We in Studio Donegal view the traditional craft of hand weaving as part of the intangible cultural heritage of the area. To lose an indigenous craft is to lose a part of our history, our culture, our link to our past. We are passionate about preserving the skill of hand weaving, it is the only method we use in producing all our tweeds.
Studio Donegal began it’s life as an idealistic project to preserve the tradition of hand weaving, when machine weaving was introduced across the tweed industry in Ireland in the 1960s, hand weaving went into rapid decline. Initially engaged as manager, Kevin Donaghy later bought out the operation from parent company Connemara Fabrics. It has been passed on to a second generation of the Donaghy family, Tristan and his wife Anne now run the business, adhering to the original dream of protecting a traditional heritage craft.
Passing on the skills is of the utmost importance to us, and we have undertaken to train young apprentices, Kevin is currently our youngest weaver, having started work with us in 2012 at the age of 22, he is now a fully trained weaver. He along with our master weavers John and Tony hand weave all of the cloth we use in our garment making, and all our throws, blankets and cushions.
As more and more Irish garment manufacturers were forced to look abroad to get their garments made, sewing and garment making skills also began to decline. For us it is important to keep these skills here, so we opened a sewing room in the mill in the late 1980’s. Staffed by a skilled team of garment makers, we produce all our own ladies and gents wear.
All of this goes into making us a unique little operation, all our products are 100% hand woven, 100% hand made, 100% made in Ireland. We use only 100% wool, a fantastically sustainable material, we source this mostly in the form of yarn spun by our neighbours, Donegal Yarns, who are located just around the corner from us in the village of Kilcar.
Visitors to our mill are welcome to take a self- guided tour of the mill, where you can see our process in progress! We don’t do demonstrations, we are a genuine working mill, our team are always happy to meet you, have a chat and answer any questions you may have.