Thursday 19th April 2018 - Thursday 31st May 2018

The innovative career of 20th century Irish Fashion Designer Sybil Connolly

View the online exhibition here.

The Hunt Museum has chosen some of its collection of Sybil Connolly clothes, sketchbooks, swatches, glass and ceramics to explore the trailblazing design career of Sybil Connolly. Her fame outside of Ireland is shown in the magazines of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar and her entrepreneurial spirit was ground-breaking for the period.

Chair of the Hunt Museum Friends, Kathleen O’Sullivan, who wrote her MA thesis on Sybil Connolly’s impact on the Irish Fashion Industry and currently works as Supervisor of Ladies Fashion at Shaw’s Department Store, Limerick says:

“ Sybil Connolly was a fashion designer who wanted to break the mould, persuading the sisters of the Order of St. let her dye their lace, pink instead of the regulation black or white. She is an amazing example of a woman working in 1950’s Ireland, pushing the boundaries of creativity and of the expectations of a woman’s role in the workplace and society.”

Sybil Connolly was a Dublin based fashion designer, renowned for creating haute couture from Irish textiles. She used materials such as finely pleated handkerchief linen, delicate Carrickmacross lace and durable Irish tweed to create designs inspired by Irish people, traditions and culture.

Dubbed by the media as “ Dublin’s Dior”, Sybil Connolly was a pioneering designer and one of the first Irish fashion designers to have international success. She surprised and delighted the international fashion world with her creations, and worked with stores such as Tiffany & Co, Bloomingdales and Lord and Taylor, in New York.  Famous clients included Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Adele Astaire and Mrs. Gregory Peck. Later in her career, she reinvented herself, turning her attention to interior and garden design, creating wallpapers, fabrics, glass and ceramics for companies such as Tipperary Crystal.

The medium of Fashion makes art, design and science accessible for everyone.  Making it available online means new audiences can experience and learn in their own online spaces.  In parallel with the opening of ”Sybil” as a physical exhibition on April 19th,  the Online Exhibitions launches on May 24th, an online exhibition of her work and story.  We encourage people to participate via #SybilInLimerick and actively add to our tumlbr and Pinterest boards about her and her work.  Keep an eye on our website for news on our Sybil related education workshops, lectures, and very excitingly the first Wikipedia Editathon in Limerick.

Exhibition open to the public from April 19th– May 31st 2018, Mon-Sat 10 am – 5 pm, Sun 2-5pm

For Further information: Naomi O’Nolan, Head of Collections and Exhibitions, The Hunt Museum, Limerick. Tel. 061 490082 email:

Editors Note:


The Hunt Museum

The Hunt Museum exhibits one of Ireland’s greatest private collections of Art and Antiquities, dating from the Neolithic Period to the 20th century. Generously donated by John and Gertrude Hunt to the people of Ireland, this diverse collection is now housed in Limerick’s 18th Century Palladian style building, formerly The Custom House.

The Sybil Connolly Collection

Sybil Connolly and Gertrude Hunt were great friends and three wonderful maquettes Connolly made for clients showing her styles form part of the Hunt Collection. Her archive in the msueum was donated by John Connolly and includes garments, materials, scrap books and swatches, ceramics and glass.  Many other items have been donated privately over the last twenty years including a large number of design sketches.






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