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:


2 Responses to The Kilcommon Costume — a 16thc Irish kern's clothes

  1. […] leg coverings might be boots, or may be meant to represent trews – compare to the Killery or Kilcommon bog garments. The Wilde woman was described in Speed’s own words in his Theatre comments: […]

  2. […] Extant 16th c. Italian Garments The Dungiven Costume: a 16th century anglo-irish men’s outfit The Kilcannon Costume: a 16th century Irish Kern’s CLothes V&A Costume & Textiles Tour 16th & 17th c. clothing at the V&A Elizabethan Costume […]