The Importance of Galway Wool – Easter 1998

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In the past wool has played an important role in the economy of the farmers in this area.  Galway wool is a valuable product, and is sought as a valuable knitting wool, being recognised as the best wool in the British Isles.  But in the recent past it has lost its monetary value.

In the past wool was scoured and spun in this country.  But these woollen mills were closed down mainly due to the fear of pollution and the cost of installing new treatment plants.  As a result farmers are now at the mercy of merchants who export most of this valuable wool to Bradford, UK.

So now people using knitting wool in this country must import it, which makes it very expensive.  If wool is to regain its position in our local economy it must break the strangle hold of these merchants.  With this in mind I propose that a modem scouring plant be set up in this area.

A number of people within the Athenry Development Company have been researching this and with the help of Kieran Hickland have put together a substantial file on wool.

From information received from Australia, we have discovered that new technology in wool scouring and processing has been developed.

These new systems are environmentally safe, have no effluent of any kind, (in contrast to a conventional hot water and detergent scouring plant) produces a more cost effective and superior quality wool.

In addition to the traditional use of wool such as knitting wool, blankets, mattresses and carpet making, there are many new uses and 1 believe that some of these new applications could become the genesis of a modem clean industry in this area.

Wool is an excellent natural, renewable resource grown locally.  This organic material is naturally fire resistant and is safe to use in Children’s mattresses and clothing, as wool breathes. (It is now feared that certain foam mattresses might be the cause of cot deaths).

So, as we research, our belief in this great natural fibre is re-enforced.  But we need a lot more information to exploit its potential.  We would welcome any information on wool scouring, processing, and would like to hear from any individual with knowledge or expertise in chemistry or standard distillation technology.

Kieran Hickland or myself can be contacted at the Athenry Development Company Office at Caheroyan, Athenry.

As mentioned before the key to producing new wool products here is to set up a modern scouring plant, which would break the strangle-hold of the merchants and cut out the middle men who cream off huge profits at the expense of farmers and consumers alike.

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About this record

Written by Tony Coffey

Published here 29 Mar 2023 and originally published Easter 1998

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