Ireland has a long tradition of spinning and weaving wool, dating back to the early medieval period. Irish wool was known for its quality and softness, much sought after by weavers across Europe. Even today, weaving remains an important part of Irish culture, with many craftspeople reviving old techniques to create beautiful works of art from the country’s natural resources. Let’s take a look at the history of this fascinating tradition. 


In this blog post, we will help you learn about the history of Irish wool and weaving. We will also uncover the following;

  • The Medieval Period & Beyond. 
  • The Plantation Period & Modern Times. 
  • How has the industry evolved over time?
  • The different types of cloth that are produced.
  • The importance of tradition in the industry.
  • The future of Irish weaving.


The Medieval Period & Beyond

Irish wool has been used for centuries in traditional clothing and bedding. In the Middle Ages, it was highly sought after by weavers across Europe due to its lightness and softness. During this time period, spindles were traditionally used to spin raw wool into yarn which could then be woven on a loom into fabric or clothing items. This method is still used today in some parts of Ireland where weavers can produce high-quality fabrics with great attention to detail.


The Plantation Period & Modern Times

During the Plantation Period in Ireland from the 16th – 19th centuries, English settlers brought over new weaving methods and materials such as linen which replaced most Irish wool production. By the 20th century, almost all Irish wool production had ceased due to competition from other countries. However, in recent years there has been a resurgence in interest in traditional Irish wool weaving techniques and an increase in the number of skilled craftspeople practising this art form.


How has the industry evolved over time? 

The industry has evolved over time to meet the changing demands of customers. For example, today’s wool weavers use modern materials such as acrylic and cotton in addition to traditional Irish wool yarn. They have also adopted new weaving methods that are quicker and more efficient than those used in the past. 


The different types of cloth that are produced

Irish wool weavers produce a variety of different fabric types for both commercial and traditional uses. These include tweeds, tartans, throws, blankets, scarves, rugs and carpets. The quality of these fabrics can vary greatly depending on the type of yarn used and the skill level of the weaver.


The importance of tradition in the industry

Tradition is still an important part of the Irish wool industry. Many craftspeople take great pride in their work and strive to uphold traditional techniques and styles when creating their own unique pieces. This can be seen in the intricate patterns, vibrant colours, and high-quality materials used to create beautiful pieces of fabric.


The future of Irish weaving

The future of Irish weaving looks bright as more people are recognizing the importance of traditional craftsmanship. The industry continues to evolve and adapt to meet changing customer needs while preserving its rich history and culture. With the right support and resources, Irish wool weaving has the potential to become a thriving industry once again


It is clear that Irish wool and weaving have a long and fascinating history in Ireland. From Medieval times to the modern day, this art form has evolved over time but still holds great importance in the culture of Ireland today. Today’s Irish jumpers come in various colours, adding additional vibrancy and modernism to this classic of the 1900s. Aran Sweaters Direct are the leading seller of authentic Aran Sweaters. Check out the full collection here.



Irish wool is a timeless symbol of quality craftsmanship that dates back centuries ago. Despite its decline during certain periods throughout history, it has recently experienced a revival thanks to modern-day craftsmen and women who are passionate about preserving traditional weaving techniques and creating beautiful works of art from this natural resource. Whether you’re looking for a unique piece for your home or just curious about the history behind this age-old craft, learning more about Irish wool & weaving can be educational and rewarding.

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