Enniskillen.com

Enniskillen - The Only Island Town!

Find Your Perfect Enniskillen Staycation!

Belleek Pottery

Where Elegance Meets Craftsmanship in County Fermanagh

Nestled in the scenic landscapes of County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland, Belleek Pottery is a name synonymous with craftsmanship, artistry, and timeless elegance. This renowned pottery manufacturer, dating back to the mid-19th century, has garnered international acclaim for its exquisite porcelain creations, each a testament to the rich heritage and intricate skills of its artisans.

Belleek Pottery Ltd is a porcelain company that began trading in 1887 as the Belleek Pottery Works Company Ltd in Belleek, County Fermanagh, in what was to become Northern Ireland. The factory produces porcelain that is characterised by its thinness, slightly iridescent surface and that the body is formulated with a significant proportion of frit.

Pottery in the region began around 1849, after John Caldwell Bloomfield inherited his father’s estate.[2] Seeking to provide employment for his tenants, who had been affected by the Irish potato famine and, being an amateur mineralogist, he ordered a geological survey of his land. On finding that the area was rich in minerals, Bloomfield went into partnership with London architect Robert Williams Armstrong and Dublin merchant David McBirney. In setting up a pottery business, Bloomfield managed to get a railway line built to Belleek so that coal could be delivered with which to fire kilns.

A Legacy of Craftsmanship

Belleek Pottery’s story began in 1857 when John Caldwell Bloomfield, a prominent landowner in the region, sought to provide employment opportunities for the local community during a period of economic hardship. He established the pottery in the village of Belleek, and it has continued to thrive for over a century and a half.

Porcelain Perfection

Belleek’s signature product is its delicate, translucent porcelain. Renowned for its unique ivory-like appearance, each piece of Belleek pottery is characterized by its fine, almost ethereal quality. This is achieved through a blend of craftsmanship and innovation, including the use of locally sourced materials and a secret glaze recipe closely guarded by Belleek’s artisans.

Distinctive Designs

Belleek’s porcelain is celebrated for its distinctive designs, each influenced by the beauty of the surrounding landscapes and the rich history of Ireland. The iconic Belleek Basket, featuring a lattice pattern adorned with delicate flowers and hand-painted shamrocks, is one of the most beloved designs. Additionally, pieces inspired by Celtic and Irish mythology, as well as the natural world, adorn the extensive Belleek catalog.

Collectors’ Paradise

Belleek pottery has earned a dedicated following of collectors worldwide. The pottery’s limited-edition and commemorative pieces have become highly sought after, often passed down through generations. Each Belleek piece tells a story, capturing a slice of Irish culture and history in its elegant lines and intricate patterns.

Visiting Belleek Pottery

For those eager to explore the magic of Belleek Pottery, the Visitor Centre in Belleek offers guided tours of the pottery’s production process. Visitors can observe skilled artisans at work, shaping, firing, and hand-painting these exquisite pieces. The visitor center also includes a museum that provides a deeper understanding of the company’s history, its historical relevance, and its place in Irish culture.

The Craft Shop

The Belleek Pottery Craft Shop is a treasure trove for those wishing to take home a piece of this artistic legacy. Here, visitors can purchase an array of porcelain products, from traditional tableware to intricate figurines and collectible items. The Craft Shop also showcases Belleek’s contemporary designs, ensuring that the company remains a dynamic and evolving force in the world of porcelain craftsmanship.

Belleek’s Global Appeal

Belleek’s appeal extends far beyond the rolling hills of Fermanagh. Its exquisite porcelain has found homes in royal palaces, embassies, and the collections of discerning individuals around the world. The international recognition of Belleek Pottery is a testament to the quality and beauty of each piece produced.

Belleek Pottery stands as a true jewel in the cultural crown of County Fermanagh. Its legacy of craftsmanship, innovative designs, and exquisite porcelain creations have earned it a special place in the hearts of collectors and art enthusiasts. For those fortunate enough to visit the Visitor Centre in Belleek, it’s a journey into the heart of Ireland’s artisanal traditions and a chance to witness the enduring magic of Belleek Pottery.

Building started on the pottery in 1858. Initially starting with domestic products, it wasn’t until 1863 that small amounts of the Parian porcelain for which Belleek is famous for to this day, was successfully produced. By 1865, the prestige of the company had increased enough that its market included Ireland, England, the United States, Canada and Australia, and clients included the Prince of Wales, Queen Victoria and the nobility.

BELLEEK POTTERY LTD

Monthly Newsletter

Join our email newsletter for the town of Enniskillen and stay up-to-date on everything tourism-related! You'll receive exclusive special offers, exciting updates and so much more. Don't miss out on all the fun - sign up now!