Big media – response to 25th Yard – Fest and Open Day

Dear friends, valued customers, fellow crafters and textile-workers,

The waves have calmed a little, the Flax – Mill is back to weaving, the last holiday – making visitors have returned to their home countries.

Time for a “look back and forward” and a few news from inside the textile – world, I think.

Before I go to any details: A million thanks for the flood of beautifully worded mails, a number of nice cards and letters (we really love them) and for many phone-calls.The theme they all had in common was “thank you”. I’d like to turn this right round and direct our thanks to you, the people who made this truly memorable 25th Open Day and Yard Fest!

I have attached a newspaper – article (click image for the pdf) which gives the – interesting I think – view of our event through the eyes of a local politician, one who knows what he is talking about may I say, he has been following our work here at the mill for quite a while.

The piece ends with well – wishes “for the future”.Future of the Open Day?? Was the “silver anniversary” not the finale??

We did what we always do after the day – added costs and donations, “did the figures” as they say. The result: The event covered itself (just) one more time again! When we looked at the calendar we discovered that next year will see us 30 years as owners of the Flax Mill.

26 = 30! Would that and all the praise we got not call for Open Day and Yard Fest number 26??

Saturday, September 14th 2019 is the date for the 26th Flax – Mill Open – Day and Yard – Fest!

  • Don’t say you didn’t know in good time!

Most fascinating in this context: 

    • 15 of this year’s 20 exhibiting crafters have already asked us for a stall next year(without knowing what you read here now). In other words: The Open Day is almost booked up for 2019 – the event certainly has its own mathematics!

“Danny Boy’s Ghost” recorded!

  • During the run-up to the 25th Fest one of the dominating themes was the locally written song “The Ghost of Danny Boy” and German artist Isabel Neuenfeldt’s version of it.


The response by our capacity crowd to her performance of it with Dearbhla Mc Taggart was jubilant to say the least.

Composer Joe Kelly got it recorded at Flax Mill one day after the Fest. Sound – engineer Darrel Harkin turned up with his mobile equipment and “put it into the box”.

There is very large interest in the song all over, Isabel will sing it for the first time in her home country during a gig next week.

The “County Derry Post” carries an interesting article on this (plus a superb photograph of Isa on stage by Sven Olaf Roessler from Nordhausen) – see this page (click image for the pdf).

From the production – line!

  • Hand – woven linen tea – towels back on the shelf

All our efforts, not to run out of anything this year were in vain: Many people had to place orders for the traditionally woven tea – towels from natural linen with red or green stripes (we have added a few other colours) down the sides.

After a few heavy extra shifts, we are in stock again – a sizeable order from England which came in two days ago leaves doubts about for how long though!


  • Ladies Handkerchiefs in 3 different styles available now (some of them very soon)!

Plain white hankies made from the bespoke linen we wove, using certified organically grown flax as a raw-material.

Silk screen printer Charlotte Krone in England is running tests as we write this, the printed hankie will soon be back! We asked her because she is attached to and very good with working on linen (see our web – site section “blogs”) and likes the fine lines.

Hand-embroidered limited edition. The success of the “flax – flower – hankie” made me take the needle out again: Flax – flower on shuttle – loom – woven pure linen, where else would you get it!

As with all handkerchiefs, numbers will be limited. It’s a lot of work to make the cloth, make the hankie and finish it to the detail we offer.

See you at Flax – Mill – sooner rather than later!

Love over Gold




The blood – pressure is rising – last minute news before the 25th!

Friends, valued customers, fellow crafters and textile – workers!
As every year, here are some “last minute news” before the Open Day and Yard – Fest in on Sept. 8th.
Number 25 is going to be a very unusual one, not only because of the huge number of bookings we got.
The buzz around the event is just amazing and the team of helpers from various countries (the first ones are arriving just now) will bend backwards to make it “the day (and the evening/night) of the year” for you.
Before we go into detail, I would like to thank some of our friends in the media for good reports and high – quality journalism. This coming week will see several publications carrying our last press-release – be sure to look out for it.
Last week, I particularly liked the articles in the “County Derry Post”, in “Unity” and across the water in the “Sueddeutsche Zeitung“. But I suppose that’s personal taste.

