Borris Lace

Borris lace is a tape lace technique similar to Battenberg or Branscombe lace, being made with lace tape joined by various filling stitches. The name of the lace comes from the village of Borris in Co carlow, home of the Kavanagh family. In 1857 Lady Harriet Kavanagh visited Corfu and was so impressed by the specimens of old Greek Lace that she bought some pieces. Lady Harriet, who also bought some specimens of tape laces from Venice and Milan, felt that they could be copied in Borris by the local women, thus enabling them to add to the small earnings of their menfolk.

Lady Harriet was succeeded in her endeavours by her daughter-in-law Frances. Lady Frances Kavanagh expanded the lace-making industry. Classes were held weekly and materials distributed. Lady Frances Kavanagh was also responsible for many of the designs used. World War I saw a decline for Borris lace and by the 1960s there were only three lace-makers left, and most of their work was exported to America, In the early years Borris lace was mainly exported to England, the largest customer being the Irish Linen Stores on New Bond Street, London.