Dressing soldiers worldwide, Limerick Clothing Factory

History of Limerick Clothing Factory, one of the largest clothing factories in Europe

Written by well known local historian Sharon Slater, and edited by Dr. Matthew Potter and Jacqui Hayes, new book ‘A Stitch In Time’ chronicles the history of the Limerick Clothing Factory.

A young Scottish man, Sir Peter Tait, founded the Limerick Clothing Factory in 1853. It became one of the largest clothing factories in Europe, supplying army clothing throughout the world. The factory had contributed to Tait’s rise in popularity locally. He became the Mayor of Limerick for three consecutive years and had a clock erected in his honour.The Limerick Clothing Factory became internationally prominent after supplying uniforms to the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. This was also the end of Tait’s era in Limerick. The factory was taken over by a board of management that consisted of important Limerick business families such as the Banntynes, the Spaights and the Russells. While under the control of the board of management the Limerick Clothing Factory supplied uniforms for the Irish Volunteers, including the uniform worn by Éamon de Valera. They also supplied the first run of An Garda Síochána uniforms.

Sharon Slater, in A Stitch in Time, weaves together the threads running from Tait’s foundation until the factory’s closure in November 1974, creating images of life for those who worked there over 120 years, dressing not only the Irish but also soldiers throughout the world.
This publication coincides with the residential redevelopment of the Limerick Clothing Factory site by Limerick City and County Council and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

Available from Limerick bookshops priced €20.

Pictured: cover of new book ‘A Stitch in Time, A History of Limerick Clothing Factory,’ inside the Limerick Clothing Factory, and its founder Sir Peter Tait


By Olivia O’Sullivan

This article appeared in the Limerick Post, 20th January 2018