In the boutique seaside retreat Breac.House in Dunfanaghy, County Donegal, the furnishings are just what one needs after a walk along Ireland’s miles of unspoilt wilderness, sandy beaches, dramatic cliff scenery and secluded harbours.
The owners Cathrine and Niall have injected Breac.House with thoughtful design details, such as the Donegal wool blankets that are added to the boutique bedrooms and sea-view living room – wrap yourself in one of them and huddle close together while playing a board game at the fireplace at the end of an outdoorsy day.
They are woven by one of Ireland’s last handloom weavers, Eddie Doherty. At the age of 16, he learned to weave by hand, and he’s been doing so ever since for the next 40 years – with two long stints at large Irish fabric companies in between.
Based in the town of Ardara, the cradle of the tweed industry in Ireland, Doherty uses traditional methods to produce his pure wool blankets and tweed of a truly exquisite quality.
Apart from his cozy throws, Doherty creates capes, men’s caps and waistcoats made of tweed. The centuries–old weaving tradition has fans across the Atlantic, too, with the likes of Armani and Ralph Lauren buying fabric from Doherty.
According to Doherty, his tweeds are softer and finer than the better-known Harris tweed of Scotland. He believes that he’s the only person in Donegal still weaving on his own: “The others all have employees”, he says.