After a perfect walk at Brittas Bay we drove inland, destination being the little village of Avoca. This tiny place rose to fame in the BBC series Ballykissangel. I have to say we never watched this and it has been years since the show was axed, the fame of Avoca though still lingers and draws tourists.
Our reason for a trip here was to visit the Avoca Handweavers. I have frequented their shops in Belfast and Dublin many a time, love their rugs, throws and other products and definitely couldn’t resist the chance to see where these beautiful products are made.
This is Ireland’s oldest working woollen working mill and is said to be the country’s oldest surviving business, founded in 1723. My family history is steeped in the Irish linen trade, woollen weaving is something different but equally intriguing.
The whole place is beautiful, a series of whitewashed traditional buildings, gorgeous gardens and the most glorious picnic area right by a little stream. You could come here just to enjoy that.
Our first port of call was the tea room. The food offerings in their in-store restaurants are always superb, here it was no different. They had delicious homemade cakes and other treats on offer, we feasted on some of those washed down by a welcome cup of tea. A quick browse in the shop – how could I not – before we headed to the Visitor Centre.
Here they tell the story of the business from 1723 in an informative and interesting way. After that it was into the mill to watch the weavers at work.
There is no entrance charge, the tour is self guided and there are lots of information boards at various places to let you know what is happening at each stage of the process.
I found it fascinating, the lack of health and safety rules was also rather refreshing. We, including Son who is a big fan of any factory and place full of machines, were able to get up close and see what was going on.
You can take the tour at your own pace – as fast or slowly as you like.
The whole place is so colourful and so interesting, it definitely gave me a much greater appreciation for those lovely products in the shop. A fantastic afternoon.