund Lombard Hunt is the man who donated a First Nation canoe to NUIG. It had been brought back from New Brunswick, Canada, by Stepney St. George in 1825 after serving in the British Army there. It hung in the Quadrangle at the university in Galway for 153 years before being repatriated to the Maliseet Indians in 2013.

83 Tribune Life, 11 November 2005. 'History-laden canoe comes down from its lofty perch' by Christina McDonald Legg.

84 Ibid.

85 Galway County Heritage Office (2017) 'The History of Headford'. 

86 Meredith, Susanna (1865) The Lacemakers: Sketches of Irish Character with some account of the Effort to Establish Lacemaking in Ireland. London: Jackson, Walford, and Hodder, pp. 373-374.

87 Meredith, Susanna (1865) The Lacemakers: Sketches of Irish Character with some account of the Effort to Establish Lacemaking in Ireland. London: Jackson, Walford, and Hodder, p. 374.

88 O'Byrne, Robert (2017) Tyrone House and the St. George Family: The Story of an Anglo-Irish Family. Bloomington, Indiana: Xlibris, pp. 40-41.

89 Anonymous (1861) Ierne: Or, Anecdotes and Incidents During a Life Chiefly in Ireland' by a Retired Civil Engineer. London: Partridge and Co., p. 222.

90 Tuam Herald, 03 September 1864, p. 2. ‘Horticulture’

91 Bury Palliser, Fanny (1865) A History of Lace. London: Sampson, Low, Son, and Marston, p. 416. The same entry appears on p. 385 in the 1869 edition and on p. 394 in the 1875 republication

92 Clonbrock Estate Papers: Ms 35,733 (9). Clothing account book, June 1868-Dec 1872. National Library of Ireland.

93 Ibid.

94 Galway County Heritage Office (2017) 'The History of Headford'. 

95 Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons. Select Committee on industries (Ireland). (1885). Report from the Select committee on industries (Ireland): together with the proceedings of the committee, minutes of evidence and appendix. London: Printed by H. Hansard and Son.

96 Claffey, J.A. (2009) Irish Historic Towns Atlas, no. 20, Tuam. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy, p. 8.

97 Other less well-known laces mentioned include Parsonstown Lace and Birr Lace.

98 The catalogue records Mrs. Burke's address as Omer, but we believe this to be a misspelling of Ower, a townland just outside Headford.

99 Royal Jubilee Exhibition (1887), 'Royal Jubilee Exhibition, Manchester 1887: Official Catalogue' Manchester: John Heywood, p. 221. 

100 General Register Office, England (1889) England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007. Year: 1889; Volume: 2A; p. 135

101 The National Archives of Ireland, Calendars of Wills and Administrations 1858-1920: 1889, p. 680 

102 Galway County Heritage Office (2017) 'The History of Headford. See also: General Register Office, England (1892) England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005. Year: 1889; Quarter: 2; Volume: 1A; p. 331.

103 Galway County Heritage Office (2017) 'The History of Headford.

104 National Museum of Ireland. DT:1889.459-DT.1889.465. Seven specimens of pillow lace, made at Cong, Co. Galway, c.1889. Presented by Mrs. Dawson.

105 Bury Palliser, Fanny; Jourdain, Margaret and Dryden, Alice (Eds.) (1902) A History of Lace. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, pp. 445-446. 

106 Horowitz, Janet & Stark, Myra [Eds.] (1890) 'Irish Torchon Lace', published in Irish Textile Jounal. London: Routledge.

107 Ballinrobe Chronicle, 14 July 1894, p. 1. 'Convent of Mercy, Ballinrobe, Annual Bazaar'. The same piece also ran in the Ballinrobe Chronicle on 09 August 1894 (p. 6) 06 September 1894 (p. 4), and 22 September 1894 (p. 4).

108 Census of Ireland (1901) Residents of a house 14 in Main Street (Ballinrobe, Mayo). National Archives of Ireland. Additional information regarding the shop provided by Ray Hughes.

109 Census of Ireland (1901) Residents of a house 22 in Ower (Killursa, Galway). National Archives of Ireland.

110 Census of Ireland (1901) Residents of a house 8 in New Street (Headford, Galway). National Archives of Ireland.

111 Census of Ireland (1901) Residents of a house 13 in New Street (Headford, Galway). National Archives of Ireland.

112 Census of Ireland (1901) Residents of a house 16 in New Street (Headford, Galway). National Archives of Ireland.

113 Ibid.

114 Census of Ireland (1901) Residents of a house 45 in New Street (Headford, Galway). National Archives of Ireland.

115 The Tuam Herald, 30 June 1906, p.2. 'Great Conflagration. Headford Castle Burned Down'

116 The Tuam Herald, 30 June 1906, p.2. 'The Burning of Headford Castle'

117 Western People, 30 June 1906, p. 7. ‘Headford Castle’

118 Headford Agricultural Show (1910) 'Headford Agricultural Show'. Galway: Connacht Champion Printing Works.

119 'The Connacht Tribune, 24 September 1910. 'Two Successful Shows'.

120 Ibid.

121 Census of Ireland (1911) Residents of a house 1 in Headford (Headford, Galway). National Archives of Ireland.

122 Census of Ireland (1911) Residents of a house 12 in New Street (Headford, Galway). National Archives of Ireland.

123 Census of Ireland (1911) Residents of a house1 in New Street (Headford, Galway). National Archives of Ireland.

124 Census of Ireland (1911) Residents of a house 4 in Bog Road (Headford, Galway). National Archives of Ireland.

125 Census of Ireland (1911) Residents of a house 15.2 in Bridge Street (Headford, Galway). National Archives of Ireland.

126 Census of Ireland (1911) Residents of a house 2 in Gortnamona (Headford, Galway). National Archives of Ireland.

127 Census of Ireland (1911) Residents of a house 16 in Bridge Street (Headford, Galway). National Archives of Ireland.

128 Census of Ireland (1911) Residents of a house 13 in New Street (Headford, Galway). National Archives of Ireland.

129 Ibid.

130 Census of Ireland (1911) Residents of a house 7 in Bog Road (Headford, Galway). National Archives of Ireland.

131 The Connacht Tribune, 16 September 1911, p. 8. 'Headford Show'.

132 Western People, 28 September 1912, p. 2. 'Headford Agricultural and Industrial Show'.

133 Western People, 04 October 1913, p. 2. 'Headford Show'. 

134 The Connacht Tribune, 25 September 1915, p. 6. 'Headford Show'. 

135 The Connacht Tribune, 11 October 1985,  p. 7. 'Presentation College Headford collects environmental award'

136 City Tribune, 14 February 1986, p. 4. 'City ICA members enjoy lace talk!'