Author Topic: Occupations in Wicklow  (Read 6527 times)

Offline Christopher

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Occupations in Wicklow
« on: Tuesday 18 December 07 22:45 GMT (UK) »
Click on Company and then History and turn the page at the top right hand corner by using your mouse to read the history of Ireland's oldest surviving business, Avoca Handweavers, which was established in 1723. It is a family owned craft design company which had its beginnings at the Old Mill at Avoca where the weavers produced the beautifully woven fabrics which became Avoca's hallmark. In the 1920s the three Wynne sisters inherited the mill which had become run down. They injected new life into the business and introduced colour from natural dyes.

There was a bad slump in the Irish weaving trade in the early 1800s. Pre 1820 a weaver could earn two shillings to half a crown per day but by 1835 the younger weavers had left the trade and only old people remained as weavers earing about eight pennies a day. Read more about this situation in The Economic Condition of Ireland during the Nineteenth Century from Alice Effie Murray's "History of the Commercial and Financial Relations between England and Ireland from the Period of the Restoration."

The other industry at Avoca was mining. The mines not only employed Irishmen but also some from Cornwall. The Associated Irish Mine Company (AIMC) was established c.1787 by Abraham Mills. An article titled "Miners in migration: the case of nineteenth-century Irish and Irish-American copper miners - Statistical Data Included" in the Eire-Ireland:Journal of Irish Studies,  Spring-Summer, 2001  by Timothy M. O'Neil mentions that the "Cornish contract system" accompanied the Cornish miners to Ireland. Under this system Irish miners did not work for set wages, but rather teams of miners, usually based on kinship, bid against each other for a contract to remove a certain portion of rock or ore. Click here to read the lengthy article.