Belleek Pottery celebrates 160 years with memorable photographic exhibition

Michael Daly

Reporter:

Michael Daly

Email:

michael.daly@donegaldemocrat.com

Belleek Pottery celebrates 160 years with memorable photographic exhibition

Pat Keown the longest serving member (47 years) at Belleek Potter cuts the tape to open the photographic exhibition.

Belleek Pottery celebrated 160 years not out in appropriate style at a special function at the world famous factory on Friday.

To remember the 160th day of the 160th year, the Pottery commissioned 160 very special photographs of some of the many people from wide surrounding areas that made Belleek into a world brand.

These photographs of former and current workers are a memorable collage of those who made their mark on the grey picture postcard building on the Banks of the Erne.

And a crowd of around 400, including many visitors, joined in the special day for the Pottery that is one of the top ten tourist attractions in Northern Ireland.

Pottery Manager John Maguire said: “Today is a very special day for us -the 160th day of our 160th Anniversary year - and we thought it was a perfect opportunity to invite you to the Pottery for one of our red letter days.

“This morning we are unveiling a very special addition to our Visitor’s Centre display - a wall of 160 photographs from across 160 years. The photographs document the life and times, not only of Belleek Pottery but of the people living and working in this corner of Fermanagh.

“While the clothes and the hairstyles have certainly rung the changes over 160 years, it is remarkable to see how much our production process today remains the same as it was over the decades.”

He added: “Belleek has always been a business founded on the creativity and hand craftsmanship of its workforce and when you get a chance to study the photographs you will see that little has changed in our mould, basket ware and painting department.

“As many of you will know already, Belleek Pottery was established in 1857 largely as a result of the enthusiasm and commitment of local landowner John Caldwell Bloomfield, to provide employment for the local people in the wake of the Famine.

“That a small rural Pottery in the West of Ireland could go to become the toast of Royal and high society in London by later Victorian times I testament to the skill and attention to detail of those early craftsmen.

“Many, many generations later, I am delighted to say, that skill and attention to detail remain the byword for Belleek at home and abroad.”