I wouldn't be a dyed-in-the-wool rug hooker if I didn't hunt down some wool in Ireland. I googled "wool" before we left and, for the most part, came up with places to buy yarn. I did find Dublin Woollen Mills (I love that they spell it with two "l"s) near the Ha'penny Bridge, and it was our first stop after we checked into the Burlington Hotel on Friday morning.
It was a quirky store -- creaky wooden floors and a mixture of fabric, kilts, sweaters, trims, and acrylic yarns. It reminded me of Horwitz Brother's in downtown New Haven, where my sister Patty would take me to pick out kettle cloth she'd make into dresses for me. I did find some woolen yardage that I liked: two tweedy pieces and a heathered pumpkin. (You can never have enough pumpkin wool, in my opinion.) It's all washed and fulled and ready for hooking.
We looked around for more fabric stores, and kept our eyes open for a great yarn shop. We went to Hickey's, which had great oil cloth for sale -- Ann bought a piece to use as a tablecloth -- but really lousy yarn.
On our excursion south last Sunday (was it really only a week ago?), we passed a sign that said "Avoca Handweavers." Great! We thought we would find someone sitting at a loom, weaving freshly spun wool from the sheep we saw grazing the pastures above the highway. Not. Avoca is a fabulous store and restaurant, full of color and light and good things to eat. (Avoca does still weave their own wool in a tiny town south of Dublin in the Vale of Avoca -- you can read about their 280 year history on their website.) I loved the scarves on the spools and the candy colored throws.
We did find vestiges of other woolen shops in Dublin. The Blarney Woollen Mill is now occupied by a pharmacy.
Here's a reference to hooked rugs in a book about handcrafts that was way too heavy to schlep home. Don't you love all the names the Brits have for rag rugs?