Treats on the Shop Counter especially for the Open Day:

  • – Limited edition of hand-woven table – ware, hand hem-stitched and woven with yarn from Irish Flax! (weaving and embroidery: Marion Baur) 6 pieces only!
  • “Blow your nose in style” – limited edition of handkerchiefs!
    • * hand – embroidered (motive: The flax – flower) on shuttle – loom woven linen. 10 handkerchiefs only!
    • * plain handkerchiefs made with cloth we wove from yarn which was spun from GOTS – certified organically grown flax.
Treats on Stage – news item of the year:

  • Rainer’s back!!! Our friend, songwriter/singer Rainer Frankl is coming over from Germany. When terrible illness struck again last year, we didn’t think, the most performing artist in the history of the Yard Fest would ever be here again. Just last week we learned that he will be coming to celebrate with us and give us a few pieces on stage. We are extremely happy about these news.
  • Ghost! Most of you have already heard it: Danny Boy’s ghost is returning from Berlin to be on stage during the concert!!! (see here for more)
  • Treats for Kids, on the catwalk and at a special stall: Catherine Thompson is a gifted tailor from Dungiven who owns the “Ms Sew and Sew” label. She specialises in kid’s garments and will have a selection with her. Also, one of her daughters is going to model an outfit she designed and made from linen woven here at the Flax Mill.
Don’t forget:
The Fashion Show and the evening event are as good as booked out (we can squeeze in a friend or two, but no more!!) – if you want to be there, make sure you book with us now!
I can’t wait to welcome you here at Derrylane Flax – Mills
Love over Gold,

To book a place, ring us at the Flax Mill – 0044 (0)28 777 42655 Or send us a mail very soon:

The full Yard-Fest-programme can be downloaded here and the evening concert programme can be downloaded here .

Breathing life into ghosts: thoughts on the upcoming concert

I asked Isabel Neuenfeldt, Dearbhla Mc Taggart and Joe Kelly questions ahead of the world – premiere of “Danny Boys Ghost” performed by Berlin’s famous artist:

“Ready for More”

Q. The 25th Flax – Mill Yard – Fest will see a unique fusion on stage: A 16 year old Irish Harpist from Dungiven meets a very profiled singer/songwriter/accordionist from Berlin. Is this going to work?


Definitely! We are contrasting in our style, play very different instruments and come from totally different backgrounds – I think these differences are going to complement each other on stage. We’ll be doing ‘our own pieces’ separately but the joint playing should be the highlights of the set.


Oh yes, that’s going to work, I am very confident. I had the chance to get to know the ‘harpist from Dungiven’ last year. Practising together is only possible ‘through your minds’, given the distance we live apart. Music is about vibrations, not only the notes, also the words, the energy that transports them – there’s a lot more in that than just the physical work, the craft so to speak. We both deal with our craft; practise every day, the rest is possible despite the distance. The song that landed with me – and with Dearbhla is actually about that.

Q. You met here in the Roe Valley last year – what did you like about one another, what are you going to do together on stage?


Isabel is an amazing person – she has a very happy personality and is ever so easy to get on with. Add that to the fact that she is a brilliant musician – you have to love her.

We haven’t worked out the exact programme for the stage but will do that over the next couple of weeks. She is very experienced and I will gladly haver her ‘take the lead’ during the performance.


Dearbhla is the same age as my daughter and plays the most Irish of all instruments in a very inspiring way. She listens intensely when she’s playing with someone else and is ready for the ‘more’ all the time. This ‘more than’ can happen in music, especially when musicians meet. I feel that the new or next generation is more open for the ‘more’ and it is great joy to meet on this level – to meet Dearbhla musically and in general!

I don’t know our programme yet, am excited and full of ideas. The song which landed with us – I have a notion it isn’t the only piece of music we are going to ‘bring to life’ together.

Q. The 25th Yard Fest will be big and many who have been there will return. The audience has been spoiled over a quarter of a century – many of the greats of Irish and other music were performing on stage. Do you think it is hard to live up to that?


I don’t think so – all you can do is your best. I feel I have got much more comfortable on stage and I practise a lot. Being there with Isabel is very special and you can be sure we will give it all for the audience.


I am not usually nervous before a gig. Last year when I performed at the Yard – Fest I was as excited as ever I can remember, I will be like that again this year. It is a great honour to be asked to perform there – the excitement last year strengthened my stage – presence and helped me very much. To make it short for you: I am waiting totally relaxed for this new excitement!

