One of the oldest fabrics in the world, the tradition and history of weaving linen in Ireland goes back hundreds of years.
It is made from the flax plant, which is a really versatile crop that’s cultivated for yarn and food (flax is where linseed comes from).
Linen is a sustainable, natural material, known for its cool, fresh properties. A staple for the summer season. It’s easy to dress up or down, taking you from workdays and warm-weather weddings to casual weekend adventures.
At our mill in Donegal, we design and weave linen namely for tailored garments – suits and blazers and for our range of fabrics by the metre. Suitable for use in apparel and home furnishing projects, this season’s Limited Edition collection features a muted pallet of soft, light colours in glen checks and herringbone weaves.
For shirting, we look to our friends Baird McNutt, another long-established mill in the north of Ireland. A timeless hopsack linen is used in our women’s Ella tunics and beautifully tailored men’s shirts. These are truly investment pieces designed and made to last.
Summer is officially here, and it’s a good time to take a look at some of our favourite things to do in Donegal, our home.
Take a Dip
We are spoiled in Donegal with fantastic beaches, over 100 of them in fact. They’re so good, Donegal features not once but twice in Condé Nast Traveller’s list of the top beaches in Ireland. Donegal also boasts the joint highest number of Blue Flag Beaches in Ireland for the 2021 season at 14.
Whether you’re interested in swimming, surfing, stand up paddle boarding, or if you’re a book under a parasol type, there is a beach for you!
Among our favourites is Murvagh Beach, just south of Donegal town. Stretching for nearly 2km, and backed with sand dunes, there’s plenty of room to stretch out and enjoy.
At the mouth of Lough Swilly, Portsalon beach is sheltered from the North Atlantic, making it the perfect spot for a swim.
We can’t leave out Mountcharles Pier, our local beach where the Temple family grew up and spent many happy summer days as children. Chairman Lynn Temple swims in the ocean all year round with his Labrador Riley. We recommend warming up post-swim in Salthill Cabin with a hot cuppa and take a walk around the petting farm, complete with Donegal’s very own lamas!
The pier is also where the family boat sets sail from. A traditional, wooden Galway Hooker, Sandpiper has even played host to a couple of Magee 1866 photoshoots.
Take a Stroll
Be it exploring the 1,000 kilometers of coastline or climbing the ‘hills of Donegal’, there are always plenty of walks to discover.
Ireland’s highest sea cliffs, Sliabh Liag is located along the Wild Atlantic Way and offers breathtaking panoramic views across Donegal Bay. With multiple walking trails to choose from and a wealth of history and culture to explore, a trip to Sliabh Liag is well worth it.
For a day out, Glenveagh National Park has it all. The rugged mountain landscape is contrasted by the beautiful walled gardens of Glenveagh Castle, nestled beside Lough Beagh at the centre of the park. Enjoy the network of trails for walking or cycling as well as the breathtaking scenery, waterfalls, flora and fauna.
If you are looking for some hills to tackle, head out to Lough Eske, the gateway into the Bluestack Mountains. CEO Rosy, often nips out after work with a map and trail runners for an escape into the unspoiled wilderness of this area. Look out for the odd grouse or cool off with a swim in the magical Lough Belshade.
Take a Bite
Our location on the North West of Ireland means we’re famous for our fish, with Killybegs being Ireland’s premier sea port. Try out the Killybegs Seafood Shack and enjoy fresh fish and chips sitting on the harbour wall. Or take a drive out to Mullinasole and check in to the Salmon Inn for delicious seafood with views over the bay.
Take it Easy
We love a wander around Donegal Town on a summer’s afternoon, exploring the architecture of Donegal Castle and walking along the banks of the River Eske.
There is no place quite like it when the sun shines on The Diamond – the main hub of the town, surrounded by cafés, bars, restaurants and our Magee of Donegal store which has stood on the same site since first opened as a draper’s store by John Magee in the 1800’s.
A true destination shopping experience, at Magee of Donegal we showcase our Magee 1866 men’s and women’s collections alongside our accessories and home interiors collections – designed and made in Ireland.
Our Made to Measure area offers an oasis of calm while you select the perfect combination of luxury fabrics and trims for your own tailor-made pieces. For tired shoppers, The Weaver’s Loft Bistro* focuses on a seasonal menu and home baking and is the perfect stopover.
If you want to be in with a chance to win a holiday in Donegal, we have partnered with Harvey’s Point Hotel for an exclusive giveaway.
