In October this year we were invited to the annual Irish Made Awards ceremony in Dublin. The Irish Made Award annual event shines a light and celebrates talented makers, creators, craftspeople and producers across Ireland. This year, a new category, the Lifetime Achievement Award, was introduced to honour an Irish-made champion which Dad was presented with!
Having received the invitation to this prestigious ceremony, Philip, Mary, Patrick my brother and I made the journey from Graiguenamanagh to Dublins city lights. As rare as our travels to Dublin generally are, since Covid these have all but disappeared, so this trip was all the more special. The event was held at the beautiful Morrison Hotel on Dublins quays. The atmosphere and positive energy at the event was electric, there were lots of familiar friendly faces as well as some new people who we met. The excitement for a post Covid non-mask wearing event was on everyones face!
Following a beautiful meal and entertainment we were treated to an outstanding catwalk of great Irish businesses across all sectors from Fashion to Food and Wellness. It is at events like these where one can truly see and appreciate the depth of talent and entrepreneurial spirit we have in our small country. Each award was sponsored by established Irish businesses, showing support and encouragement to bring others along.
The Lifetime Achievement was the penultimate award and as a new category there was excitement across the room for what was in store. Klara Heron, editor of the Irish Country Magazine and Claire Nash, photographer and videographer, had visited us at the mill a few weeks earlier, taking time to meet with Dad and to hear his stories, he would have kept them all day if they could have stayed! The footage they took at the mill was then shown to all in the room, an insight into what we do but most importantly into Dad and his lifes commitment and perseverance to continue the skills and craftsmanship which are now so rare to find in mills not only in Ireland but across the world. It has been Dads commitment to quality and his unwavering dedication to his craft which allows us to continue to make exceptional textiles today. Dads humility and honesty struck such a cord with everyone that he received a standing ovation and a few emotional tears across the room. Dad was then invited to share some thoughts on his lifetime of vocation as a master craftsperson.
Here are Dads words of advice:
- My first advice would be to remember that ‘to live your life is not as simple as to cross a field’ – so learn to be resilient.
- Speaking of learning, always be learning, from your home area, art works, craft exhibitions and everything you experience.
- Whenever you make something, do so to the best of your ability. Be true to your craft. You will not always find perfection, but with every attempt you will learn by just doing. You will be delighted when you experience the ‘happy accent’ which all craft makers meet in their work.
- Learning and doing are the twin routes in the quest for craft perfection, so always strive to improve your design and skills. Have respect for your craft and be courageous in its execution.
- Finally, enjoy your craft vocation, you have made a fulfilling life choice !
At home and here at the mill we are all so happy for Dad, who is both honoured and humbled by this special recognition of his work. This inaugural award represents an important acknowledgement for Dads lifes work and also the work we continue to do here in the mill today, creating authentic Irish yarns and textiles using traditional and rare heritage skills.
A big recognition to Klara and the team at the Irish Country Magazine who with the support of the Design Craft Council of Ireland and Guaranteed Ireland bring an important focus and recognition to the area of craft making in Ireland.
The Lifetime Achievement Award trophy, sponsored by Weir & Sons, sits in pride of place in our Showroom in Graiguenamanagh, nestled amongst our beautiful textiles. A huge thank you to the judges who nominated and chose Dad for this recognition, from a wealth of craftspeople in Ireland. It is a huge privilege and hopefully Dads work and vocation can inspire others setting out on a career in craft.