Q. Rumours have it that Joe Kelly’s “Danny Boy’s Ghost” will be in your programme. Can you confirm that and if so – what do you make of the piece?


I’ll leave the confirming to Isabel (smiles).

It is a very good piece of music, both as far as the lyrics are concerned and the melody. It’s a really haunting tune, when you start playing it, you feel as if you are in the story.


I often sing for dead people *, for ghosts you may say. “Danny Boy’s Ghost” stands symbolic for many human beings who are no longer there, who have gone forever.

*Isabel Neuenfeldt is famous for her concerts at large funerals and memorial services. She has special programmes for such events.

At funeral concerts my attempt is to bring the person, his or her vibrations, back to life for a moment by singing their favourite songs.

The song, “Danny Boy’s Ghost” is based on, has been sung many times the world over – so much pain and so much hope has been put into it – hope which continues to exist beyond the life of people. Songs like this one which are sung by many people and for many years are charged, “loaded up” with the emotions which have been sung into them. It’s good to sing them over and again – they have healing – power I believe.

Danny Boy, whose ghost Joe has dedicated the song to, makes his lover come back from her long sleep, called by the vibrations of the pipes. That’s exactly how I would define the power of music. The wonderful piece is a tribute, a toast to the strength of songs, their ability to open doors beyond space And time. I don’t think it is coincidental for the song to land at my doorstep – I will have it with me, bring it back home to the Limavady area.”

Isabel Neuenfeldt and Dearbhla Mc Taggart will perform together during the concert at the 25th Flax Mill Yard Fest on Saturday, September 8th 2018.The evening event (from 6 pm onwards) is by invitation only and almost booked out.

If you wish to join us, we will try our best to get a place for you – you must book ahead though!

Ring us at the Flax Mill – 0044 (0)28 777 42655 Or send us a mail very soon:

The full Yard-Fest-programme can be downloaded here and the evening concert programme can be downloaded here .

Exhibitions, Experiments and A Ghost Story!

Dear friends, valued customers, colleagues in the textile-industry,
Less than 3 weeks before the 25th Open Day and Yard – Fest, I thought it is appropriate to up-date you on the state of affairs here at Flax – Mill.
We will send a “Last Minute News” bulletin out in about 1 1/2 weeks but some things should be noted right now. All decent news, may I say:
Very good exhibition in Upperlands.
I had the pleasure to be invited to the opening of a small (maybe too small) but excellent exhibition about the work of Ireland’s oldest linen – mill.
Wm Clarks & Son are showing the interested visitor a good  selection of what they are manufacturing. Unusual and very thoughtfull in these days of “loft studios”, “creative centres” and galleries to actually present what a factory does!
That’s what textile – makers are about and Clark’s creative director Duncan Neil, who put the exhibits together has put the emphasis on products.
You will find anything from Clarks new bespoke “Earthed” fabric to linen woven here at the Flax – Mill and finished traditionally (bleeched, dyed, mangeled, beetled….) by Clarks. Also shown are some finished pieces made by ourselves and by  master crafters such as Deborah Toner, Jill Gourney and others.
A great attempt to bring those who actually make things back into the public’s focus, I would recommend a visit to the Flax Coffee Shop in Upperlands very much. The little cafe/visitors centre is right opposite the entrance to the mill and beside the beetling plant. They are open Tues. to Sat. and alongside the exhibits I strongly recommend the espresso there (10 out of 10).
Linen from Organic Flax sold out but a little bit of good news!
Our “experiment” with cloth we wove using yarn (60s lea) which was spun from GOTS certified flax (grown in Holland) turned into more than a success, the cloth  sold out to the last inch in less than two weeks! We gathered up all the left-over yarn and have made – last run of weaving before the Open Day – just 100 metres of the 120 g / square metre fabric.  Needles to tell you it won’t see the week after our Open Day – let us know NOW if you want any. The growers of the flax have made it very clear that there won’t be any until next summer – a good attitude I think, you just can’t rush nature and the product is so superb that the wait is well worth it.
I can aslo give a way a little “secret”: Maria Cardenas, master – tailor from Colombia with a base in Co. Down has purchased some of the wonderful cloth. She will be at our Open Day, certainly prepared to take orders for garments.
Preparations for Sept. 8th are turning “hot” from now on!
“All hands on” is a mild way of putting the goings – on at the mill from now on.
Bookings are still coming thick but we will put the “cap on” very shortly. The media have taken our press – releases very well and on the day, we will be live guests at BBC Radio Ulster. Also, German radio will be here to report.
I would urge anyone who wants to book extra guests, especially for the evening, to do it now!!!
Looking forward to putting my arms around you shortly,
love over gold
As an attachment to this, there’s an incredible story Hermann wrote (no, he says, he only put it to paper). If you have this, you are amongst a lucky few in the world only, who he is wanting to send this to!!
After you read it, you may pass it to one or two people as nice as yourself!
The story is called “Ireland’s most famous ghost”

