Limerick lace legend lives on in new exhibition

Councillor Gerald Mitchell, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick launched an exhibition, The Art of the Stitch, The Enduring Legacy of Maude Kearney exhibition of lace from the Maude Kearney Collection. Maude’s granddaughter Grania McElligott toghther with her family officially handed over of the Maude Kearney Lace Collection to Matthew Potter and Zara Power Limerick City Museum. Photo: Keith Wiseman.

THE private collection of a legend of Limerick lacemaking is now on show at the Limerick Museum.

Maude Kearney is known as one of the greatest figures in the history of Limerick lace. Born in 1873, she opened her first lacemaking business in 1904, reviving the art of lacemaking in Limerick and providing a source of employment for at least 50 local women.

At a time when a woman’s role was largely confined to the home, Maude was known for whizzing around in her sports car and building a solid property empire in Dublin – all while running her family of five children.

Now, 150 years after her birth, the lace mogul’s personal lace collection is on show in her beloved Limerick.

The exhibition, ‘The Art of the Stitch: The enduring legacy of Maude Kearney’, was made possible when Maude’s granddaughter, Grania McElligott, donated the historic lace collection to the Limerick Museum earlier this month.

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

Accepting the donation on behalf of the people of Limerick, Mayor Gerald Mitchell said: “This is one of the most significant donations to Limerick Museum for many years. It is one of the biggest collections of Limerick lace in private ownership, so this donation will make the museum’s collection of Limerick lace the largest in existence.”

“The collection is of very high quality with many unique and rare items and it has a very historic provenance in that the collection belonged to Maude Kearney, the leading figure in Limerick lace for 50 years.

“On behalf of the people of Limerick, I wish to thank Grania and her family for their great generosity in giving their priceless collection to Limerick Museum.”

Speaking about her late grandmother’s legacy, Grania McElligott commented: “I think that, through Maude’s extraordinary influence, the heritage of the ‘Art of the Stitch’, which she passed on to me and to many others, is now being passed on to other generations, albeit in a rather different way.”

“On behalf of my sisters, Fionnuala and Geraldine, I wish to formally hand over the Maude Kearney Collection into the safekeeping of Limerick Museum. Having it here in the city where it belongs is a wonderful opportunity to portray the influence of this awe-inspiring, indomitable woman, whom we are proud to call our grandmother.”

The exhibition runs at the Limerick Museum, situated in the Old Franciscan Friary on Henry Street, until January 31. Admission is free.