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County Wicklow, Ireland
Once upon a time there was a Mill at Avoca Village, County Wicklow. Set up in 1723 as a co-operative where farmers could spin and weave their wool, the Mill's uncolored yarn was turned into tweeds and blankets. However, color soon came to Avoca as vivid natural vegetable dyes in reds, greens, and yellows brightened the Mill's output. These were soon recognized as Avoca Handweavers' signature hues and the Mill thrived through the 1920s and 30s when it was run by a marvelous trio of sisters, the Wynns.
By the 1960s however, it had fallen into disrepair. Handweaving was dying and the looms grew largely silent. Until a young couple with a younger family took a flyer in the mid-seventies and the rest, as others might say, is history.
When Donald & Hilary Pratt bought the Avoca Handweavers Mill in 1974, frankly perhaps, it should have been an act of folly. The then Dublin lawyer was handling the sale of the site for development. He ended up buying it himself despite knowing nothing about handweaving, but believing there was a future in the Mill's past. The run-down buildings, the tumbling mill, the name itself had woven a spell of sorts. He left law and Hilary gave up her teaching job as they took over the leaking Mill and empty order book. But soon the looms were humming again and Avoca began to color the world once more.