Ireland’s most famous ghost

Long time ago a woman – Jane Ross was her name according to the records – watched a fiddle – player in Limavady. He was blind and played a melody she loved. She sent it to the new world and called it “the Limavady Air”.

Across the ocean where many emigrants eased their lonely hearts with music from the home words were written to fit the tune – “Danny Boy” was born. It traveled the world, became (and remains to this day) the most sung Irish song – one of the most loved ones too.

The origin of the piece in Limavady should not surprise – the area has been one of good music for centuries. The making and playing of harps, fiddles, bodhrans, the writing of lyrics and melodies have a rich and lively tradition along the river Roe – right into the now.

A short while ago, Joe Kelly walked the streets of Limavady. It was a grey, dark, ghostly morning. He is a composer, has been creating both melodies and lyrics for many years. The eerie feeling surrounding him, his imagination rambled back in time. He saw Danny Boy’s ghost returning, his lover rising from her grave, called by “the pipes, the pipes”.

Joe took the pen – the words came easy. He put a tune to it – flowing like the Roe:

“Danny Boy’s Ghost” was born.

Several singers tried to put their stamp-mark to the piece; it didn’t seem to go far. What was missing? “Maybe it has to travel like the Limavady Air” said a friend. They sent it on the journey across two oceans – a different route though. It landed in Berlin at the doorstep of one of the city’s most profiled artists.

Isabel Neuenfeldt loved the piece like Jane Ross had loved the Limavady Air. She knew the setting – had performed in the Roe Valley last year.

Her only concert in Ireland ever had created a deep sense of place, a longing to return. She will – for the 25th Yard Fest at the old Flax Mill in Derrylane – “Danny Boy’s Ghost” in her baggage.

A new found friend will be waiting for her – one who carries on the good old tradition today: 16 year old harpist Dearbhla.

Their performance on the small stage under the oak – trees behind the mill is going to be one of the wonderful pieces which make up the mosaic of the home – land of the “Limavady Air”.

I didn’t write this story – just brought it to paper. The place – the annual gathering – the people there and the ghosts of those from the past are the authors.

Hermann Glaser – Baur

Open Day Programme 2018 – Last Minute News!

Celtic Tigers – real ones

There has always been a “Celtic element” at our Yard – Fest and – increasingly during the last few years – the Open Day.

We never focus on “Celtic” when selecting the artists for the concert, rather on “best quality”. But there are many top of the range musicians and poets on this island who are deeply rooted in the traditions. Tim O’Shea (Killarney), Eleanor Shanley (Roscommon), Marana Mc Closkey (Dungiven) and during recent years Irish Harp player Dearbhla Mc Taggart (who is on the bill again this year) are but few examples who have taken the stage at the Fest.

 The Open Day (and the concert) has featured Seamus O’Kane, this island’s top maker (and indeed player) of traditional Celtic instruments – not only but foremost bodhrans…we could continue this list.

  • Last year we welcomed Toni Whiteside for the first time. She owns the “Abonos” jewellery company. The name is taken from the Gaelic for bog – oak and indeed for the best possible reason: For the jewellery she designs and makes she uses bog – oak which is dated -6.000 BC (in other words: Over 8.000 (!!) years old). Her delicate creations aren’t just Celtic by design – the raw material “breathes” the spirit of the twilight. Great to have Toni again this year!
  • New at our Open Day and in a unique way carrying on the old art of pottery (in the true sense of the word – pots he makes) is John Martin. He uses ancient designs of pots from this area some of which he puts the patterns on by working strands of Flax into the clay. John’s stall and demonstration will be amongst the highlights of the day beyond doubt.
    Perhaps the most spectacular of crafters who will have a stall in 2018 is one we took on board just after the programme had been written, you may class him as “last minute news”:
  • Charlie Mallon, owner of the County Tyrone – based “Mallon Foundry” is a lot more than living proof that the craft (or art) of casting metal has not disappeared from the North of Ireland when Mackie’s and their ilk flitted off to China. That’s just one aspect – more important probably is the material in his melting pot: Bronze!In Ireland, the first evidence of copper being alloyed to tin to make bronze comes from the flat axes dating from 2.000 BC. Bronze was widely used across Europe for weapons and decoration as well as everyday tools in the home. Irish craftsmen became particularly noted for the horn shaped trumpet, which was made by the cire perdue, or lost wax process.

