Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My Kinsale Fisherman's Smock

Back in the 70's before there was shopping on the internet, mail order catalogs were everywhere. Because of my interest in all things Irish, I received several catalogs form purveyors of goods from the ould sod. There were many, many items offered that I wished for and one I finally got.

It was sometime in the 80's before I felt 'rich' enough to order my own 100% cotton, Made-In-Ireland, Kinsale Smock. They were a traditional garment worn by fishermen when mending nets or gutting fish which is why they were also known as gut coats. Colors available in the wind resistant, heavy brushed cotton were navy, rust, royal and tan. The price was forty dollars and I opted for rust. Denims in colors of chambray blue, red, navy or blue and white stripe were also available at that price.

Here is a picture of the tag showing the shape of the garment and a bit of the history behind it:

And here is a photo taken at Doug and Shelly's wedding in October, 1988 of me wearing my smock.

When my son and daughter-in-law celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary at this same location, I knew immediately what I would wear:

Holding great-grandson Sawyer. Which reminds me of one of the first times I wore my smock back in my hometown a few months after Bud and I were married. I ran into one my girlfriends from high school days. And after the "Hi's and how are you's" she looked at me and said "are you?" "Am I what?" "Are you expecting?" I was surprised she would think that since I was 42 years old and already a grandmother, but I suppose the smock I was so proud of could have been mistaken for a maternity top.
Maybe that is why I have never worn my Kinsale Smock as much as I thought I would, though I think it has more to do with its boat neck. I imagine I would have liked the open neck model better, but I wanted the one which was most traditionally worn by the seafarers leaving Kinsale Harbor in their fishing boats.

Another photo from the 25th anniversary party, this time holding great-granddaughter Lily. I may not wear it much but at least I still can wear it. Perhaps if I wore it more it would obtain that softer when washed status and be even more comfortable.

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