It was great to be in Athenry Mart last Saturday for the second annual Meitheal organised by the Galway Wool Co-Op. We were there to buy native Irish-grown Galway wool for a new project we are working on.
“The wool from Galway sheep is coarser than the lambswool we use in our Woolow pillows, but I have wanted to use it for some time” says Woolow founder, Michael Burke.
“It is a no-brainer to use this fantastic natural, sustainable resource in products which themselves will also be sustainable. We are going to collaborate with another producer to make something which everyone needs and uses. That’s all I can say at the moment”.
“I want to thank Blathnaid from the Galway Wool Co-Op for organising the event and all the Galway sheep breeders for delivering such high-quality wool on the day. It will be the best raw material for our latest venture.”
The wool Meitheal is organised by the wool producers who on the day, will draw their purebred registered Galway wool from the four provinces of Ireland, according to co-op founder and secretary, Blatnaid Gallagher.
“For this year’s event, they have two buyers eager for their native Irish-grown Galway wool: Donegal Yarns and Woolow Sleep,” she said.
“Donegal Yarns purchased last year’s wool clip and partnered with Rhyme studio, New York, to develop the Báinín collection, which recently debuted in Brooklyn, New York City.
“With a surging interest in sustainable interiors, the debut of the Báinín collection of area rugs and tapestry is just a taster of the endless scope of native Irish-grown Galway wool.
“Such was the success of their sellout of Galway wool, Donegal Yarns is back again this year,” Blatnaid continued.
“The co-op is also thrilled that Ireland’s leading producer of natural fibre home and sleep products Woolow Sleep, has come on board to purchase some of 2022’s wool clip.
“The wool producers’ initiative to restore the route to market for native Irish-grown wool is spurred on by their reluctance to have this beautiful natural biofibre seep into the existing 10 million kg of Irish wool bio-fibre being shipped as waste to Bradford in the UK and then on to a multi billion dollar Asian carpet and rugs manufacturing industry,” she said.
“The co-op is getting €2.50/kg for native Irish-grown Galway wool and the price to the wool producers is up 10% on last year.”
At the event, all co-op members give freely of their time, collecting purebred registered Galway wool, inspecting and weighing each pack, Blatnaid explained.
On the morning of the event there will be a presentation by every producer of what they think is their best-quality fleece after which a judging panel, made up of three industry experts, will pick two winners.
The winning fleece will go on display “for all of the producers to reignite a passion for breeding stock with excellent quality wool” the co-op founder and secretary added.
“This year the best fleece competition is worth €1,000 with two prizes on offer,” she continued.
“Magee 1866 has sponsored a jacket worth €500 and Woolow Sleep has sponsored €500 worth of sleep and lifestyle products.
“The event will be covered by two film crew. There will be a demonstration of hand shearing and weaving along with traditional music and dance by Oranmore Ceoltas,” said Blatnaid.