Weaving around Baltyboys in the Kings River valley

In their days at Baltyboys, the Quakers had focused on sourcing local wool for supply to Dublin weavers (many of whom were Quakers) and for export to the weavers of the English West Country and Gloucestershire.  However, in the early 1700s they developed a local weaving industry centered on Baltyboys.  Later in the 1700s, the industry was extended throughout the Kings River Valley by other industrialists and landlords. 

 

As technology developed two tuck mills were built at Ballinahown, near Baltyboys, and a series of 'pin mills' were set up in different parts of the valley to serve the local weaving community.  These were in fact warping mills, also referred to as 'Pirn' mills, but pronounced 'pin mills' in Co. Wicklow. 

 

The weavers mostly worked their looms in their own houses and the Quakers managed their weaving industry from Weavers' Square at Baltyboys. 

 

The local weaving industry suffered a severe setback in the Rebellion of 1798 and most of the Quaker community fled, but the weaving industry struggled on in a limited way until its final demise around 1840.

 

After the weaving industry died out around Baltyboys, the local farmers continued to produce wool and supplied it to other mills, such as Ballymore-Eustace Woollen Mill, until it ceased operation around 1916. 

 

 

The Author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Hussey has degrees in Geography and in Civil & Environmental Engineering. 

  

The author adopts a regional approach based on historical-geography, focusing on human settlement and industry in north-west of County Wicklow, extending from Blessington into the upper Liffey valley and the Kings River valley.

 

He has written on the region's Granite Quarrying and Weaving industries and its Quaker community.

 

His most recent research has focused on the Woolpack Road, along which the region's wool and cloth was transported to Dublin. 

 

His book on the Quaker community of Baltyboys will be published by the Irish Society of Friends in July 2017.