On Saturday, as part of our weekend break in Lisburn, we visited the Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum for the first time. The Centre, which is situated on Market Square, is a museum which explores the history of Irish linen, from the flax fibre, right through to the finished fabric such as tablecloths and handkerchiefs.
To be honest, I didn’t know much about the heritage so I thought it would be good to see the skill and expertise which went into creating the fine linen cloth over hundreds of years.
We made our way around the museum, stopping to listen to the expert guides and seeing live demos along the way. We were shown flax spinning and heard all about how the term ‘spinster’ derives from the fact that most of the spinners were unmarried women! (Not least because the work resulted in bad backs, limps and mouth sores!)
To finish, we saw the intricate techniques and detail needed in creating the final design on the fabric! Even back then, the precision was really impressive!
As I said, I didn’t know much about linen production but it’s an interesting , free museum which opens your eyes into the rich linen history here.
History of linen production
VIDEO 1: Flax Spinning
Creating the final design on the fabric