We are offering one lucky winner a Magee 1866 Summer look to the value of €600 and a midweek stay at the magnificent Harvey’s Point Hotel consisting of 2 nights B&B as well as an evening meal for two on the night of your choice.
To enter head over to our Facebook or Instagram profiles and follow the instructions on the post.
Giveaway closes at 11.59pm GMT on Wednesday, 30 June 2021.
* Currently closed in line with Government restrictions.
Another long-established brand, founded in the 19th Century like us, Liberty of London have brought unique design and beautiful fabrics to the world since 1875.
We love working with the iconic Liberty of London and have been incorporating their original prints into our collections since the late 1990’s.
Luxury fabrics are at the heart of what we do at Magee 1866 with our own tweeds and linens, which we design and weave at our mill in Donegal, so it makes sense that we would look to Liberty of London to collaborate.
This season, Liberty of London prints complement the collection with watercolour and hand-painted florals, providing pops of unexpected summer colour in Liberty’s signature Tana Lawn™ cotton. A masterpiece of fabric technology, this fine cotton has a distinctive hand-feel and translucent, silk-like softness.
Highlights include the Hannah shirt in ‘Felda’, a dreamy watercolour print of meadow flowers, available in a delicate blue or soft pink.
Equally suited to the beach or weekend wear, the casual Ella Tunic brings summer vibrancy with the colourful prints ‘Oleander’– a tropical pink and green floral – and ‘Jungle Trip’ – a layered tangle of flowers and foliage in blues and yellows.
Introducing the Magee 1866 Summer 2021 Collection ‘Halcyon Days’.
Summer always brings forth feelings of nostalgia for carefree days gone by, long sunny afternoons spent outdoors, the halcyon days of our youth. This year we harnessed this calm nostalgia and used it as inspiration for our Summer 2021 collection.
Living in Donegal we are spoiled with stunning landscapes – wonderous beaches and magical forests. In this collection we are capturing the freedom of the outdoors with bright colours combined with misty shades in our natural fibre fabrics, designed and woven at our mill.
Our men’s collection evokes an effortless calm with suave silk blends and casual Irish linens. This collection pays reverence to the nature we enjoy on our doorstep through colour, texture and the celebration of our own beautiful fabrics sustainably woven in Donegal.
Sage and mossy greens are accented with earthy tones in our stand-out silk and cotton blend herringbone Liffey Jacket, a lightweight alternative to Donegal Tweed. Our popular Cavan Gilet returns in a silk blend oceanic blue and pairs beautifully with a casual linen shirt for effortless summer style.
Lightweight tweeds are complimented by soft casual shirts in fun vintage prints and sun kissed hues. Combined with our range of bright cotton knits, this is an easy to wear collection with lots of personality.
Our blushingwomen’s Collection is inspired by the fragile beauty of woodland flowers and sun-bleached shades. A world in dreamy soft focus.
Key pieces include the Emma Coat in two misty shades of blue and grey, the first pieces in our new Magee 1866 X Irish Wool collection that sees wool sourced, spun, designed and woven in Ireland.
The longline Moyne Silk Blend Jacket in sky blue herringbone, offers a confident, tailored look when styled with the matching Tina Trousers. This suit looks just as put together paired with heels or crisp white trainers.
Liberty of London prints compliment the collection with watercolour and hand-painted florals, providing pops of unexpected summer colour in Liberty’s signature Tana Lawn Cotton.
Sustainability is at the heart of what we do at Magee 1866, and we are constantly inspired by the beautiful landscape that surrounds Donegal. Irish linen features heavily throughout the collection, in our range of men’s shirts as well as the fabrics woven at our mill in Donegal.
Irish sheep are synonymous with our landscape, but are not known for their soft wool. At Magee 1866 we are part of a wider movement to develop Irish Wool for use in fine textiles and have been working closely with our yarn supplier, Donegal Yarns, on an exciting journey to introduce Irish Wool into our collections.
This all began in 2016 with Patrick Temple, CEO of Magee Weaving, having a conversation with Chris Weiner of Donegal Yarns. It was the 150th anniversary of the company, and Patrick had been reviewing the extensive weaving archives and noted that in the past, Irish wool had a strong presence in our collections.
With that, the idea was born to work together to encourage Irish farmers to breed sheep for their wool.
