Donegal Clothing

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  • Home Life in Donegal

Donegal Tweed

Donegal is world famous for its homespun tweeds and linens. Tweed, made from spun wool, was especially popular in Donegal, due to the wetter climate in the northwest.

The beauty of Donegal tweed is that the natural oil from the wool is retained in the weaving, making garments both waterproof and warm.

The addition of easy-care yarns like polyester and cotton have made these items more wearable and easy to care for. Donegal tweed is still popular among locals and visitors alike.

Gone Fishing

The seafaring nature of a Donegal fisherman's job requires him to dress accordingly.

The photograph to the left shows a fisherman carrying his currach in the late nineteenth century in Donegal. He is dressed in clothes typical of an Irish fisherman of that period.

'Oilskins' made from modern fabrics have replaced the fisherman's woollen 'bainin' trouser. Bainin is the natural cream colour of a sheep's coat.

The photograph to the right shows a typical modern-day fisherman in his working clothes.

Although high-tech fabrics have dramatically changed the appearance of a typical fisherman's outfit, tradition dictates that some still wear the Aran sweaters.

Safety before Fashion

Construction workers once wore old suit jackets, wellingtons and everyday clothes to building sites. The photo to the left shows the group of construction workers who built the chapel in Gweedore, Co. Donegal in 1971.


 The men are of varying ages and dressed casually in different styles of clothing. Most are wearing sweaters or vests. Some are wearing old suit jackets over shirts, flat caps, and boots or wellingtons.


With advances in technology, including heavy machinery and building supplies made from chemicals, building sites have become more dangerous places to work. Therefore, builders today have a stricter uniform. Modern safety regulations mean that they must wear high-visibility jackets, coveralls, hard helmets and reinforced footwear.