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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.  

Shop Magee 1866 X Irish Wool.

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. 

Shop Magee 1866 X Irish Wool.

 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.  

Throws  

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.   

Cushions  

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.   

Furnishing Fabrics   

Our collection of tweed 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.   

Shop our Home Interiors collection.

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