COTSWOLD INTERIOR DESIGNER ON TOUR: IRELAND

We’re so privileged to live in the Cotswolds – a truely beautiful place, but I get a lot of my interior design inspiration from travelling. Every year we make a summer trip to Ireland to meet up with family and visit new and favourite places.

DESIGN INSPIRATIONS

We had a day free in Dublin and I got a chance to visit the Stable store.  Stable design and make contemporary woven products based on traditional practices. The majority of items are either linen or wool and everything is made in Ireland to the highest quality. I found them on Instagram and was really looking forward to visiting them and seeing their products in the flesh. I love their sustainable methods, but their design ethos is what got me really excited.

Crois Cords: Traditional Irish Woven Belts

Francie Duff gave me a lovely warm, welcome and shared some fascinating insights into their design inspirations.

“The crios belt was traditionally woven and worn by fishermen across Ireland, but particularly on the Aran Islands. It is woven by hand, without a loom, by simply stretching the yarn between two stools or, more traditionally, between one hand and one foot. Just as every family would knit their Aran sweaters with a particular series of stitches in order to distinguish a fisherman drowned at sea, so too would every crios have its own particular identifying set of colours. The crios would have been worn with a bástchóta(waistcoat) and home-spun, handwoven tweed trousers.

During the 17th and 18th Centuries, Ireland came under English Penal Law whereby many aspects of Irish tradition, including religion, language and dress, were banned. It is for this reason that the crios, amongst many other aspects of folk costume, survived only in the remotest parts of Ireland like the Aran Islands. We searched the island to find one of the few remaining crios weavers, Liz, to make our belts exclusively and especially for Stable

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ARTIST PATRICK SCOTT

Francie also introduced me to the work of artist Patrick Scott. (Thank you so much!) I’m ashamed to say that I hadn’t heard of him before, but I was instantly drawn to his work. The serenity and precision of his work reflect his interest in Buddhism. Francie and Pat were friends and so it was only natural for Stable to create a design in homage to his work. Pat Scott was commissioned to design textile prints for Irish businessman, Patrick

McGuire. “Pub Wall” was one of the designs created by Pat and was inspired by tiles on Dublin pub walls. The designs were printed onto Irish Linen and taken to New York for an exhibition in 1955. Francie explained further “Seeing a piece of the original fabric in Pat’s house in Dublin we set about the project of reproducing the design. For the Pat Scott Blanket, we worked closely with Kieran and Shaun from Molloy & Sons Weavers in Donegal.

It was no easy project to interpret the Pub Wall design into a blanket weave and Shaun was particularly interested in the challenge.
The result follows a couple of years work in the background and we are all so pleased with the result.”

The sumptuous wool blanket really needs to be seen and felt to appreciate its’ beauty.

Pub wall linen print

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Untitled 2009 Image courtesy of fineartmultiple.com

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Pub wall woven throw available from Stable

TAKING IN THE SCENERY

After Dublin, we headed down to the Beara Peninsula via Cashel and the beautifully designed Mikey Ryan’s pub. Sims Hilditch (the Bath-based interior design company) has done a great job of creating a contemporary upscale Irish pub.

My sister-in-law, Anne recommended we visit the Beara peninsula describing it as “a hidden corner of Ireland”. It didn’t disappoint. The scenery was spectacular and the fresh fish from Castletownbere is not to be missed.

Dingle is one of our favourite destinations. We were initially drawn by the amazing landscapes (of the film “Ryan’s Daughter” fame) and we keep going back because of the great seafood and lively craic in the town.

IRISH GLASS ARTIST HARRY CLARKE

This year I had an additional reason to go. Glass artist Sasha Ward (see my studio visit blog here) told me that I shouldn’t miss the amazing stained glass windows by renowned Irish glass artist Harry Clarke. Thanks, Sasha – they really were worth dashing through the torrential rain to see! Have a look at some of the beautiful details pictured here.

If you’re in Dingle, then you mustn’t miss Dick Mack’s. It’s my favourite Irish pub, a great place to listen to live music and sup the black stuff. This visit we witnessed customers (who were father and daughter) join the musicians singing. They both had amazing voices – it was such a special moment and one that I didn’t want to spoil by getting out my phone to video.

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OUR FINAL DESTINATION: COUNTY CLARE

Our final destination was Lahinch in County Clare. We were meeting for a family gathering to remember and celebrate the life of a much-loved man who passed away last year. He would have loved the parties held in his honour.

We didn’t do much travelling around, but on a quiet Saturday morning, Anne took us to the fascinating Burren Perfumery, which I can wholeheartedly recommend. They make perfumes and cosmetics using natural and organic ingredients. They take their inspiration from the landscape around them. Everything is made by hand, on-site, in the Burren. I loved their seasonal perfumes and chose “Autumn Harvest” for myself. Despite being August the weather was already turning and the scent seemed to sum up the wilder winds and lashing rain.

On our way home we drove past this sign and couldn’t resist stopping to take a picture – what a winning combination!

WANT TO EXPLORE OUR COTSWOLD INTERIOR DESIGN PROJECTS?

If you are ready to start your Cotswold interior design journey then why not get in touch for an informal chat.

We offer an Interior Design Service that can take care of every aspect of your interiors project. If you’re considering a new build or home renovation and think we could help, we would love to hear from you!

Call us on 01386 258007 or email us at info@helenbainbridge.co.uk to discuss your project.