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Foxford Woollen Mills, County Mayo

Foxford Woollen Mills nestles quietly in the shadow of Nephin Mountain right in the heart of County Mayo and is well worth a visit if you are in the area. The drive there, takes you through high mountain valleys of amber, gold and purple heathers and inky blue loughs with woolley sheep grazing on emerald green patches of spikey grass snatched here and there from the roadside bogs lined with stacked brown turf.
All of these earthy colours are evident in the beautiful hand-woven rugs, blankets and tweeds that have been made at Foxford Woollen Mills for over 100 years now, in the timeless designs of plaid, herringbone and houndstooth. Wrapping yourself up in one of their throws made from the softest lambs wool imaginable, is like being cocooned in an Irish landscape.....

Plaid blanket, Foxford Woollen Mills

Which is not something you will find in any mass produced product right? This is tradition at its best, begun in the 1890s by one seriously ambitious nun of the Sisters of Charity Order, Mother Agnes Morragh Bernard, to alleviate poverty in the aftermath of the famine. This small mill has survived just about everything, depressions, recessions, water shortages, fire, debt you name it to make it into the 21st century. From its very first order in 1892 for 500 blankets from Ireland's premier department store Clerys in Dublin, it went on to become a household name here and throughout the world. A Foxford blanket was a typical wedding gift back in my Mother's day and would be very acceptable these days too.....

Household shop Foxford Woollen Mills

So ,if you would like to buy something worthwhile that will not only stand the test of time, but become an heirloom for the future you should visit their lovely showrooms at Foxford Woollen Mills although you can shop online now which is isn't quite the same tactile experience. Beside the shop is jam packed full of wonderful woollen goodies and lots more besides for the house if you are in nesting mode? Or you could burrow into any of the baked delights in the café on the second floor or just leave himself there with a coffee and a newspaper while you browse to your hearts content.....

10 Other things to do and see near Foxford Woollen Mills....

1 Sligo home town of the band Westlife, check out The Cat & The Moon Shop and the Sligo Art Gallery which has a fantastic collection of Jack B (brother of William) Yeats paintings.

2 Rosses Point and Strandhill both fantastic beaches if you get nice weather or you could indulge in a seaweed bath at Voya if you don't!

3 Lisadell House privately owned, former home of the 1916 rebel Constance Markievicz and her sister Eva Gore Booth, open to the public now and again during the summer.

4 Ben Bulben Ireland's very own table mountain....

5 Drumcliffe at its base, the burial place of William Butler Yeats. "Cast a cold eye on life, on death. Horseman, pass by!

6 Lough Gill take a scenic drive out around the lake past Glencar waterfall to gaze at the fabled isle of Inishfree, yes it really does exist...

7 Parke's Castle great ramparted castle on the shores of Lough Gill.

8 Easkey head west along the coast to this surf heaven, not for amateurs though.....

9 Enniscrone old fashioned seaside resort with seaweed baths and golf links.

10 Windy Gap breath-taking pass through the Ox mountains between Dromore and Tobercurry with peaceful little Lough Talt.

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