The Sculptures start with Charlie Mallon the metalworker and his interest in the Celtic myths and stories that permeate Irish history. Those ideas led to designs that draw from the symbols of Ireland’s ancient past.

The bronzes are cast in the foundry in County Tyrone, the family home.

“Each Mallon bronze embodies our past belief and life spirit….” (From Charlie Mallon’s internet page).

Other Tigers, maybe not as “Celtic” but certainly real!!

  • Yoga – Session in the garden

Yoga is returning to the Open Day and with it two of the most profiled teachers, Erin Douglas and Tony Hiley!

The masters who run the Bikram Studio in Lisburn will be running a session in the relaxed atmosphere of the mill garden (in the marquee).

One session only – directly after the Fashion Show (approx. 2.30 pm).

Beginners are welcome but interest is so large that you must book your place!

Give us a ring or send a mail.

  • Bronagh “the weaver” Skett and Jim Mather running 2 of the looms!

The weaver from Draperstown who spent a lot of time in New Zealand will be taking the pilot seat at one of our looms during the Open Day. She will be joining Jim Mather from Portadown. The legendary master-weaver who used to manage Blackers Mill is far from being really retired and will make the shuttle fly on September 8th!

This supplement only makes sense in connection with our full programme!

Should you not have it, drop us a line and we will forward it to you. Hard copy – versions are available.

Open Day Concert Programme 2018

David Mc Clean – Dearbhla Mc Taggart – Willie Drennan – Diane Wilson –

Bernard Davis – Aileen Mc Intyre – Liam Burke – Isabel Neuenfeldt

+ special guests +special guests +special guests +special guests +

On stage at the 25th Yard Fest on Sat. September 8th 2018

Silver Anniversary – as good as Gold!

Flax Mill Concert programme 2018 pdf

Last year we said: “…the concert during the 24th is set to top anything that ever happened…”

A boiling atmosphere, a capacity crowd, standing applause proved us right.

This time we say: “We are going to put a shuffle on top!”

Look at this:

Spectacular news first:

Isa’s back!

Isabel Neuenfeldt

After last year’s unbelievable performance with the audience “over the moon” we bent backwards to feature Berlin’s no. 1 singer, accordionist and performer again. Not an easy task, given the fact that the musical powerhouse hits around 4 stages per week – every week! But she is doing it one more time: 2000 kilometres (one way) for just one gig on the small stage under the oak trees!

Needless to say Isabel Neuenfeldt is coming with a new programme – we don’t know what she will sing and play on stage, we know for sure though: She will set the place on fire, take the audience with her! During her gig she’ll meet a new – found musical friend:

 Dearbhla’s back!

Dearbhla Mc Taggart

16 years old and as cool as you like, Dungiven’s rising star on the Irish Harp will fusion with Isa but beyond doubt put her own stamp-mark on the performance as well. Her traditional style of playing was described (in Germany) as “the music of angles”.

Neither she nor Isabel might be angles – their music will make “gold drip from the heavens” – that’s one of the great facts the Yard – Fest creates!


Remaining with the “coming backs”:

Willie’s back!

Willie Drennan

The “bard of the North” has been one of the busiest artists on these shores during the last year. His ingenious fusions of different musical styles and traditions make for a guarantee that no two gigs of his are the same. An Australian Folk band taking the stage with him is as little of a surprise as is a 75 year old master – jazz – musician or a woman who plays the saw. The what??? Yes you are reading right – the tool most people would use to cut wood! We have (obviously) arrived at “newcomers”:

Diane Wilson!

