Another sort of tweed fabric is produced in the north Ireland in the picturesque area Donegal. Therefore it is called Donegal tweed. More than a century local residents rear in these mountains and swamps a special breed of sheep with warm long fleece, which protects them from cold. During a long period of time fabrics were made of this fleece, and natural ingredients such as blackberry juice and other north berries juice, fushia or genista extracts were used as dyes.
History of Donegal tweed
In the end of the 18th century cloth manufactures began to appear in Ireland. Very thick and warm fleece of sheep from Donegal was in popular demand not only in the homeland but also in other parts of Britain. Industrial production of Donegal tweed developed rapidly, and this fabric began to be bought willingly all over the world.
Donegal tweed at the present time
Today Donegal tweed producers still observe their traditions carefully. Old domestic productions, which are situated in the mountains on the coast of a cold see, do their best, so that their tweed could keep its own special features. Factories let tourists in willingly and show them both modern and old weaver’s looms proudly.
Besides, some part of Donegal tweed is still made by hand only. It costs more expensive than machine analogue but it has the genuine spirit of Ireland. In the 60s of the 20th century the majority of the Irish weaving factories turned to machine production. But there are still those that do not accept automation. Manual production of tweed still remains an important economic part of this region of Ireland because it procures work for many local residents.
Donegal tweed differs from similar tweed sorts with characteristic texture. Thick, heavy, rope-formed threads turn into warm and practical products. Typical of Donegal tweed trim bright colouring makes the fabric fascinating. Dyeing of wool fibres is also made by hand, so that every ready-made product is inimitable.
Donegal tweed products
Items, which are traditionally made of Donegal tweed:
The Irish believe, that nothing protects from moist cold wind better than cosy woollen scarf of any colouring, checked, striped or herringbone. And Donegal scarf pleases with elegant stylish colour!
Famous women’s hats and caps of Donegal tweed have a special place. Craftsmen from the Irish factories experiment constantly with traditional and ultramodern cut of head wears and offer various berets, kepis, exquisite brimmed hats. Even in raw weather you will feel warm and comfortable in this hat!