Last week I nipped into the local charity shop to see if I might find any new styling props or possible furnishings for our thatched farmhouse project. The first thing that caught my eye were three very old chairs with the most beautiful green woven seats. Little did I know, before me stood a trio very old (possibly 100+ years) Irish súgán chairs. While I’ve come across updated versions of this style of chair in America, I was not aware that these gorgeous wooden chairs with seats made from woven twine stretched over the frame had originated in Ireland.

Súgán chairs are crafted without nails and their strength relies solely on the framework design and the mortise & tenon wood joints that hold it together. The final part in the construction of a Sugan chair is an element known as the “weave” which you sit upon. Long ago, the material used in the process was hemp, today it has been replaced by twine.  Apparently, in our area the style of weave used was locally known as the “Smearla Weave” which is believed to date back over 120 years. More importantly, this type of weave was meant to provide comfort and strength to the whole frame of these Irish chairs.

Notice the beautifully faded green twine

Pulled and woven over the seat of each chair

Such an admirable + time-honoured design

 

I couldn’t help but wonder……what would these sage Súgán chairs tell us if they could talk?

Slan Abhaile,

Imen

Photos by Imen McDonnell

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