Spend a Creative Weekend in the Mournes this Autumn

Escape to one of Ireland's most idyllic settings for a traditional cottage break and try your hand at a range of heritage crafts with a contemporary feel

August Craft Month could arguably be seen as the annual benchmark for the art of making in Northern Ireland, and with it every year comes a renewed appreciation for the talent on our doorstep not to mention an appetite to learn the skills that have been showcased.

Luckily, the public won't have to wait to long before getting to have a go at some of the techniques they might have seen recently, as a new series of workshops taking place across September and October is offering the chance to get hands on with ceramics, willow-weaving and much more.

Not only are the workshops delivered by award-winning designer-makers with a one-to-one approach, they're held at one of the most beautiful locations in the country and double up as a great weekend getaway.

Nestled in the heart of the Mournes, next to Tollymore Forest Park, County Down are Tory Bush Cottages, a cluster of traditional-style holiday homes with peaceful surrounds and breathtaking views.


Perfect for couples in need of a post-summer break, or those looking to meet like-minded individuals, whether you're a local or a visitor to the area, Mourne Creative will let you escape from the digital disarray of today's world to somewhere you can slow down and make something real.

As more and more people discover the value of items that are handmade rather than mass produced, heritage crafts continue to enjoy a huge resurgence. Mourne Creative lets participants preserve the artistry of our ancestors in the process of making one of a kind products to proudly take away and have in their own homes. That you'll also make new friends and gain skills to last a lifetime is just an added bonus.

Details for the forthcoming series of workshops can be found below. With places limited, interested parties are urged to book as soon as possible by contacting Claire Small either via email mournecreative@gmail.com or phone 078 6692 8846. Payment can be made by PayPal, BACS or by cheque.


Pottery and Cyanotype Printing – Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September

Thomas Powell is coming back to the Mourne Creative workshop on Saturday September 16 to guide participants into this unique experience. You will get to throw your own pots on the wheel and also learn a few other pottery techniques that Thomas will demonstrate.

On Sunday September 17 create your own unique and beautiful photograms with Alice Burns, in an exciting method of printing called cyanotype. Cyanotype is a heliographic sunlight printing process, which predates photography and produces stunning blue print on fabrics and paper. Thin leaves, grasses and flowers that are dry and thin objects e.g. lace; paper cut outs are required for this workshop with Alice.


  • £185 per person for both workshops and overnight stay and all home made meals.
  • £135 per person for one workshop and overnight stay.
  • £60 per person for one workshop without overnight stay.


Blacksmithing and Willow Weaving – Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 September

Don your leather apron to take part in this exciting new experiential workshop with blacksmith Andrew Smyth. Andrew will guide you through the basic tool making skills required for blacksmithing and then you can use your very own tools to create an axe or blade to take home ready for the winter fuel harvest. Andrew’s blacksmithing workshop will take place on Saturday September 23 over at the stables at the cottages from 10-4pm with lunch in Meelmore Cottage from 1-2pm.

Willow weaving has to be one of the most tactile and theraputic crafts there is. Clive Lyttle is a master weaver who works under his own brand of Welig Heritage Crafts. Basketry, chair seating and countryside skills will guide us through the weaving process to further produce a platter (skib) to take home to be admired by all. Clive’s Willow Weaving workshop will take place on Sunday September 24 from 10-4pm with a break for lunch to the cottages from 1-2pm.


  • £200 per person for both workshops and overnight stay and all home made meals.
  • £155 per person for one workshop and overnight stay.
  • £70 per person for one workshop without overnight stay.


Hedgerow Wine Crafting and Mixed Media Printing on Irish Linen – Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 October

Come to learn to make your own organic wines from 100% organic ingredients on Saturday October 7. Learn from wine maker Leo Cullen which seasons to pick the best ingredients right through to the fermanting process. Leo will be demostrating the workshop with his freshly harvested apples. Participants are asked to bring their own own freshly foraged seasonal fruit and bottles and caps, and Leo will guide you through the rest.

On Sunday October 8 Ruth Osborne will head a workshop on textile art involving natural forms in mixed media printing on linen. In this workshop participants will have the opportunity to experiment with hand printing onto beautiful Irish Linen using natural materials and find out more about the folklore and superstition attached to the seasonal flora. Participants will create unique prints inspired by the natural environment of County Down and experiment with colour, pattern and mark making. These mixed media prints will then be turned into delicately printed cards or votive jars. All materials will be provided.


  • £185 per person for both workshops and overnight stay and all home made meals.
  • £135 per person for one workshop and overnight stay.
  • £60 per person for one workshop without overnight stay.

Wine making

To experience is necessary for any workshops, only bags of enthusiasm. Stay up to date with Mourne Creative by visiting its Facebook page where you'll find further news of upcoming events as well as a new online crafts store launching in the near future.

This article is sponsored by Mourne Creative.