Irish linen has been called the “Fabric of Ireland.” Woven from flax fibers, linen constituted an important industry in Ireland during the 18th and 19th centuries.
As an incentive in 1796, the Irish Linen Board awarded spinning wheels to farmers growing flax. The list of recipients – known as the Spinning Wheel Survey or Flax Growers List – contains the names of 60,000 Irish flax growers. The award was based on the number of acres of flax planted, and the northern counties of Tyrone and Donegal received the largest numbers of spinning wheels.
A helpful article about the industry can be found in Ireland XO Insight: www.irelandxo.com/ireland-xo/news/ireland-xo-insight-flax-growers-list. Also included are links to both the 1911 census and the Flax Growers List.