Wool as a natural fibre has been used in textiles for centuries. Magee was founded on handwoven tweed in the 1800’s. This hardwearing, coarse fabric was handwoven across Donegal by part-time fishermen and farmers as the perfect fabric for dissipating the damp and cold weather, so often found in North-west Ireland, a far cry from the luxurious cloths being produced today.
Our ethos as a company has always been slow fashion and to use natural fibres, with the global drive towards a more sustainable future this has never been more relevant. Wool encompasses this aim perfectly – it is natural, biodegradable, recyclable and renewable.
Due to our climate, wool from Irish sheep traditionally has a rougher handle (the fibres are shorter) than their southern hemisphere counterparts and is more often used in carpeting than in clothing, but unfortunately the demand in recent years for this product has been steadily declining.
In Ireland sheep are bred for their milk and meat. There are over 2.5 million sheep here and their wool is currently classified as ‘waste’ with little to no value. Over the last year spinners, weavers and designers are looking to new ways to use this natural product and re-classify its use in order to give it value and properly develop the end use.
Today, we are working closely with farmers and Donegal Yarns to source finer wool from Irish sheep to re-ignite positivity around this fantastic and ‘local’ raw material. The wool is sourced from across Ireland and spun in Kilcar, ready to be designed and woven into luxurious fabrics at our mill in Donegal Town.
For Spring Summer 2021 the Emma Coat is our first piece to showcase Irish Wool. This contemporary, oversized coat with patch pockets is available in two soft, misty colours. Our design team have drawn inspiration from our natural surroundings in Donegal for this unique fabric – blue-grey skies, the sea, rocks and lichen. Launching in Spring (more associated with lighter-weight fabrics) we wanted to create colours and a piece that would work all year round in a wool – a soft grey & cream and blue & grey.
We have been weaving for 5 generations, like us, Irish Wool is not here today and gone tomorrow. We are in this for the long haul, and look forward to making Irish Wool a part of our future across our collections.
We are excited to announce the introduction of Irish Wool in our collections. A project very close to our hearts and something that has been in the pipeline for some time.
At Magee 1866 we are part of the wider movement towards a more sustainable future and we are committed to developing and using Irish Wool in our collections. We are working with Donegal Yarns, a local yarn supplier beside us in Kilcar, on sourcing wool from Irish farms across the country.
The raw wool is then spun by Donegal Yarns into fine yarn and designed and woven into luxury cloth at our Mill in Donegal Town.
Our commitment doesn’t end there, Patrick Temple, CEO of Magee Weaving, and fifth generation family member, has also teamed up with sheep farmer James Lorinyenko to develop fine Irish Wool on the family farm at Rathforker, just outside Donegal Town with fields overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
For Spring Summer 2021 the Emma Coat is our first piece to showcase Irish Wool. A contemporary, oversized coat with patch pockets. Available in two soft, misty colours – inspired by Donegal skies, the sea, stone walls and lichen. A blue & grey and grey & cream Donegal tweed. We hope you will love these pieces as much as we do.
Irish Wool is not here today and gone tomorrow, we are in for the long haul and this movement will evolve season after season through our collections. Keep an eye out for more in our AW21 collection.
While we have all been spending a lot more time at home over the last year, we have been working behind the scenes on our Interiors Collection, which is made in Ireland.
Our beautiful range of throws, accessories and fabrics are designed and woven in our mill in Donegal Town and will add the perfect Spring refresh to your interiors. Drawing on the land and seascapes that surround us in Donegal, our experienced in-house design team work closely together, carefully selecting appropriate yarns and colours for each piece.
The two latest additions are our Brigid’s Cross and Wigwam Throws.
The Brigid’s Cross Throw – The intricate design of this 100% wool throw is inspired by the iconic Saint Brigid’s Cross. Synonymous with the beginning of Spring, this well-known symbol in Irish heritage is presented here in a rich textured weave combining luxurious shades of blue, grey and unexpected flecks of colour inspired by the Donegal coast. Also available in a rich brown combination, a reflection of the rugged landscapes of the north-west.
Wigwam Throw – Bright, fresh colours for spring. Our energising range of Wigwam Throws make a statement. The eye-catching geometric design in 100% lambswool creates a rich texture, highlighting the vibrant tones and enhancing the colourful Donegal flecks. With nearly every colour of the rainbow represented, you will find a throw to compliment your interior scheme.
One of the easiest ways to refresh your interiors is with accessories. Our selection of tweed cushions, available in lambswool or a lush cashmere lambswool blend, come in neutral earth tones. The classic and delicate herringbone Donegal tweed is woven at our mill and the cushions are filled with a luxurious duck down filling.
