Peacoats of Donegal County

What can be said of the peacoat which has not been said already? For the peacoat goes way back; way, way back; back perhaps as far as 1700. Has been to sea and back again a thousand times has the peacoat, and written about — waxed every which way from historical to sartorial to geographical — just as much. What, then, to say about the peacoat, and most pertinently, about those that landed at the workshop yesterday?

How about, for starters, the cloth from which these peacoats are made? It is hefty tweed this time, hand-woven in County Donegal in the north-west corner of Ireland. Now, if Donegal is known for one thing, then — perhaps along with Ballyshannon, oldest town in Ireland; Bunbeg, reportedly the smallest harbour in Europe; and Tory Island, which in a chap by the name of Patsy Dan Rodgers, has its own king — it may well be its yarn.

Donegal yarn, see, is like no other, with the many multi-coloured flecks dotted along its surface — the colours, so the story goes, reflecting those of the local Donegal landscape. Been to County Donegal recently? Hewn so coarse from nature is the place it makes most other places look flimsy and feeble; you can’t move for granite and sandstone outcrops, peaty flats and grassland, yellow gorse, and the dim blue-grey of the Gweebarra River — and, on top of that, this time of year, the autumny autumnal autumness of its autumn.

So, while all three colours of the all-new peacoat are ostensibly woven with a warp of charcoal-grey, to call it charcoal-grey is something of an undersell: it is charcoal-grey plus slight and subtle accents of some or all of the above. Then there is the weft, of which, this year, there is tobacco, ash-grey, and navy-blue. All of them are, again, more than what it says on the tin: all are replete with the myriad only-in-Donegal hints of colour.

Not only is the peacoat yarn spun in County Donegal, the cloth is woven there, too — just shy of 20 miles from the yarn-spinning factory, by a father and son who hand-weave their cloth on the family Somet Rapier loom. Such has been the setup, on one loom or another, for six generations. The family make outstanding cloth: dense and full of texture, with thick and thin yarn cleverly supplementing warp and weft, thereby adding further texture to the handle of the tweed, without heaping much more onto the weight.

Lining of the finest wool-melton in West Yorkshire, and dark matte horn buttons from a centuries-old button factory in the West Midlands, complete the peacoat. They both are worth a few more words themselves, but today Donegal steals the show. As for the ins and outs of the peacoat’s pockets, its collar, its bias-inverted box-pleating, and so on — all of that is best done over in the shop. Step this way, then, for the all-new tobacco-brown, navy-blue, and ash-grey peacoat — available online and at the workshop from right now.