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Ulster Folk & Transport Museum

Ballydugan Weaver’s house

Rural Area - Discovery Farm 39

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This is a replica building. It is modelled on a weaver’s house built in the 1850s from the townland of Ballydugan, County Down.

The house is typical of the homes of both linen weavers and small farmers in central Ulster. The front and rear walls are stone and clay mortar and the gables and interior walls are made from solid earth (mud walls). The chimney is brick and the thatched roof is carried by fir poles resting on the gables and interior walls. This uncluttered arrangement gives height to the kitchen and permits the installation of tall looms in the weaving shop.

The house has two rooms, a kitchen and one bedroom. The boarded loft over the kitchen hearth allowed for extra storage space in the house.

The room behind the hearth wall is the weaver’s workshop. It now houses a Jacquard loom used to work the often complex patterns in damask linen weaving. Good light is essential to the weaver and the workshop is well provided with windows.

Many houses like Ballydugan were occupied by weavers and their families. Sometimes they employed and housed journeymen weavers (people who had completed an apprenticeship but worked for others). If weavers were to earn a decent living then they had to work long hours.

Look out for the magnificent Jacquard loom used to produce intricate patterns in damask linen weaving