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Did You Know? Belleek Pottery – Northern Ireland

Ireland Travel Broker

Belleek Pottery Ltd. is a porcelain company that began trading in 1884 as the Belleek Pottery Works Company Ltd in Belleek, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Pottery in the region began around 1849, when John Bloomfield had discovered that the land that he had recently inherited from his father was rich in minerals and hoping to provide employment for his tenants who had been affected by the Irish potato famine, he went into partnership with London architect Robert Williams Armstrong and Dublin merchant David McBirney to set up a pottery business.

Bloomfield managed to get a railway line built to Belleek so that coal could be delivered to fire the factory’s kilns. They began making domestic pottery products in 1858. The Parian porcelain that the Belleek Factory is famous for today was successfully produced in small amounts by 1863 that small amounts. By 1865, the reputation of Belleek had increased enough that its market grew to include Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, and the United States, and customers included the Prince of Wales and Queen Victoria.

However, by 1884 the original owners had all died so a local group of investors, aware of the importance of the factory, purchased it and named it Belleek Pottery Works Company. Frederick Slater, a Master Craftsman, moved from England to Belleek in 1893 and by 1920 high-quality porcelain became the cornerstone of the company. During the WWI and WWII the company struggled concentrated on producing earthenware. Belleek Pottery stopped production of earthenware after WWII. It changed from using coal-fired kilns to electric-powered kilns beginning in 1952.

Dundalk-born, US-based George G. Moore took ownership of the company in 1990 but it is still run locally by four directors. Belleek Pottery has expanded and has acquired other companies such as Galway Crystal, Aynsley China and Donegal Parian China.

Tour Host, Jo-Anne Tinlin, and her mixed group will be visiting Belleek Pottery Factory in July 2019 on The Travel Broker's "Exploring Ireland Coast to Coast" tour. Everyone is welcome. https://www.thetravelbroker.ca/tours/tour/107