Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Culloville lace-maker to appear in RTE’s Ear to The Ground series

A highly accomplished lace-maker from Culloville is set to showcase her skills in an upcoming episode of RTE’s Ear to the Ground series, due to be broadcast in the coming weeks.

Pensioner Mary McMahon is renowned throughout the area for her talent in the intricate art of lace-making and she is one of only a handful of people in the district who still have the knowledge and skills for the local craft of Carrickmacross Lace.  Mary, who has been creating stunning hand made lace pieces since she was a young girl,  has made delicate items such as veils and christening gowns for generations of families in the local area and her highly sought after work is also commissioned by the Lace Gallery in Carlow.

In fact, it was while on location filming in the Lace Gallery that the RTE team first heard about Mary and were encouraged to come to interview her at her home in Culloville.

The talented lacemaker was filmed demonstrating the intricate art – which dates back to the early 1800s – for the popular weekly programme. She told The Examiner she is keen to pass her skills on to the next generation and takes weekly classes in Culloville teaching what she describes as a “dying art.”

Speaking ahead of her TV debut, which is expected to be aired in early May, the octogenarian revealed that there only 7 or 8 ladies in the area who are skilled in making Carrickmacross Lace and she hopes the programme may inspire “new blood” to take up the craft.

Typically modest about her TV appearance,  Mary laughed off suggestions she could have her own show next, and said she was happy to be part of the programme if it encouraged other creative people to get involved in learning the age-old art of Carrickmacross lacemaking.