fbpx vie magazine subscribe button

Bespoke Luxury

Handcrafted in the West of Ireland

By Maria Elena Sinibaldi | Photography by Aoife Herriott

Connemara Carpets has had more than forty years of experience providing durable luxury carpets of the highest quality to clients worldwide. Connemara Carpets offers seamless pieces to fit rooms of any shape and size, with custom measuring and colour-matching services available for a unique addition to the overall design of any project.

If you ever get the pleasure of driving on that quiet, scenic stretch of the N59 road on the Wild Atlantic Way between Clifden and Letterfrack in north-west Connemara, you may see a roadside sign that reads ‘Connemara Carpets’. Behind this sign is an amazing story of beauty, grace, and enduring quality: a tale of devotion, perseverance, and belief in the value and durability of outstanding workmanship.

The Early Years

When Denis McMurray, founder of McMurray Carpets, first visited Connemara, he fell in love with its rugged beauty and the sense of peaceful isolation it inspired. In the early 1970s, when the McMurray family began making carpets in Connemara, they built a reputation of caring for the customer, giving close attention to detail, and always delivering world-class handmade carpets. The sensational floor coverings, produced by dedicated artisans, were hand tufted using large frames for seamless carpets that are naturally soft, resilient, and durable. They were made to withstand years of heavy wear—some of the original carpets made for hotels are still in situ after four decades.

In the old school buildings that were once the centre of the tiny village of Moyard, a new industry was born. Sourcing 100 per cent pure merino wool of the highest quality, spun to their own specification and dyed using ecologically sound methods, the family created a finished product that was natural, sustainable, and luxurious with the highest fire safety rating and an ability to stand the test of time. The company fast became renowned for its opulent creations and was proud to call some of the most prestigious residences and establishments its clients—from Dublin to Dubai and from London to New York and Florida.

McMurray Carpets became a thriving industry nestled quietly in the heart of Connemara. Employing a highly skilled local workforce, the factory and showroom provided a much-needed boost to the local economy.

The ever-changing landscape and lively local community provided a continuous creative spark for the many unique pieces still scattered throughout the globe today. Densely piled and hand tufted with rich colour, these carpets were and still are the ultimate in natural bespoke luxury, a symbol of grandeur and an investment for the discerning client. McMurray Carpets grace prestigious hotels, castles, corporate headquarters, palaces, and private residences in many countries. Their impressive client list is a tribute to the masterful skill and craftsmanship embodied in every carpet produced.

Decline and Struggle

Unfortunately, this level of dedication and passion was not entirely a match for the economic recession which hit Ireland in the 2007–2008 period. The economy both locally and globally was suffering. The prosperous years leading up to this had allowed for many national and international commissioned projects. The company, which had until then been a major employer in its rural community, employing more than twenty local people, was under threat of closure. Staying true to the quality and level of service they had provided up to this point was of vital importance to the survival of the brand. However, maintaining these standards meant losing out to competitive pricing from commercial manufacturers working in lower-cost economies overseas.

Seamless round carpet for the Galway County Council chamber Connemara Life 2016
This 132-square-metre (1420 square feet) seamless piece produced for the Galway County Council chamber features over twenty colours and tones inspired by County Galway’s landscape. Photo courtesy of Galway County Council

Realising the detriment of such a closure to Connemara as a whole, a new owner emerged from within the local community. With a strong background in local development, Kieran O’Donohue stepped in to help revive the company and see it through this tough time. His own belief in the importance of retaining the product quality and exceptional standards was the driving force behind the brand’s survival. Using all of the resources available—both personal and public—he began the process of nurturing the business back to life. With the cooperation of committed local designers, tufters, and finishers returning in good faith, the new brand, Connemara Carpets, launched early in 2011 with just a handful of staff members. It has gone from strength to strength ever since.

They continue the legacy that was gifted to them by the original founders. Over forty-five years since opening its doors, they still pride themselves on the initial principles set out by the McMurray family, from custom design, colour matching, and precise measuring to fitting and delivery.

Detail shot of Connemara Carpet beautiful colors hand crafted Connemara Life 2016

Their design team is led by one of the founding members of the company and his vast knowledge allows them to carry the careful tradition laid down by the McMurrays, while also introducing modern design techniques. Drawing on the creative energy of the Wild Atlantic Way and the ever-changing landscape of Connemara, they stay true to what was the initial driving vision of the brand.

Revival and Recovery

Having cultivated relationships with architects and interior designers all over the world, Connemara Carpets works closely with these experts to add an extra flourish to their grand designs. In particular, Carleton Varney, president of Dorothy Draper and Company in New York, utilises the specialist design capabilities and unrivalled colour matching to enhance his own very personal service. He and his company encourage Connemara Carpets to push the boundaries of design and bring his vivid ideas to life. Commissioning pieces for private homes throughout the US and for luxury hotels, his unique eye for quality and his expressive use of colour have produced what some may view as the most intricate and colourful projects to date.

Detail shot of Connemara Carpet dyed wool process shot Connemara Life 2016
The highest quality 100 per cent merino wool is spun to Connemara Carpet’s own specifications and dyed using ecologically sound methods.

