I hope you all had a good week. So this week I’m going to end my series on Irish craft traditions with a look at Irish pottery-most particularly Belleek Pottery. Belleek is one of our best-loved makers here at The Irish Store. A truly iconic Irish brand.
The Neolithic period (4,500 to 2,500 B.C.) gave us our first pieces of pottery. These would have been basic handmade pots with no decoration, fired in pits and bonfires. The Normans introduced the potter’s wheel to Ireland in the 13th century. Today the craft of Irish pottery is more popular than ever. Artisan potters are present in every corner of Ireland producing sought-after pieces of the highest standards.
So let’s find out a little more about the legend that is Belleek.
Established in 1857, Belleek Pottery stands on the banks of the River Erne in County Fermanagh. In 1849, John Caldwell Bloomfield inherited his father’s estate in Belleek, Co Fermanagh. Tenants of the estate had been severely affected by the ravages of the famine so John was determined to find a way to provide his tenants with gainful employment. The land was rich in minerals and suitable for the production of pottery. Building began in 1858 and while the first products were largely domestic, high-end Parian porcelain pieces appeared in 1863 and one of their most noteworthy customers was Queen Victoria. The prestige of the company quickly grew and the rest is history.
Since then, Belleek has become one of Ireland’s most recognizable brands and an icon in the history of Irish pottery. Belleek produces 100,000 pieces of pottery each year. Each piece is meticulously crafted, passing through no less than 16 pairs of hands until it reaches its final perfect form.
Lulu’s Top Irish Pottery Pieces by Belleek
1.Belleek Himself & Herself Mugs
Our best-selling Irish pottery gift is this gorgeous pair of Belleek mugs. Each mug is beautifully crafted from the finest Parian china while Belleek’s signature hand-painted shamrocks adorn each mug. The words “Himself” and “Herself” appear in quintessentially Irish green. The basketweave design is classic Belleek. This design first appeared in the 1880s and remains just as popular today. The perfect gift for your favourite couple.
2. Belleek Irish Blessing Plate
This classic Irish blessing dates back to ancient Celtic times and has been passed down through generations. This beautiful hand-painted Irish pottery plate features this age-old Irish prayer in delicate Celtic lettering. A lone walker and his dog wander through stone-walled fields as they pass by a thatched cottage and the churchyard. A quintessentially Irish gift for the home. Hand-painted shamrocks adorn the edges. A classic Belleek piece.
3. Belleek Celtic High Cross
The Celtic cross is an iconic symbol of ancient Ireland. Legend has it that St Patrick saw a pagan standing stone imprinted with a circle, the symbol of the moon goddess. He is said to have blessed the stone, marking it with a Latin cross, thus creating the first Celtic cross. Ancient stone versions of this Celtic symbol are dotted all over the Irish countryside. This stunning re-creation by the master craftspeople at Belleek is beautifully detailed and is adorned with 3 hands painted shamrocks. So why not treat someone special to the perfect gift from Ireland.
4. Belleek Kylemore Vase
The Kylemore Collection by Belleek takes its name from the stunning 19th century Kylemore Abbey in the heart of Connemara in the west of Ireland. The Kylemore vase displays the classic Belleek basketweave design in stunning detail while hand-painted shamrocks provide a beautiful finish. The classic Irish gift for any home.
5. Belleek Tara Frame
Frame those treasured moments in true Irish style with this beautiful Irish pottery photo frame from Belleek. From their classic Tara Collection. The collection takes its name from the ancient seat of Ireland’s High Kings in County Meath. It features embossed Celtic knot designs and exquisite hand-painted details in green and gold.
Well, that’s only a tiny taster of our gorgeous selection of Belleek Irish pottery so why not start or add to your collection today. There’s never been a better time to shop as we’re offering 20% off everything for this weekend only! Just use the code SPRING20 at the checkout.
Thanks for dropping by!
Slán go fóill!