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Celebrating 15 Years with a 15% Reduction across our entire inventory until 31st July.

Pair of Antique Donegal runners

Circa 1920
568 × 122 cm 18’7” x 4’


An incredible pair of antique Donegal runners woven in Killybeg’s town in Ireland around 1920-1930.  Beautiful colours and a dense wool pile, in very good original condition, having lived in a private home for the majority of their life, they have been well used but looked after.  Please view all the additional images of this rare pair of runners to see the condition and colours up close.

They both measure 568 x 122 cm each, so a combined length of 11.36 metres.

The first Donegal carpets were made in the late 1890s when the Scottish industrialist, Alexander Morton, opened a factory in Killybeg’s. Morton was head of a textile manufacturing firm in Ayrshire. Although his factories already made machine-woven rugs, he wanted to make handmade carpets like those popular from Turkey and Persia.  A chance meeting with a member of Ireland’s Congested Districts Board pointed him towards Donegal. The county had two things to offer: a ready supply of willing workers and an almost infinite number of sheep.

Please request a home visit to choose a suitable time and day to view these antique Donegal runners in-situ.  We offer the service of viewing any of our carpets, rugs and runners in-situ anywhere in the UK by appointment.

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The workers, who were mostly women, hadn’t made carpets before but many of them had worked in lace-making and embroidery. The local sheep farmers, spinners and dyers got in on the act. The carpets were handwoven in the same way as Turkish and Persian carpets. They couldn’t afford the carpets that they made but the enterprise was a big source of employment. The Killybegs factory was followed by others at Kilcar, Annagry, and Crolly. By 1906, the four employed 600 between them.

Later designs used the stylised floral patterns of the British Arts and Crafts movement. Those by the architect and designer Charles Voysey were especially popular. The company also made a number of carpets in the Celtic Revival style.  Donegal carpets were purchased for Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, and the White House in Washington. These early carpets are very valuable indeed.

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