Once that’s done you’ll be able to experience the KnittingTours website perfectly.
Everyone has heard of The Banshees of Inisherin by now, starting Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. Filmed in part on Inis Mor (featured in our Donegal, Causeway Coast and Aran Islands with Dublin knitting tour), it tells the story of two friends and the loss of that friendship, with a backdrop of island life in 1916 Ireland.
The most beautiful thing about this award winning feature film is just how Irish it really is. Not only are the actors, director and filming locations Irish, but the knitwear is made from 100% Irish wool and knitted by a most talented Irish knitter!
We sat down and had a chat with Delia Barry, the 83 year old sought after knitter responsible for the jumpers worn by the cast and other feature films besides!
When did you start knitting?
Well I have been knitting for pretty much all my life. We were taught knitting in school from the age of seven; it was considered a necessary part of education for girls. We were a mixed school though, so now I am wondering what the boys were doing while we were knitting!
How did you end up knitting for films and who have you knitted for?
I have been knitting for feature films for decades, after being asked to knit for Christian Bale’s character in Reign of Fire (filmed in the Wicklow Mountains close to Delia’s home). I have also knitted costume for Jude Law and Emma Watson (Harry Potter fame) for her role in Little Women. Little Women is actually one of my favourite books as the characters are so well written, I am drawn to strong female characters in literature.
How do you feel about all the attention and interviews?
It’s crazy! In Ireland, I have been on the Ray Darcy show and in the papers, but the interest is nothing like the rest of the world! I have had the BBC, Channel 4, national UK newspapers; German TV crews and The New York Times come to visit! Some of the questions are very funny. I had one reporter ask me what I thought this would do for my career – I’m 83! Another wished me good luck on my Oscar nomination. I pointed out there isn’t a category for best knitter! I do feature in the film credits thought which is great, and my fee I had donated to my local Greystones Cancer Support. They are great and really helped us when my husband Paddy (since passed away) was ill. Any chance I get to help them out I do.
What is your favourite yarn to use and what is your favourite stitch?
I do love the soft wool yarns for working in. Wearing 100% wool is a different matter, as it can sometimes be scratchy, which Colin Farrell discovered! Brendan Gleeson loved the jumpers though. Well remember there are only two kinds of stitches really, it is what you do with them! The Aran style is really my favourite. The patterns with stories behind them, how a single colour can be manipulated into something so striking and detailed. Colin Farrell’s wine coloured diamond pattern jumper was my favourite in the film (knitted in Cushendale DK and you can visit Cushendale on some of our tours!).
How do you think knitting has helped you in recent years?
After Paddy died, I really needed to occupy myself, living alone. I began going to a community craft participation on Sundays in the local church hall. I would sit at a table knitting and others would have tables doing crochet, making jewellery and so on. We would show people who called in how our crafts were done and we gave tips and share knowledge. We would then gather for tea breaks as crafters and chat away. A proper feeling of community, which I miss, as it is yet to start back up after everything.
Another strange side effect is it seems to have cured my arthritic thumbs! I had dreadful arthritis in both thumbs, agony. Once I got back to knitting, the pain stopped and my flexibility returned.
What is your advice to anyone looking to go on our knitting tour?
As an 83-year-old widow, if you sit at home waiting for people to call, you’ll be disappointed. Get out and do things while you can!
As our Aran Knitting Instructor Edel MacBride rightly says:
“Delia truly represents the decades of super talented Irish Aran knitters with “no names” in history. 95% women. Bring on the Academy Awards!”
Thanks to The Greystones Guide for the images of Delia.