Belleek Pottery

Belleek, Northern Ireland, is a pretty, welcoming town near the Irish border. It has a wide main street, and in the September we visited its lampposts were hung with flowering baskets.

We stopped at Belleek Pottery, Ltd. (Belleek, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland; phone +44 [0] 28 6865 9300 or visit, for a guided factory tour. The factory was established in 1857 because of the quality and quantity of the local clay.

The name Belleek is applied only to first-quality parian china. Each piece is 100% handmade, and any item that is not perfect is destroyed. The artisans take years to acquire skills which have been passed down from generation to generation.

We watched a young woman painstakingly shape petals and leaves to create delicate flowers. We saw an artist paint intricate designs on a finely turned vase.

Following our tour we sipped tea from delicate china cups, then visited the company showroom with its wide selection of products that can be shipped home.

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