Masters of their craft

Fidelma Walsh, crocheting and Maureen Connolly, knitting in front of the Stanley range at Craftshop Na Méar.
Fidelma Walsh, crocheting and Maureen Connolly, knitting in front of the Stanley range at Craftshop Na Méar.

COLOURFUL spools of wool are being crafted into wonderful gloves, scarves, hats and other warm garments at a new craft store in Listowel already making big waves.

Na Méar at 53 Church Street was officially opened by Mary Keane last week, giving a brilliant outlet for the talents of a group of local women who started knitting together in nearby Scribes café over two years ago.

The name of the new venture also chimes nicely with that of the man who sparked it all - Scribes Café owner Namir Karim. Namir had been providing coffee and scones for the ladies at their Thursday-morning knitting sessions in the café for years, striking up a close friendship with the group and ultimately seeing the full extent of the talented potential in a vision of a dedicated craft shop.

One of the group is Aran Island native Máiréad Sherry, one of the most skilled craftspeople around, who runs workshops on the island for tourists in knitting every summer.

The shop is not for profit, simply for the purposes of providing the talented group with a focused outlet for their handiwork with the proceeds going to charity.

"I told them that we should think about opening our own place and 53 Church Street came up, which is a fabulous old building still with its original fireplace and other features. It's a great development for the heritage town and we hope that, come summer, we can bring tourists in to show them Irish craftspeople at work," said Namir, a Catholic native of Iraq who has lived in Kerry for the past 22 years.

Gloves, scarves, hats, candles, lampshades and so much else are now available at Na Méar. And it's not just hand crafts that are being celebrated in the space - the group are also planning to hold storytelling and singing events cois tine at number 53.

"Our opening was brilliant with Mary Keane performing the honours along with Mayor of Listowel Jimmy Moloney and up to 60 people present.

Canon Declan O'Connor also performed a beautiful blessing in a prayer specifically about craftwork and craftspeople that was very moving. We look forward to welcoming everyone to Na Méar from now on," said Namir.