Sprigging School

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Rathbarry was well known in the early 19th century for its lace making. The lace especially associated with the area was known as sprigging lace because it was shaped like a sprig or spray. In recent times, the building had fallen into dereliction but in 2000, the Tidy Towns Committee restored the building to its original condition using traditional building methods resulting in an award in the Green Town 2000 competition. The Sprigging School was established on the Castlefreke Estate by Lady Carbery in 1825, and is accessed via a bridge over a small stream. Lady Carbery initiated this school to teach the art of lace making. Now a one-roomed building, it was originally divided in two to include a domestic space for the live-in teacher, who slept on a settle bed in the kitchen. The teacher also kept ducks and hens, and they too slept in the school at night. An information panel in the building tells the humorous story of a visit that Lady Carbery paid to the school, during which she was so displeased by the mess created by the teacher's poultry that she reported her to the local magistrate! When brought before the judge, the teacher defended herself by saying: Your Honour, I've made lace for Lord Donoughmore, For Ladies and Gentlemen Over a score. Then or never before Was the charge of uncleanliness Laid at my door. The judge dismissed the case.