Inspiration for the Future

Ireland has seen somewhat of an economic resurgence in the last two years, and the company is undergoing a period of growth. Larger projects are beginning to emerge as the economy continues to improve. One such project, completed last year, saw one of their biggest seamless pieces—132 square metres (approximately 1420 square feet)—produced for the Galway County Council chamber, and this provided a welcome challenge for both designers and tufters alike. Borrowing its colours directly from the landscape of County Galway and using patterns of the ocean, their team created a carpet that was as impressive in visual terms as it was in size. Using more than twenty different colours and tones, the finished carpet was a landmark project which commanded much attention and high praise from local media.

Ireland is now also seeing the return of Irish designers who had left due to lack of opportunity. They bring new ideas and approaches. These designers are ready to reinvest themselves in Ireland and in a brand that is rooted in its culture and resources. This will give way to what the company expects will be exciting creative developments in the coming years.

Following the long record of exquisite quality and workmanship with infinite possibilities for size, design, and colour, Connemara Carpets remain committed to providing a unique service built on decades of tradition, experience, and, of course, a deep love of the Connemara landscape.



Read Responsibly

VIE Magazine September 2020 Wanderlust Issue, Fancy Camps, The Idea Boutique
VIE Magazine August 2020 Art & Culture Issue, Nathan Alan Yoakum Art
VIE Magazine - Architecture & Design Issue - July 2020
VIE Magazine - Decor and Home Issue - June 2020
VIE Magazine May 2020 Entertainment Issue, Leslie Odom Jr
VIE Magazine - April 2020 Culinary Issue
VIE Magazine March 2020 The Fashion Edit, VONDOM, Alys Beach Fl, Digital Graffiti, Tres Chic, isidro dunbar Modern Interiors, Digital Graffiti Festival
VIE Magazine February 2020 Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine - Travel Issue - January 2020 - Tanzania Safari Cover
VIE Magazine - Women's Issue - December 2019 - Tina Brown Cover
VIE NOV19 Goodness Issue
VIE Magazine, September 2019 Art & Culture Issue, Paul Hanninen
VIE Magazine - August 2019 - The Architecture and Design Issue
VIE Magazine - July 2019 - The Artist Issue
VIE Magazine - June 2019 - Fashion Edit
VIE Magazine - May 2019 - Culinary Issue
VIE Magazine - April 2019 - The Health & Wellness Issue
VIE Magazine - Special Entertainment Edition - March 2019
VIE Magazine February 2019 Luxury Homes & Technology Issue with Robbie Antonio of Revolution Precrafted
VIE Magazine - January 2019 - Southern Sophisticate Issue Cover
VIE Magazine - Special Anniversary Travel Edition - December 2018
VIE Magazine - The Goodness Issue - November 2018
VIE Magazine - The Art & Culture Issue - October 2018
VIE Magazine - Home & Garden Issue - September 2018
VIE Magazine - August 2018 Animal Issue
VIE Magazine - July 2018 Architecture & Design Issue - Subscribe to the magazine!
VIE Magazine - June 2018 Travel & Tech Issue
VIE Magazine - May 2018 Couture Issue
VIE Magazine - The Culinary Issue - April 2018 Cover - Chef James Briscione and Brooke Parkhurst
VIE Magazine - The Entertainers Issue - March 2018
VIE Magazine - February 2018 Destination Travel Issue
VIE Magazine - January 2018 Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine, The Sophisticate Issue, December 2017
VIE Magazine - November 2017 Art & Culture Issue
VIE Magazine - October 2017 Home & Garden Issue
VIE Magazine | September 2017 | The Stories and Storytellers Issue
VIE Magazine - The Adventure Issue - August 2017
VIE Magazine - July 2017 - Art & Artist Issue
VIE Magazine - The Voyager Issue - June 2017
VIE magazine 2017 March-April Cover South Walton Fashion Week
VIE Magazine - January/February 2017 - The Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine - Nov/Dec 2016 The Sophisticate Issue
christian siriano vie magazine september october 2016 vie magazine
the modern minimalist issue
the culinary and couture issue march april 2016 vie magazine
the voyager issue alys beach vie magazine january february 2016
cultural issue vie magazine november december 2015
home and garden issue vie magazine september october 2015
the art and style issue vie magazine july august 2015
the wedding issue 2015 May June vie magazine
the food and fashion issue vie magazine march april 2015
the travel issue vie magazine january february 2015
the music issue vie magazine 2014 november december
The Animal Issue vie magazine september october 2014
the home and garden issue vie magazine july august 2014
the wedding issue vie magazine may june 2014
emeril lagasse food and fashion vie magazine
the men's issue january february 2014
the music issue november december 2013 vie magazine
the home and garden issue 2013 october september
the wedding issue vie magazine july august 2013
the artist issue may june 2013 vie magazine
the food and fashion issue march april 2013
the men's issue january february 2013 vie magazine
The Holiday Issue
the love issue july august 2012
the all american summer may june 2012
the entertainment issue march april 2012
the fashion issue vie magazine winter 2011
the home and garden issue vie magazine fall 2011
the anniversary edition vie magazine summer 2011
the wedding issue vie magazine spring 2011
vie magazine the holiday issue 2010 Dec
vintage swimsuits vie magazine 2010 Fall
judith march designer vie magazine summer 2010
wedding giveaway vie magazine spring 2010
holiday gift guide vie magazine winter 2009
emarketing explosion vie magazine fall 2009
tribute to mother's day vie magazine summer 2009
james and robert redford vie magazine spring 2009
zz top vie magazine fall winter 2008
project dreams vie magazine new york fashion week
Sign-up for VIEmail

Sign up for VIEmail