We had a wonderful day in Merrion Square in Dublin today taking part in RTÉ ‘Reflecting The Rising’ craft village. We met lots of people who helped us felt our 1916 – 2016 banner – thanks to all the women, men and children who rolled up their sleeves and made the banner with us. As soon as the banner is dry we will post a photograph here.
We have been researching how wool was felted or ‘fulled’ one hundred years ago in Ireland. One of our committee members, Clodagh Mac Donagh told us a story from her late father from Connemara:
There wasn’t felting as we know it, but there was fulling. As a child, my father recalled that the family would receive their homespun fabric from the local weaver, and it would be soaked in urine in a tin bath in the outhouse, and two men would then sit on chairs opposite each other and would kick the fabric to each other, the fabric, all the while was being shrunk (felted) rendering it windproof, waterproof, and much warmer and tougher.The Irish (Gaelic) word for urine is called fual, so my theory is that this is where the Americans get the term fulling.In Newfoundland (where lots of Irish emigrated) there was a very strong culture of treating woven cloth by beating it (roughly the same idea) and they used to sing fabulous songs (to the rhythm of the beating) called waulking songs in the background of any felting type activity.
Thanks to Norma O’Connor and the crew from RTÉ for their warm welcome and for arranging the sunshine!
Here are some pictures from today: