About Kathleen& the Baskets

Kathleen at a basket weaving demonstration
Kathleen McNea is a fourth generation basket weaver. She learned her skills from her father and has adapted many different styles but also tries to keep the traditional style alive. She always had a great interest in basket weaving. It wasn’t until her father’s death in the early 80’s that she decided to keep the craft of basket weaving alive. But in 1988 Kathleen and her family emigrated to England. After the family returned to Achill in 1992 Kathleen found that there was great local interest in the baskets and the learning of weaving. She was asked by local groups to teach them basket weaving and that was how Kathleen began to share her knowledge, enthusiasm and expertise. Since then Kathleen has worked with many Women’s Groups in Achill, Newport and Ballycroy and has also worked with the local V.T.O.S group (adult education). There is still a great and growing interest in basket weaving classes not only within Ireland but even from people in America who have come to classes during their stay in Ireland. During her class you will be shown the different types of baskets (pardógs, clíabhs, and many other traditional baskets which were native to the west). You will be shown how they are started, weaved and finally how they are finished off.
An Array of baskets which I have made.

Traditionally basket weavers only made baskets six months a year. This was because the sally rods used are only available from early September to March, The sally rods are harvested in September and can be used until February after this the rods are left to grow to their full length of 5-8 feet in length. Basket weavers played an important role in daily life long ago. This was because clíabhs and pardógs were used for gathering turf and for bringing home peat. Traditional ‘ciséans’ were used for straining boiled potatoes and were also used for carrying eggs, potatoes or for holding turf.  Unfortunately this is a dying craft and I hope to keep this alive with my classes.

                                      Various types of willows

Seo seans duit rud nua a fhoghlaim a bhaineann leis ár n-oidhreacht. Tá ranganna do caoladóireacht le bean darb ainm Cáitlín Nic Né. Is craoladóir den scoth is ea í. Fuair sí an scil seo óna athair. Bhí sé ina craoladóir ar an oileáin na blianta ó shin. Ar an gcúrsa tá seans duit ciseain éagsúla a dhéanamh as bataí sallach. Déanann Cáitlín alán stíl difriúla agus ar ndóigh na cinn tradisiúinta freisin. Is feidir leat pardógs,cliabh a dhéanamh ar an chúrsa. Is scil iontach é agus tá alán suim I ag daoine I mar tá sé píosa den ár cultúr é, Leis an cúrsa seo tá Cáitlín ag iarraidh an scil seo a choimead beo!
Below are some examples of my recent works.
         Moses Basket    wall hanging    wigwam for climbing flowers
         cliabh     shopping basket with handle    laundry basket
 Baskets can also be made to order:
Turf Baskets
Wigwams etc.