Based in Ballymena / County Antrim, she has often been described as the best player of the “musical saw” on this island. She will take the stage and let us tell you: The energy she releases will take you in storm! It has been a long time coming – great to have her at the 25th!

Aileen Mc Intyre and Liam Burke were born, bred (and still live) in the neighbouring townland of Gortnahey (where Willie Drennan once saw a head sticking out of the pavement on the road….).

The fact that the highly talented pair never appeared at a Yard – Fest is not logic or explainable – it just never happened. You will love them, we know!

They tell us they will only perform “two or three songs” – the audience at our gathering knows well how that can be changed!

Another new kid on the block (or on the stage) is the incredible David Mc Clean!

The price-winning photographer, recording engineer and film – maker is the same person as the powerful rock-guitarist with a strong blues – leaning. After filming Willie Drennan for a particular project, David went obsessed with the idea of accompanying “the big lady from Lambeg” with his blues guitar. Can you imagine: Willie Drennan in “dervish – dance – mode” with the Lambeg drum – the instrument playing the melody is not a flute but an electric guitar!

You can’t??? Come to the 25th Yard – Fest and experience this World Premiere!

When we say “no borders – no limits” we mean that!

+ Poetry with a performance – edge by Bernard Davis (Birmingham).

+ Comperes: Hermann Glaser – Baur + one surprise – guest.

+ Straight after the gig: Ireland’s best session in the gas – lit barn!

The Order (whatever that may be)

Starting @ 8pm SHARP!

The Opener:

Liam and Aileen (vocals, acoustic guitars) will have no problem “warming up” the best and warmest audience in the world!

The Highlight beyond Doubt:

Isabel Neuenfeldt (accordion, vocals) straight from Berlin with a new programme especially for the 25th Yard – Fest.

She will meet Dearbhla Mc Taggart (Irish harp) in a unique fusion.

This set alone certainly makes the concert worth any music-lover’s while!

Rocking the Oak – Trees – Set:

Willie Drennan (vocals, tin whistle, fiddle, flute, +herself the big drum)

Meets live on stage Diane Wilson (musical saw), David Mc Clean (vocals, guitars) and who else the master of fusion might magic out of his cap!

World premiere on stage: The Lambeg Boogie!

Prepare yourself for the hottest set ever in 25 years.

Ireland’s best session starts directly after the concert in the gas – lit barn. If you miss the session you have missed the Yard – Fest!

Before the order

From 6 pm onwards:

  • 13 metre long Buffet (no comparison anywhere)
  • glorious dinner, cooked under the eyes of our visitors by the Berlin-catering-brigade! Vegetables from our own gardens, Vegan and Vegetarian options available!
  • German “drop of the pure” (hops, barley and water only, by law!), locally roasted coffee, Belfast – tea, treats galore….

Before, during and after any order:

The best people from beyond many borders – friends only, no strangers here.




As the Open Day, the Yard – Fest is a private event, from 6 pm by invitation only.

The owner reserves the right to refuse admission at any time.

To book your place, ring us: (0044)28777 42655

Or send us a mail:

This programme as well as the full Open – Day one and our flyer for the Fashion Show are available in hard – copy version, just give us a ring and we will send you ones.

25th Flax Mill OPEN DAY!

Saturday, September 8th, 2018
At Derrylane Flax Mill from 10am to 6pm
Open Day Programme 2018 pdf


