Master Weaver John McAtasney laid to rest

John McAtasney
John McAtasney

The funeral of master weaver John Bosco McAtasney took place in Lurgan yesterday (Wednesday).

The father of three, formerly of John St, was widely regarded as one of the last of his hand weavers of linen damask in Ireland.

Highly respected world-wide, his talents were much sought after by celebrities as well as locals.

In an interview last May, John (then aged 83) was asked when he started weaving: “I was 14. My mother got me into weaving. She asked James Crozier, who owned a vegetable shop on Queen Street [in Lurgan], to ask his brother, Robert, who had a hand-weaving business on the Gilford Road, if he would give me a start. When I went in I was told not to talk to any of the handloom weavers but to watch them. One weaver was having a break and he said to me, “What took you into this? Nobody wants to be a handloom weaver today – this trade is dying out”. That was 1948.”

He also started working around 50 years ago for Mourne Textiles and in the 1960s he brought a handloom from Donegal and set it up in Lurgan. He was weaving privately and also for the Ulster Folk Museum

Mr McAtasney is the dearly beloved husband of Anna, Oakleigh Manor and formerly of John St, Lurgan, and much loved father of Bronagh, Ethna and John, beloved father-in-law of Poppy, loving da da da to Patrick, Pearse and Liam, beloved son of the late John and Sally and brother of Frank, Pat, Noel, Margaret and Eleanor and the late Brian and Terry R.I.P.

His epitaph was: “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle.”