What's All This Then?
an tuirne beag
The Little Spinning Wheel
An Tuirne Beag was a craft workshop in Ballycastle in the north of county Antrim. This venture, also known as the Irish Peasant Home Industries, was set up by Francis Riddell, with the assistance of F.J.Bigger , in 1903. It was part of the 19th century Irish folk Art Revival that had its roots in the English Arts and Crafts Movement founded by the visionary artist and social activist William Morris.
It was believed by many at the time that money could be attracted into deprived rural areas with the establishment of local craft industries. As a low impact business it would allow rural life to continue with minimal disruption to their landscapes. Creating a rural population that would benefit from the best of all worlds with physical security, a landscape not desecrated by industrial urban sprawl as well as, what the Irish playwright J.M Synge called, ‘the artistic beauty of mediaeval life’.
Reference:Joseph McBrinn (2002). The Peasant and Folk Art Revival in Ireland, 1890-1922: With Special Reference to Ulster in ULSTER FOLKLIFE, Volume 48: 14-61.