The cream of crafters – unique demonstrations

  • Louise Mc Lean is returning! The basket-weaver from Coleraine has no match on this island. Not only will “Northern Ireland’s craftiest woman” put up her beautiful stall – she will demonstrate basket – weaving live and all day. Louise and her products alone would make a trip to the Open Day worth anybody’s while!
  • Jackie Arrell (Magherafelt): Give him a good piece of wood and he’ll turn it into a beautiful item (turn in the true sense of the word!). One of the longest-standing crafters at our Open Day is known to fulfil orders for our visitors from many countries. A great pleasure to have one of the country’s best wood-turners back!
  • Deborah Toner: The Belfast-based embroiderer has been one of the most talked-about and show-cased textile workers in Ireland during last year. Her picture embroidery on linen woven by Flax-Mill is gaining a huge international reputation – for good reason: Her work is spectacular!
  • Ruth Walker isn’t just returning to take her amazing stall. The Welsh-born glass artist with a base in N.Ireland is designing and manufacturing a new range of jewellery to go with the new garments we are showing on the cat-walk (see separate flyer)
  • An Open Day without Brendan Cosgrove is hard to imagine! The metal worker from Co.Antrim will certainly have a large selection of forged and welded one-offs at his stall. He is also demonstrating ring-making from recycled raw-materials such as silver cutlery.
  • 3 spinners working on 3 spinning-wheels – where would you get it? One of the most exciting demonstrations in 2018! Christine, Sarah and another surprise guest will be producing both linen and woollen yarn. We asked them to bring plenty of their top-of-the-range-yarns, they were sold out last year and we predict the same this time!
  • Roe Valley Ancestral Researchers were “new kids on the block” last year their stall promises to be one of the very interesting ones again. The voluntary group with a base in Ballykelly, Co. Derry are aiming to “…research local genealogy” and tell us: “The Roe Valley is so rich in culture yet many visitors don’t know this as there is a distinct lack of information for this area…” Living and working here, we couldn’t agree any more – the RVAR – activists are very welcome guests at the 25th Open Day.
  • Toni Whiteside is one of the real outstanding crafters in Northern Ireland. Toni origins from the Roe Valley and owns the “Abonos” (=Gaelic for bog oak) company. She designs and manufactures most amazing delicate pieces of jewellery from oak which she takes from her bog, one of the oldest in Ireland. The wood (over 8,000 years old!!) is finished with real gold, silver and copper. Toni Whiteside will also supply some pieces for the Fashion Show (see separate leaflet). “Irish Linen and bog oak – a meant to be relationship” (Marion Baur).
  • Sinead Black is returning! The interior designer and lecturer in design at the University of Ulster owns “Bricolage Quilts” studio in Hollywood. She has been very media – present recently, not least due to her bespoke quilts having been short-listed for last year’s “Irish Made” awards. She exhibited in Canada – her linen table ware is now used by top-restaurants like the ever prize-winning “Ox” in Belfast.
  • Ireland’s only female Blacksmith is coming back to make sparks fly! Danna Heron and her father David will stage a large Demonstration with their hand-pumped bellows in the centre. Alongside the working forge they will display classic tools and many items from their workshop. Anything made from iron you could possibly want – if they haven’t got it they will make it for you on the spot. Great to welcome them again!
  • Jill Gourney, Textile – crafter from Aghadowey and owner of “linen lane”, is also returning. Perfectionist work and great designs got the industrious lady into the “designery” in Bushmills. Jill, who uses linen made at Flax – Mill for her work will run a stall and demonstrate how to make a lampshade – great to have her back!
  • Dianne Mc Closkey is a newcomer at our event. Based in the neighbouring townland of Gortnahey she manufactures both Kefir from organic milk and Combucha – tea. Both products are of the highest quality and get a lot of healing – power attributed to them. Dianne, a student of natural science will make for a great addition to our Open Day.
  • Maria Cardenas, 3rd generation tailor from Colombia with a base in County Down will be showing some of the bespoke clothes she manufactures and one of her amazing creations will be on the cat-walk during our fashion show (see separate flyer). Maria calls her products “clothes with simple and subtle shapes”. We call them “simply beautiful” – great joy to have her at the 25th Open Day!
  • John Martin is showing his bespoke clay pots. He will also demonstrate pottery – making while you watch! New to our Open Day, John’s product will cause huge interest. He manufactures according to old designs for pots from this area, some of the patterns are created with strands of flax.
  • Also new to the Open Day is Frank Cammock with a very special book – stall. When his wife Heather gave us a “yes” to model in the fashion show (see separate flyer) we asked him and got a “yes” as well. Frank offers a selection of historic books, literature on the trade union movement and worker’s struggles which is unique in Ireland. He will find a very interested audience at the 25th Open Day!
  • Marta Kocon is one of the finest textile – workers in Ireland. A part – time employee at the Flax Mill she runs her own little manufacturing business as well. Marta often uses a combination of Irish linen and fabric from her country of birth, Poland. She’ll be at the Open Day with a stall full of high – quality treats, many of them made from linen!
  • Needless to tell you that Marion Baur and Liz Corrigan will be running a large stall with both finished products and cloth made here at the Flax Mill as well as some of the amazing garments Liz creates from our fabric. The “mill stall” has become a hub for textile – workers, designers and lovers of good clothes over the last few years, Marion, Liz and their team will be present all day to give advice and welcome new and old friends. Missing the Flax – Mill – stall is like missing the Open Day!

