Clothing during the Renaissance: Dress found in a bog near Shinrone, County Tipperary

McClintock does not give a date for a dress found in a bog near Shinrone in County Tipperary (picture from Dunlevy, 19). He suggests comparing it to Gernon’s description. I think he is referring to a particular part of Gernon’s description: “At every bredth of three fingers they sew it quite through with a welte, so that it seemeth so many lystes putt together.” (McClintock, 115) This description may refer to the gathering of the skirt. Comparing it to Gernon’s description places it around the early 1600s.

McClintock’s description (which he bases on description given to him by the National Museum of Ireland) gives us details about the dress that are hard to determine from the photograph. McClintock says, “It is made of coarse dark brown woolen homespun, and consists of a bodice and skirt joined together. The bodice has a square opening in front, and the skirt, which measures more than 22.5 feet round at the bottom [the measures may be different because this is an Irish reference from 1943, but otherwise that is an incredible amount of fabric that truly does have ‘a multitude of small gathers’ as McClintock says further on in his description, even if the pieces are narrower at the top], is made of 23 pieces of cloth or gores seamed together, each about one foot wide at the bottom and narrower at the top. Each of these gores, in turn, has three separate quills or cylindrical folds, running down it from top to bottom at an equal distance from each other, together with a forth quill at its edge so arranged as to conceal the separate gores about three inches wide at the bottom and two inches at the top. At the top the skirt is drawn by a multitude of small gathers, each held in place by a back-stitch on the inside of the garment, and is there sewn on to a separate bodice. ...The sleeves are unfortunately too much tattered to afford any useful information as to their original form.” (66)