Limerick Lace

Limerick lace Bertha collar, probably late 19th century. Limerick lace Bertha collar, probably late 19th century.

Limerick lace is a form of embroidered net lace from Ireland. The technique uses machine-made net and was introduced to Limerick in 1829 by Charles Walker (d. 1842). He brought over twenty girls from Coggeshall, Essex (England) to set up a lace-making school.

This type of lace used both tambour and needlerun techniques, often on the same item of lace, in addition to many different filling stitches. According to the British lace historian, Pat Earnshaw, for instance, there was one Limerick lace collar that was decorated using 47 different filling stitches (1984:102). In addition, needlerun forms were often combined with tamboured outlines to add further contrast.

Limerick lace became a highly desirable form while Walker was alive, but after he died in 1842 the trade slowly died. There was a revival in the late 1880's led by a Mrs. Robert Vere O’Brien, as well as the Good Shepherd nuns, who started making this type of lace at their convent. Limerick lace continued to be made into the twentieth century, but it never reached the heights of the Walker period.

See also the TRC Needles entries on Coggeshall lace; Limerick run lace; Limerick tambour lace; and the schematic survey of lace types.


Digital source of illustration (retrieved 27 April 2017).


Last modified on Thursday, 27 April 2017 16:14