Headford Flax Growers 2021

Following on from the success with the local flax growing scheme in 2020, we decided to broaden participation in the project. With a grant from Pobal through Tidy Towns, Ester suggested that we put out a call both locally and nationally for volunteers to grow flax. The response was encouraging, with interest from Dublin to Mayo to Headford.

We made up flax packs, which included enough seed for 1 square metre, sowing, growing and harvesting information sheets and a journal for growers to keep track of their experience. These were posted out to the participants. A WhatsApp group was started to keep in touch with all the growers and to answer any questions that might arise.

The culmination of our project happened on 9 October in the Headford Community Garden. The Men’s Shed built 3 flax breaks and heckles for the event. Sandra Coote from Crafts of Ireland joined us on the day. She brought along her antique flax processing equipment, spinning wheels and scutching boards. It was a hive of activity. Growers came along to process their hand grown, dried and retted flax and turned it into raw linen.

We know through extensive research that flax was grown in and around Headford to supply the lace industry and to bring that part of our agricultural and cultural heritage back to life has been a privilege to be a part of. The understanding of how much time and hard work went into making a single spool of linen has put the fast fashion of today into stark perspective.

We would like to thank all of the participants, Pobal, The Men’s Shed, The Headford Community Garden, Tidy Towns and Sandra Coote Crafts of Ireland for making this endeavour a success.

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