2017 is a very special year for Belleek Fine China as it celebrates a whopping 160 years in business. We at Blarney Woollen Mills are thrilled to celebrate this momentous occasion with our friends in Fermanagh!  

Belleek is a busy market town which straddles the border between the County Donegal (in the Republic) and County Fermanagh (in Northern Ireland). Despite its small size, this village has become world-renowned for its beautiful and unique china.

Humble Origins

Image result for belleek logo
Belleek Crest

Belleek Pottery was established in 1857 and is one of Northern Ireland’s oldest potteries. Pottery-making in the area took off during the height of the potato famine in 1849. Upon inheriting his father’s estate the local landowner, John Caldwell Bloomfield, was eager to create jobs for his tenants who were suffering greatly.

Bloomfield dabbled in geology and ordered for a geological survey of his land which revealed that the region was in fact rich in minerals. Following this discovery, in 1858 he went about setting up a pottery business and this finally reached completion in 1863.

By 1865, Belleek was doing so well that it was able to expand its markets to include  Australia, Canada, England, and the United States. It had gained a great following and prestige with a well-tp-do customer base including the likes of nobility, the Prince of Wales and even Queen Victoria herself!

Belleek China is handcrafted in Ireland
Belleek China is handcrafted in Ireland

What Sets Belleek China Apart?

Handcrafted in Ireland, Belleek is the oldest craft pottery in Ireland. Each piece of fine parian china, is a truly original piece of Irish Craftsmanship, made using materials and techniques handed down through generations. No two pieces are ever the same. Every handle, flower and brush stroke is skilfully applied by hand to create the look and feel that is uniquely Irish Belleek.

Each piece of Belleek passes through 16 pairs of hands from Design to the finished piece. The process is meticulous and any piece with even the slightest flaw is destroyed.

The 2017 Belleek Archive Collection

In celebration of this momentous milestone, the designers at Belleek have raided the archives for key pieces that reflect the changing taste and styles during its long history. This special collection comprises 16 pieces, each representing a decade in Belleek’s rich heritage. Each item is a numbered Limited Edition with its own backstamp, a ‘must have’ for every Belleek Collector!  This truly special collection represents the wide range of design, skill and craftsmanship that has so flourished in Belleek over the past 160 years

Shop the Belleek Archive Collection

Posted by:Molly

Hi there! I'm a Digital Marketing Specialist here at Blarney Woollen Mills. I love learning all about Irish culture and history, and sharing everything I've learnt through our blog!