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Introducing the Magee 1866 Autumn/Winter 2021 Collection – ‘Home’

The inspiration behind the Magee 1866 Autumn/Winter 2021 collection is ‘Home’ – home being Co. Donegal where we have been designing, weaving and tailoring luxurious fabrics for five generations. 

Design Director, and 5th generation family member, Charlotte Temple reflects.  

“Working on this collection in 2020, in the depths of a global pandemic, has made us appreciate where we live even more than ever. The various lockdowns, in a way, forced a new familiarity with our immediate surroundings and offered a new opportunity to observe and engage with the landscape. Details one would gloss over in the hustle and bustle of regular life came into sharp focus, the bright red autumn berry peeping through the hedgerows, the changing colour of bracken on the hills – summer greens to a burnt rust, the reflection of the sun on the sea in the early morning light.” 

“These are the same landscapes that have inspired our tweeds for decades. This collection embraces our own natural fibre fabrics, designed and woven at our mill in Donegal Town. We have delved into our archives and reinvigorated the classics. Herringbones – an age-old pattern inspired by fish bones and Salt & Pepper, a simple yet intricate pattern rich with colourful flecks – the true Donegal Tweed.” 

Classic patterns sit beside bold and oversized checks in this collection with the colour pallet inspired by the sea and land. Sea blues, mossy greens, earthy oats, peaty browns are accented by the colours of local flora like gorse, fuchsia, blackberry, moss and montbretia that were historically used to create the colourful speckles synonymous with Donegal Tweeds. 

The Men’s outerwear stands out as an exclusive selection of Donegal Tweed overcoats, classic wool city coats and quilted jackets, one of the highlights being the new Brosna coat, an oversized tweed belted overcoat in a statement plaid check. In a continuation of the commitment to developing Irish wool for use in their textiles – with wool sourced from Irish sheep and spun and woven in Donegal –  the latest addition to the Magee 1866 X Irish Wool collection is the Irish Wool Erne, a short, contemporary Donegal Tweed overcoat in a rich red, green, grey and navy check. 

   

A new addition to the range of knitwear is a luxurious cotton cashmere blend in four styles and four timeless colours. Lightweight and soft, these pieces pair beautifully with one of the Donegal Tweed jackets or Gilets in the collection. The Pettigo ribbed crew neck, a two-tone contemporary style, makes a statement.  

Casual styles like the Corlea grandfather collar shirt in the Liberty of London print “Ernest’s Adventure” sit alongside Handwoven Donegal Tweed jackets and our signature, sophisticated suits with a focus on fit and comfort. 

 

Two new styles join the women’s outerwear collection- “The Josie” is a contemporary short Donegal Tweed coat in a warm red herringbone, a bright and easy to wear number for your winter wardrobe.  

In a continuation of the commitment to developing Irish wool for use in our textiles – with wool sourced from Irish sheep and spun and woven in Donegal –  the second new style is the “Irish Wool Jessica”, a classic swing coat in a timeless red plaid, the perfect style for winter race meets or days outdoors. Classic styles like the Emma, Linsfort and Grace, a long, hacking style coat, return in new tweeds, designed and woven in Donegal. 

This season, preppy short tweed jackets and printed shirts are complemented by a beautiful knitwear collection featuring luxurious cashmere blends and chunky Donegal handknits. Cashmere/merino knits, made in Scotland, offer cloud-like softness in three different styles – crewneck, funnel neck and a casual Fair Isle. Light enough to style under a Donegal Tweed Jacket, these luxurious, versatile pieces are designed to seamlessly integrate into your wardrobe and keep you cozy on long country walks. 

Shop in store or online from August.

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.

From the dramatic rise of black sea cliffs over the Atlantic to wide, sandy beaches; from taking the scenic route along winding country roads to exploring vibrant local towns, it’s no wonder we say Donegal has it all. An absolute haven for those of us who love the outdoors, Donegal also offers plenty in the way of relaxation and luxury. If you’re planning a weekend, let us help!

Spend your first day near Donegal Town, which is a lively spot all year round.

TAKE YOUR TIME AT MOUNTCHARLES & SALTHILL GARDENS

In the morning, take a five-kilometre spin down the road to Mountcharles Pier. Stop for a coffee at the small café there, and have a splash in the ocean if you feel up for it!

After enjoying the views across the bay, head to Salthill Gardens just up the road, 200m from the sea. Built within old stone walls, this contemporary garden is bursting with flowers, shrubs and vegetables. Wander the paths, peer through rod iron garden gates, and feel as if you’ve stepped into the pages of The Secret Garden.

ENJOY AFTERNOON TEA AT LOUGH ESKE CASTLE

Served from 12pm to 5pm, a luxurious afternoon tea at Lough Eske Castle Hotel is the perfect place to whet your appetite. Explore the lovely grounds of the castle hotel and then sit down to indulge in home-baked treats, savoury sandwiches, and a glass of bubbly.

EXPLORE DONEGAL TOWN

For a town that many would consider remote, Donegal is absolutely bubbling with life. We often get to enjoy music from talented buskers in the town square, and if the sun is shining be sure to get an ice cream cone from Little Mamma’s ice cream shop. For a bit of history, pop into Donegal Castle for a tour.

Of course no trip to Donegal would be complete without a visit to Magee of Donegal (if we do say so ourselves!). The shop has been in that same location since 1866, when we began as drapers shop and traded genuine Donegal tweed. Ask for a demonstration of handweaving, which dominated the tweed market for centuries. Have a peruse of our clothing collections, which features fabrics designed and woven at our working weaving mill just down the road.

