Mucros Weavers Scarves: The Art of John Cahill
Mucros Weavers Scarves in the colors of Ireland. Several years ago I went with Terry to Ireland to get a feel for the country, and learn about the people and products sold at The Celtic Ranch. The first day we visited Mucros was a drizzly gray day, the foliage was a deep green, and I fell in love. Killarney was my favorite spot, especially Killarney National Park, which has inspired generations of artists and craftsmen to create pieces that combine function and beauty in a way only the Irish can. Famed for its mountains, streams, waterfall, ancient trees, and breathtaking scenery it is also host to Muckross House, keeper of tradition and history. Along with the gardens, the mansion, farmstead, historical library and book bindery is Mucros Weavers. Under the spell of his surroundings John Cahill, Master Weaver, combines tradition and fashion to create hats, scarves, and fabrics whose quality and beauty are so captivating they’ve become a staple in shops specializing in Irish goods all over the world. John Cahill has presided over the textiles produced at Mucros Weavers for over 30 years, having begun in the 1970s after attending Galashiels Technical College for weaving. He combs the world for the finest yarns, and hand picks or designs each one to his exacting specifications. To create their popular scarves, John uses looms that are two hundred years old which have been mechanized to increase productivity. During our visit we got to go into the yarn room, a cache of color and texture, with carefully organized spools of yarn lining shelves almost to the ceiling. YES WE GOT TO TOUCH THEM! There were soft alpaca, suri alpaca, and mohair yarns, alongside slick viscose yarns , and nubby woolen boucle yarns in the colors of the mountains, forests, and skies of Kerry. If you have the good fortune to meet John in person, you’ll find he’s a pure delight, soft spoken and reticent until he starts talking about weaving, then wham! His eyes sparkle and he becomes animated, sharing his love of his craft til you can’t help but want to get behind a loom. To see a little piece of what I’m talking about, check out our video: John Cahill, Mucros Weavers The scarves are woven as one long piece, then cut into lengths and tied at the ends to create the fringe. This technique produces a scarf unlikely to unravel, due to the fact that there are no sewn ends or edges. Each scarf has a selvage (a self-finished edge) which is why a Mucros Weavers scarf is uniquely durable and beautiful. A Mucros Weavers scarf does more than warm you in the winter chill, or add a touch of color and style. Thanks to the artistry of John Cahill, you’re wrapping yourself in the trees, streams, mountains and skies of County Kerry. This blog is part of a series about Muckross House, it's history and crafts, keep checking back for more!