Our collection oftweed by the metre offers endless opportunity for upholstery, drapery or soft furnishings. From our core range of signature Donegal Tweeds to special, limited edition collections, these furnishing specific fabrics are designed to last, and provide a sustainable option perfect for commercial or domestic projects.
Green is the colour perhaps most synonymous with Ireland – our fields and hedgerows, leafy green trees and mossy banks. It’s these unique landscapes that inspire our designers when creating our fabrics and collections.
To mark St. Patrick’s Day, we’ve collected some of our favourite green pieces.
Handwoven Salt & Pepper Donegal Tweed Jacket
A true Donegal Tweed, the salt & pepper weave is rich in colourful flecks, inspired by the flora and fauna found in the Northwest of Ireland. Handwoven in Donegal, this timeless green jacket is part of a long history of handweaving in Ireland, the foundation of our fifth-generation family business and a traditional and skilled craft we are proud to support.
The colour green is really versatile, you only need to look at a bunch of flowers to see that there is barely a shade it doesn’t compliment! Our Lunnaigh Lambswool V-Neck Jumper will integrate seamlessly into your wardrobe.
These books are Made in Ireland with tweed designed and woven at our mill, this capsule collection of tweed notebooks speak to Ireland’s long literary tradition. Who knows, a future great novel or poem might be being penned in one as we speak!
The vibrant green of this Wigwam Throw, designed and woven at our mill on the banks of the River Eske, brings this intricate geometric pattern to life. Dappled with colourful Donegal flecks, this throw will add a touch of spring to your interiors.
It’s been a tough year for everyone. Lockdowns, separated from the ones we love and the dreaded homeschooling!
This Mother’s Day, more than ever, you should take the chance to spoil your mum. We spoke to some of the Magee 1866 team about how they are going to celebrate this year.
Charlotte – Design Director
“As a mum of three young kids, Mother’s Day is usually marked by cuddles and cards in bed – their weekend clock can be pretty early so I am not sure a lie-in is on the agenda! My kids love art and I have some very special cards and pictures from the last few years. Mother’s Day to me means spring, so we try to spend some time outdoors, usually that would include a visit to my parents but this year we’ll FaceTime instead. My ideal Mother’s Day gift would be our Grey Donegal Tweed Lily Jacket, it’s the perfect style for this time of year and looks great paired with skinny jeans and white trainers for an off-duty Sunday.”
Sorcha – Digital Marketing
“I won’t get to see my mum this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make a fuss. My mum loves to accessories, so I’ve picked one of our gorgeous new Glen Check wide scarves, designed and woven here in Donegal. The neutral grey shade is really versatile and with the Irish weather the way it is I’m confident she will get many opportunities to wear it.”
Daniel – Ecommerce Manager
“With two young boys at home, the greatest gift I could give my wife is the day off! Me and the boys will head out for the afternoon and leave my wife to relax and catch up on her favourite Netflix shows. Our Wigwam throws are ideal for tucking up in on the couch, the boys can buy the chocolates.
Don’t forget – Mother’s Day is Sunday, 14th March 2021. Explore our gift guide here.
Like most things, this Valentine’s Day is going to be a little different, BUT if you are lucky enough to be with your love this year, there are still lots of ways to mark the day and we have some ideas…
A Romantic Walk
Although it’s technically spring, you shouldn’t ditch the layers just yet. Before you head out for a nice romantic walk (withing the restrictions, of course), pop on our Glenveigh Quilted Jacket or wrap up in a warm lambswool pashmina, designed and woven at our mill in Donegal.
Dress for Dinner
OK so you can’t go out, but that doesn’t stop you from dressing for dinner. Go all out in your finest tweed suit, light a candle and break out the table linens. Whether you’re ordering in or cooking from scratch, this will certainly make an impact.
Low-key Picnic for Two
Bring the outdoors in with a picnic (or brave your garden all wrapped up!). Take a throw – our colourful Wigwam Collection, designed and woven in Donegal is a good choice – and a couple of luxurious, duck-down filled tweed cushions, and you have the makings of a charming picnic for two.
Take up Poetry
There is no better time in the year to profess your love than Valentine’s Day, and no better medium to do it than poetry. Our Donegal Tweed Notebooks are made in Ireland and are the perfect vehicle for you to present the fruits of your creative labour.