STAY AT HARVEY’S POINT

Situated on the banks of Lough Eske, Harvey’s Point offers a relaxed getaway for your weekend. If the sun is shining, sit out at the Harvey’s Point Bar & Terrace and enjoy the view. Alternatively, treat yourself to a delicious dinner at the Restaurant. Their seven-course tasting dinner is the perfect way to enjoy the best of Irish produce. Retire to a luxuriously comfortable room, furnished and fitted with complete attention to detail – and even fresh-baked cookies delivered to the door! 

On your second day in Donegal, head out the coast road and enjoy the coastline that Donegal is famous for.

TAKE A SCENIC SPIN ALONG THE COAST

In the morning, take your time enjoying the coastal road that brings you from Donegal Town to Sliabh Liag cliffs. Be sure to head toward Muckross for the spectacular views across the bay. There’s a beautiful sandy inlet there surrounded by green fields, well worth stopping the car to get out and stretch the legs.

EXPERIENCE IRELAND’S HIGHEST SEA CLIFFS

Sliabh Liag (alternatively Slieve League) are the highest sea cliffs in Europe, reaching over 600m above sea level, and unmissable on a trip to Donegal. You can choose to drive your car up nearly to the top of the cliffs, or park and enjoy the hike (and the views!). It’s a few miles, and it’s the best way to fully enjoy the spectacle of the area.

For the adventurous and experienced walkers, a One Man’s Pass loops around onto the Pilgrim’s Path, offering a strenuous but rewarding walk. It can be dangerous, especially in adverse weather conditions, so proceed with caution!

STOP AT KILLYBEGS SEAFOOD SHACK

The Seafood Shack captialises on Killybeg’s position as a working harbour town. Their seafood chowder won Ireland’s Best Chowder in 2019 at the 9th All Ireland Chowder Cook Off in Kinsale, so you definitely won’t want to miss it. Their box of fried seafood is another option you won’t want to pass up; it’s freshly made and full of local seafood. The place is literally a shack (although a very nice shack), so don’t expect fine dining – but with views of the sea, we promise you won’t mind.

HEAD TO A LOCAL PUB

What trip would be complete without a pint of Guinness and some music? Donegal Town has plenty to offer in the way of pubs, from small locals to lively bars brimming with music and energy. McCafferty’s Bar has music seven nights a week if you’re looking for a place to pass an evening!

On your third day in Donegal, it’s time to head north into the country.

VISIT GLENVEAGH NATIONAL PARK

It’s just over an hour from Donegal Town, but Glenveagh is certain to be one of the highlights of the trip. Given the distance and the amount to do in the area, we’d recommend spending the day. 

Park your car for free, and then a free shuttle bus will take you up to the castle. The tour of the castle will take you through the history of the area. The surrounding gardens are built on the banks of Lough Beagh, offering a relaxing stroll with lovely views.

The café on site offers delicious, affordable food for your lunch. Fully fortified, we recommend taking a hike through the national park, following the trails. You’ll see Mount Errigal and other breath-taking views as you go. If hiking isn’t your favourite pastime, it’s still worth hopping in the car and taking a leisurely drive around the lough to fully appreciate the beauty of the area.

If you’re on the lookout for more to do, don’t miss the Poisoned Glen at the foot of Mount Errigal, just west of the National Park.

As always, we hope you enjoy your visit to our beautiful county and come away saying, as we do… Donegal has it all! 

Handweaving is a skill that has been passed down through the generations. It is suggested that the art of weaving dates back to the Palaeolithic era, although there is little evidence to support this. Woven linen cloth has been found dating back to the Neolithic period. While there may be a few thousand years in the debate as to when weaving was first developed, we know for a fact it is a reassuringly ancient skill and craft!

Market day in the ‘Diamond’, Donegal Town.

This unique fabric is the backbone of our family company – in 1866 John Magee founded his handwoven tweed business in Donegal, Ireland. At that time weaving was a skill many farmers and fishermen had honed, the cloth they wove on large wooden looms was hardwearing and tough, and the most ‘technical’ fabric of its time – used to keep out the damp and cold in not only Donegal, but across Ireland, the UK and was a staple garment for the early polar explorers and alpinists across the globe.

Photograph of the 1924 Everest Exhibition – photograph from the John Noel Collection. Tweed and wool feature as the ‘ultimate kit’ for these pioneering alpinists. Wool has a natural ability to ‘wick’ away moisture to its vapour state, making it still one of the best and most sustainable technical fibres.

In 2019, we are still designing and producing a unique handwoven fabric – we retain similar, timeless designs – namely the herringbone – inspired by fish-bones and the ‘true Donegal tweed’ – the salt & pepper. We use the finest of yarns – lambswool, mohair and cashmere. Designs are sent to the weavers who work in their homes, the raw fabric is then sent back to the mill to be washed and finished. We wash the raw, oily fabric in the peaty waters of the River Eske, which flows by the mill, resulting in a beautifully soft finish.

The traditional wooden handloom

Donegal handwoven tweed is distinctive with its bright flecks of colour woven through each piece. Heather purples, grass greens, fuchsia pinks, gorse yellows, sea blues, rusty oranges and earthy browns to name but a few colours found in this unique fabric.

Shop our tweed

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