Built on the banks of the Avoca River from where it used to draw its power, you'll find a large Avoca Store and Café, and the working hand weaving mill, where the tour takes place. The Avoca Mill itself dates from 1723, and is said to be Ireland’s oldest working mill, and indeed one of the world’s oldest.
The tour begins in the Visitor Centre where the story of the mill is told, from 1723 right up until today, and where artefacts are displayed including ancient throws and equipment used at the mill in the past. From here the tour is taken upstairs, past stacks and spools of wool in a multitude of colours to where the weaving takes place still to this day. The Mill Tour is an interactive experience, where the weavers are happy to chat to visitors whilst they work and explain the full weaving process, from raw wool to the finished product. Maintaining the tradition of centuries before them, the weavers still use a handloom alongside modern weaving machines.
The Avoca throws, rugs and scarves you will find at Avoca’s 12 locations around Ireland and shipped all over the world are all woven in the original mill. Initially it took the raw wool from the sheep of the surrounding hills and valleys and through a process of carding, spinning, dyeing and weaving transformed it into clothing and blankets for barter and sale. Visitors are welcome to view the whole weaving process at first hand with a Tour of the Mill. Admission is free and it is a great opportunity to see the weavers at work and to view the finished product in the store afterwards.
After the tour, head over the store where the finished woven products can be seen and purchased, along with a selection of Avoca favourites including clothing, soft furnishings, gifts, food, and much more. The Mill has a café too, which is famous for its delicious lunches and home baking.
The picturesque village of Avoca itself was the fictional home of BBC TV's Ballykissangel. Overall, the warm and friendly atmosphere in this charming and historical location makes the visit to Avoca a wonderful experience.