What is a Traditional Irish Tweed Flat Cap and How to Identify it?

The traditional Irish tweed flat cap is an iconic headwear worn by Irish men for centuries. They have a wide brimmed crown and typically have an embroidered band at the front with the wearer’s initials on it.

Allegedly, these caps came in to prominence after a law was passed in 1571. At the time, Ireland was under British rule and the government wanted to boost the woolen trade. So, in a very well thought-out move, they proclaimed that woolen caps must be worn.

I’m sure we’re all grateful that this law was short-lived and is no longer enforced, and that the caps are more popular than ever.


What was the purpose of flat caps?

Flat caps are great for keeping your head warm in the cool Irish winters. The woolen material helped to defend against the cold and was locally sourced, so it was easy to access.

The peak traditionally helped to keep the sun out of your eyes when working in the fields or the bog. Like old-timey sun glasses.

Outside of their original, functional purpose, Irish flat caps have enjoyed a continued prominence across the world. They have since been made iconic in photos and films for looking good.


What are the materials used in a flat cap?

The traditional flat cap was made from Tweed, a rough woven fabric usually made from wool. The fibers can be woven using a plain weave or twill weaves.

This was an ideal solution for the cold and wet climate that is an Irish winter. Tweed is an extremely warm, comfortable and hard-wearing fabric that is thick and stiff.

The wool also makes it resistant to water, meaning that you can wear it in the rain or snow without having to worry about getting wet.


What are the available styles of flat cap?

Flat caps come in different styles and colors. Typically, Irish caps feature the classic tweed weaving with red lining, all black or with an all-red lining.

There are also other variations of these caps coming from Scotland and England including the bowler, derby, slouchy or ivy cut shapes.

Irish made flat caps are double-sided and have a rolled brim. They are mostly made in Donegal but can also be found in Belfast and Dublin.


Modern uses of the traditional Irish Flat Cap

As time has moved on, so too has the uses and reasons to wear a flat cap. Nowadays, they are often worn in casual settings and can be commonly seen on the streets of Ireland, the US, Canada and Germany.

They’ve also seen a surge in popularity for use at formal occasions including weddings, funerals, christenings and communions.

If you’d like to own your very own traditional Irish tweed flat cap, check out our selection on grandfathershirt.com.

Or contact us to see what other options we have available.

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