For almost 120 years, the Donegal Carpet Factory in Killybegs has been making bespoke carpets for iconic buildings like The White House, Áras an Uachtaráin, Dublin Castle, and Buckingham Palace. It’s one of the last places in Europe where hand-knotted carpets are still produced.
This weekend, Newstalk broadcasts a new documentary, London, Rome, Killybegs, which celebrates the Donegal Carpet Factory, and all who have worked there.
Broadcast time: Saturday 17th December at 7am. Podcast available online from 8am.
The factory and it’s workers have been resilient. They survived The Great Depression of the 1930s and many subsequent economic downturns that would threaten its future. Today, the factory is a heritage centre, but still equipped and ready to make carpets on the same Canadian pitch-pine looms that produced carpets for Queen Victoria.
Now new challenges are being faced: there are only a handful of women left with the skill and knowledge to make these carpets.
London, Rome, Killybegs tells the story of these women, and the craft that they have preserved for generations. We hear about the skills, the friendships, and the perseverance that has kept the factory running since 1898. We take a trip to see the Donegal Carpets in Dublin Castle with Alana Keeney, who began working at the factory in the 80s. We discover how important their contribution has been to Irish culture, design and architecture, and we confront the possibility of a skill passed down through generations becoming extinct.
Credits: London, Rome, Killybegs was produced, recorded and edited by Shaun O’Boyle and Maurice Kelliher, and supported by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and ID2015.
About the Producers: Maurice Kelliher and Shaun O’Boyle began coproducing audio stories in 2013. They are particularly interested in overlooked narratives and stories from the margins. They have been commissioned to produce radio and podcasts for: BBC Radio 4, Irish Design 2015, Science Gallery Dublin, Newstalk, and Festival of Curiosity. Their radio work has been supported by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and the Mary Raftery Journalism Fund. Winter 2016 will see the broadcast of two new documentaries on Newstalk: ‘Prejudice and Pride’, and 'London, Rome, Killybegs'. Three new projects including a new drama will go into production this winter.