Contemporary clothing for priests and nuns designed and made in Limerick.

Limerick firm Joseph Gerard Limited produces clothing for fashion conscious priests and nuns.

At the end of the nineteenth century, Limerick city was a major centre for the clothing industry. In 1882 entrepreneur Peter Tait set up one of the first mass production textile factories in Limerick. However since the 1950s, the clothing industry in Limerick has been in decline. 

Things are looking up for the rag trade as small firms are producing up-market products for niche clients. The Limerick firm Joseph Gerard Limited has found a lucrative corner of the market in the production of apparel for clergy.

Managing directing of Joseph Gerard Limited Joe Clancy also designs the outfits. In three years the firm has built up an extensive market for nuns’ habits in Ireland and Britain. 

Outfits for the clergy have modernised in style and in the materials used. The smartly dressed modern nun now opts for an easy fitting suit. This includes a short, two buttoned jacket and a shorter than usual skirt, with pleats at the front and back. The firm makes these suits in navy, beige and grey as well as the traditional black. 

The fashion conscious Benedictine monk now opts for something,

Cool, comfortable, lightweight, practical, but then the church must keep up with the times.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 8 September 1983. The reporter is Michael Walsh.