RTE's television show Nationwide visited Mountmellick Community School recently, to meet students who do the famous local embroidery stitch as part of their curriculum.
As the cameras were rolling during the February mid term break, some students from 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th year kindly got back into their uniforms and came to school for the day for a demonstration workshop.
They were filmed as they sat in the Home Economics classes stitching their Mountmellick Embroidery pieces, explaining how it is made and why they enjoy it, as part of a wider visit by Nationwide to the town.
The cameras also visited Mountmellick Museum to view other pieces of the famous embroidery on permanent display.
Student Joshua Gill was among those who spoke to Nationwide.
“He really sold Mountmellick embroidery, he did brilliantly,” said Home economics teacher Mags Foynes, who attended the visit along with Ann Bennett and Joanne Teehan.
“The visit by Nationwide was great for the school and the kids, and brilliant for the town of Mountmellick as well, especially after the recent flood. We were delighted to show that the school covers not just the academics but culture as well,” she said.
All Home Economic students in the school must create a piece of Mountmellick Embroidery.
The historic craft features 'white on white' stitches depicting local flora and fauna, introduced as a cottage industry by the Quakers.
It was revived in recent years and now makes up 15 percent of Junior Cert Home Economics projects in Mountmellick CS.
The projects are done with the help of embroidery tutor Dolores Dempsey in Mountmellick Museum.
Each student must design and make their piece over eight weeks.
“They take such pride and joy in it, often parents get the pieces framed and they take pride of place on the wall at home, they have those pieces for life,” Ms Foynes said.
“We take our new second years on a trip to the museum every year. We wanted to keep the tradition alive. The students love it, the boys are a bit afraid at the start, but they really excel at it,” Ms Foynes said.
“It is compulsory, but they do enjoy doing it. They sit and work, we have music playing, it is more relaxed than doing theory work. They teach each other the techiques, and so learn paired teaching,” the Home Economics teacher said.
The Nationwide show will be aired this Friday February 23 on RTE1 at 7pm.