In­trigu­ing Bal­brig­gan Tourism her­itage event draws crowds

Fingal Independent - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

THERE was a packed at­ten­dance in the Bracken Court Ho­tel, for the Bal­brig­gan Tourism Na­tional Her­itage Week talk in­trigu­ingly ti­tled ‘Stock­ings for the Queen’.

The pre­sen­ter, Dr David Sorensen fo­cused his en­ter­tain­ing pre­sen­ta­tion on the his­tory of hosiery in the town of Bal­brig­gan.

The very fine crafts­man­ship of Bal­brig­gan’s hosiers was demon­strated in the grant­ing of royal war­rants for the sup­ply of stock­ings to Queen Vic­to­ria by Smyth & Co, along with the firm of Henry Ap­p­le­yard. While this area be­came dom­i­nated by one par­tic­u­lar en­ter­prise - Smyth & Co., some mem­bers of the au­di­ence were sur­prised to learn of the num­ber of smaller hosiery con­cerns that plied their trade in Bal­brig­gan from the 1800s on­wards.

Some new­com­ers to the town ex­pressed de­light in learn­ing that the name of the town had be­come, it­self, a trade­mark, to be used only for very fine hosiery made in the town of Bal­brig­gan.

One par­tic­u­lar hosier, Mr Thomas Mangan of Smyth & Co., who had made stock­ings for the Queen for over 60 years was granted spe­cial recog­ni­tion in 1897, by a pre­sen­ta­tion of a signed por­trait of Her Majesty, in Bal­brig­gan Court­house.

Great in­ter­est was shown by those at­tend­ing the talk in the orig­i­nal memorabilia from Smyth’s fac­tory on dis­play on the night (kindly loaned by Joe Cur­tis and Jenny Lynch) which in­cluded orig­i­nal ex­am­ples of fine silk stock­ings and del­i­cate hand­made em­broi­dery from the 1880s.

David Sorensen and Pe­tra Skyvova, the or­gan­is­ers of this event, are hope­ful that they will be able to bring more sim­i­lar events fo­cus­ing on the in­ter­est­ing as­pects of Bal­brig­gan her­itage to the lo­cal au­di­ence in the fu­ture.

The evening fin­ished with the launch of Bal­brig­gan Her­itage Trail brochure, a brief il­lus­trated his­tory of Bal­brig­gan. This brochure will also act as the guide to the forth­com­ing Bal­brig­gan Her­itage Trail in­for­ma­tion boards which will be put in place in the town in the near fu­ture.

The brochure can be col­lected free of charge in Bal­brig­gan Tourist of­fice on Ge­orge’s Square.

Pe­tra Skyvova and Joe Cur­tis.

David Sorensen.

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