AVOCA were honoured to welcome Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall on a tour of the weaving mill in Avoca Village, Co. Wicklow.
Her Royal Highness took part in a guided tour of this world-class tourist destination and Ireland’s oldest working mill, and enjoyed demonstrations by master weavers showcasing the weaving process, and what goes in to making a famous AVOCA throw. The Duchess learned about the history of the 300-year-old mill and how integral it has been to the local community since its origination in 1723. As part of the visit, master weaver Martin Kenny even handed the reigns over to HRH who got involved in the unique weaving process.
Following the tour, Her Royal Highness joined a celebratory lunch reception with dignitaries from Tourism Ireland, Failte Ireland and Wicklow Tourism, along with past and present AVOCA employees who have dedicated over 20 years’ service to the business. This accumulates collectively to over 520 years.
Renowned for wonderful food and a commitment to Irish provenance, AVOCA hosted a banquet-style lunch for guests to enjoy. Traditional AVOCA favourites included the mustard glazed baked ham, salads, famous scones and homemade brown bread.
Managing Director of AVOCA, Tara O’Neill said “We are very proud of our mill, which has been a long-standing tourist destination as well as being Ireland’s oldest working mill. It is really quite special that all of our throws are woven here benefiting from over 300 years of heritage. We are delighted to welcome Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall to Co. Wicklow. We are thrilled she was able to join us and hear about what makes the AVOCA brand so unique and special.”
Also in attendance were representatives and members from one of AVOCA’s charity partners, Camphill Communities of Ireland. Part of an international charitable trust, Camphill provide residential and day services for people with learning disabilities through a unique model of “community living”. Camphill Communities of Ireland provide weavery workshops in their communities. These are therapeutic workshops for their community members with support needs. To help facilitate this, AVOCA donate large volumes of their wool off cuts to Camphill for use in these creative projects, and have been working with Camphill since 1972. During the royal visit, artwork created by the community members was presented to Her Royal Highness.
Avoca village, originally named ‘Abhoca’, literally translates from Irish to ‘little treasure’, and truly is a treasured piece of history, heritage and artisanal craft to the local area. Dating from 1723, this very special Avoca location is home to the handweaving mill, a large AVOCA store, café and a visitor centre telling the story of the mill from the very beginning. The mill tour invites visitors to see first-hand where the renowned AVOCA throws and scarves originate from, and to see them being handmade by the weavers, some of whom are third generation weavers. This unique location is also the birthplace of the AVOCA experience, and the origin of the company name.