Now let us treat you to some real gems during our Open Day 2018. Besides the unique 18 stalls and 9 live demonstrations we are pleased to offer:

  • Paintings by Margaret Gerhardus on exhibition!
    Many regular visitors know Margaret as an ingenious soap – maker, her great paintings (shown at many exhibitions recently) are not as known in the North – West.
    We are delighted to host an exhibition – her pictures will be placed throughout the mill – building. Let her surprise you!
  • Dyeing yarn with natural dyes – a demonstration and talk by Christine Casey!
    The master – spinner (see above “spinning on 3 wheels”) and owner of “Kiri Cottage Crafts” will not only show spinning alongside Sarah Foster – Jarden, she has committed herself to a dyeing – demonstration and talk. Christine is an active member of the “Ulster Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers” and her wealth of knowledge will attract many interested people – it’s one of those events you should announce your interest in before the day!
  • Darts with N. Ireland Master Travis Baur!
    13 year old Travis (he was born here at the Flax Mill) has just won the N. I. masters under 18 for the second time. He will be competing in the coming World Championship in England.
    Great to have “shooting star Travis” to show and share his skills!
    Limited places – you must book beforehand for this!

The event of the year:

Flax – Mill Fashion Show 2018 – setting trends, not following them!

We are producing a separate leaflet with all the details of the Fashion Show (E-mail and hard-copy version).
Ask us for this detailed flyer, it will be out from July 10th!
Here are some bullet points on “Ireland’s only really alternative Cat – Walk”:

  • 4 Models plus two “surprise guests” on the cat walk:
    Fiona Baur, Annie Press, Heather Cammock and Tony Hiley.
  • Creations in Irish Linen (some in wool and silk) by Marion Baur and Liz Corrigan.
  • 3 Guest – Designers showing one piece each: Chris Tyndal (Loft design, Belfast), Maria Cardenas (see above under stalls and demonstrations) and Fiona Smyth (“Tea and Madeleine”, Limerick).
  • Jewellery and accessories by Ruth Walker, Toni Whiteside and Marta Kocon.
  • 1 showing only @ 1 pm in the marquee! Limited spaces and a strictly “first come first take” policy – it’s the only fair way to organise this capacity – show. Please book your place as soon as possible!
  • “Earthed” the world’s most unusual fabric at the Open Day!
    Insiders know that Flax Mill is stockist and promotes “earthed”, the digitally printed linen, a brand-new product by William Clark, Upperlands. The brain child of Clark’s creative director Duncan Neil who will be at our Open Day was originally designed for home-interior and upholstery – still is that but has found another spectacular use: German tailor Georg Bünger, while doing work-experience at Clarks, made a jacket from one of the designs.
    It will be first – time shown during our fashion show!
    We guarantee you: You have not seen a garment like it!
    The jacket only exists once, it is owned by Duncan Neil and we have commissioned a male model of the right size to show it.For all details on “earthed” see our article or visit

Who else What else Who else What else?

  • Homemade cakes – locally roasted coffee – a good drop of tea – the best of crack!
  • Classic and vintage cars galore – Ireland’s oldest commercial vehicle on the road – old machinery – the only surviving hand – breaker for flax in operation….
  • All our weaving looms operating all day, tours of the mill!
  • Guests from all over the world, no strangers, just friends you have yet to meet!
  • For those who stay for the evening concert (ask us for the separate programme): 13 m long buffet – German beer – dinner made by the Berlin Catering Brigade – the concert of the year with:

Isabel Neuenfeldt (Berlin), Willy Drennan (Ballymena), David Mc Lean(Belfast), Diane Wilson (yes the Diane Wilson, master of the musical saw!!!), Dearbhla Mc Taggart (Dungiven), Bernard S. Davis (Birmingham), poetry + many special guests

-Ireland’s best session after the gig!


Some important notes:

  • Open Day and Yard Fest are private events – the owner reserves the right to refuse admission at all times.
  • There is no entrance fee for the Open Day, for the evening concert, dinner etc.…you need an invitation, ask us for details.
  • We recommend booking before. Give us a ring: (0)28 77742655 or send us a mail:
  • For all details, hard-copies of the programmes etc. contact the mill at above number, Hermann deals with the bookings.