| 12.3°C Dublin

Finally finished after 80 years


Maria O'Connell from Blackwater

Maria O'Connell from Blackwater

Maria O'Connell from Blackwater

It was a project that began in 1940 by Maria O'Connell's mother, but it took the lock-down for Maria to finally finish the project - 80 years later.

Maria O'Connell from Blackwater is most certainly keeping herself busy during the current lock-down, and one of her projects was to finish off the embroidery pattern on a tablecloth belonging to her mother.

"My mother was given the tablecloth in 1940 by a friend, and she had done some of the embroidery but she never finished it. When she passed away I found it in her possessions," explains Maria.

Over the years Maria has completed small sections of it, but there was still a lot of the pattern to be completed.

The 77-year old decided to once again tackle the intricate design during lock-down and has completed the beautifully illustrated tablecloth, which she hopes to pass on to the next generation.

"I spent two hours every afternoon on it. It was a matter of preserving. I have been working on it consistently since lock-down," she said.

"It wouldn't have been done only for lock-down. I am delighted after all these years to have it finished."

Maria says that about one third of the tablecloth had been completed before lock-down, but she has painstakingly embroidered the remaining sections during COVID times.

Maria said she thoroughly enjoyed the project and it has help whittle away the hours while she has been stuck in doors.

The talented Blackwater woman is no stranger to sewing and embroidery. These were talents passed on by her by her mother.

"When we were young we had no TV. My mother was always sewing, so we picked it up from her. We would sew gifts for people. We were definitely better off we had no TV and no social media."

Maria is a talented seamstress and made most of her own clothes for years as well as her children's clothes.

Maria now must decide what to do with the family heirloom but says she will pass it onto the next generation to keep not only as a gift passed down through the ages, but now a project that was completed during the pandemic in 2020 and one that can forever claim its part in history.

Now that the tablecloth is finished, Maria has plenty of other projects to be getting on with - not least her writing.

She is a member of the local writers' group, and though the group is not currently meeting, she will continue honing their talents during the lock-down.

Maria will also put her talents to more sewing and embroidery project but the now-completed tablecloth will remain the one closest to her heart as a fond reminder of the crisis.