The Kilcommon Costume — a 16thc Irish kern’s clothes
RH303 – Kilcommon Outfit
In 1946, a suit of clothes dating to the late 16th or early 17th century was found by Father Fitzgerald in Kilcommon Bog, Thurles, County Tipperary, Ireland. It consisted of a jacket and trews (pants) and accessories of native manufacture. The garments were of a rough weave, suggesting that they belonged to a common man. Yet they were also of a style that suggested they followed the Gaelic (i.e. non-English) fashion.
The records we have of the Kilcommon costume are sketchy. This is not uncommon with Irish textiles. No notes on the find survive. No archeological dig of the site was done. All that remains besides the textiles themselves is the account of a tailor who in the late 1940’s examined the garments. It is unfortunately clear that the man knew nothing about clothing history nor textile production. He describes the garments with a modern viewpoint which, if it were not for the evidence of the extant garments, would greatly skew our understanding of the clothes.
Buy the rest of this splendid article on Traditional Irish Dress by clothing historian Kass McGann: