The story of Foxford Woollen Mills is an intriguing tale woven in the west of Ireland, where it sits on the shores of the River Moy.
The mills started in 1892 when Agnes Morrogh-Bernard , a Sister Of Charity, came to the town and sought help through Michael Davitt from a Co. Tyrone mill owner, John Charles Smith. Sr. Agnes used the power of the River Moy to power the mill and in the first 90 years of business, the mill employed 220 people. The Foxford rug and the Foxford blanket became known worldwide as a quality Irish product and this put Foxford on the map. The Garda uniforms were made from fabric loomed here.
The original wool used came from local sheep that grazed close to the mills but that wool was seen as rough so other wool from specially reared sheep was imported from countries such as Italy, France, the UK, and Australia.
Business continued and the brand grew until 1987 when the receiver moved in. The market had changed, businesses were modernising and the building was expensive to maintain. This was a huge blow for the town and jobs were lost. Some of these jobs had been in families for generations.
However, a local accountant that worked for the receiver, Joe Queenan, soon realised that the quality of the product or the brand's reputation was never doubted. He set about rebuilding the business.
In 1992, the award-winning Foxford Woollen Mills Visitor Centre opened. The cornerstone of this is The Historical Woollen Mill Tour where you can step back in time to life in Foxford in the 1890's. The centre also has the Olde Mill Restaurant and beautiful gift shop, The Mill Shop.
You can find more about the mills on their website here: https://www.foxfordwoollenmills.com/