Hannah Hats of Donegal Ltd
A Little piece of Luxury from Donegal
In 1921 a 16-year-old boy called David Hanna cycled from Belfast to Donegal, a distance of one hundred and nine miles, for a job interview and never had to cycle back.
He was set on as an apprentice, to a Mr McDaid, as a tailor making gentlemen’s suits.
For centuries Donegal has been producing tweed from local materials.
Originally hand woven, by the 1950’s/60’s it was being produced by machine. By the end of the eighteenth century, The Royal Linen Manufacturers of Ulster had distributed around 6,000 flax spinning wheels and 60 looms to the local households.
Although the weavers of Donegal could weave several different tweeds, which included the traditional herringbone and check patterns, they began to produce their own distinct Donegal pattern of a plain-weave cloth of differently coloured warp and weft, with small pieces of various coloured yarns woven in at irregular intervals, which produced a heather effect.
When he had only been there a year David’s Master Mr McDaid died. For the next two years McDaid’s sons ran the business but without any interest.
In 1924 at the age of just 19 David Hanna took the business over.
After forty years of making bespoke, tailored clothing David realised that the demand for tailored clothing was waning. It was time to diversify into hat making.
His first hat took four and a half hours to make and was given the name ‘Hannah Hat’ style number 84. Hannah Hats had begun.
Carrying on the age-old tradition are David Hanna’s family. In 1986 John Hanna took over and changed the name from David Hanna and Son’s to Hanna Hats of Donegal.
Knowing that at the heart of everything they create is the quality and craftmanship of David Hanna, the production process has stayed, more or less, the same and the hats are still manufactured in Donegal.
The process of making a hat begins with using the finest Irish tweed, from pure new wool which is woven exclusively for the company.
The cloth is then rolled out onto the bench ready for the highly skilled cutter to get to work on it.
Tradition is at the heart of the hat making process and using chalk and a measuring tape the cloth is measured. The scissors used are the same stye as the ones used by David to make his first hat.
A variety of different colours and patterns of tweed are cut into squares and each employee selects a different combination ensuring that no two patchworks are ever the same. Making each item a special one-off piece and truly unique.
This is John Hanna adding the finishing touch to one of the hats by steaming it with a handheld steamer.
Finally, the Hannah Hat label is attached.
Each Hanna Hat is a product of the company’s own original design and inspired by the richness of the countryside and landscapes found around Donegal carrying in every fibre an Irish Heritage steeped in history and craftmanship.
A third-generation company keeping the legacy of their father and grandfather alive and producing a little piece of luxury from Donegal.