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Belleek worth a visit?

I see a lot of recommendations for the crystal factory in Waterford, but not so much for Belleek china. When I was a kid we had a few lovely Belleek pieces brought out just for company dinners, so I've always had happy associations with Belleek.

Is it worth putting Belleek on the itinerary if we're planning to be in the northwest of Ireland?

Posted by
1980 posts

Haven't been there, but it's located in one our favorite parts of Ireland. Would be a short drive from either Sligo or Donegal, so if you're going to be in the area anyway, why not?

Posted by
3112 posts

This might be worth a visit . As best as I can tell , Belleek is still made at the Irish location , unlike Staffordshire Bone ,where most of the original " potteries " are long gone , either out of business or subsumed by Asian makers . My wife and I have a collection of European porcelain which includes several Belleek pieces from the late seventies . We have visited Augarten , in Vienna and Meissen , near Dresden , and found the manufactories interesting . Other fascinating collections are The Zwinger in Dresden and The Nymphenburg Collection in the palace of that name in Munich .

Posted by
274 posts

I dropped my husband off at the Donegal Golf Club then popped into NI to Belleek. It was just ok IMHO. If you’re already close by maybe worth a stop but not worth going out of the way. Not much else in the little town to see either.

Posted by
3112 posts
Posted by
1275 posts

We stopped there on a bus tour in 2006, I enjoyed it and picked up a few goodies in the gift shop. As the London arrests had just happened and we knew we would be allowed no hand luggage on the trip home, I think that's the only time I have ever paid a gift shop to mail my stuff home.... it arrived w no problem

Posted by
832 posts

Hello from Wisconsin,

To be honest, it has been many years since my wife and stopped to see the place. Have you ever been to a large car dealer's new car lot? Did you see what appeared to be 20 identical testosterone cars all the same color parked side by side ready to be sold? And think, "that took the magic away from that potential mid-life crisis cure."

Well, all those 'special' Belleek porcelains you see one at a time in a jewelry shop here in the States, each a masterpiece. Well, what will knock you over is to see dozens and dozens of these "one of a kind" items on the shelves awaiting the next step in the production process. Waterford still had a real specialness even after I visited that place. But that was before it was sold to, well many different organization, but now Fiskars. Belleek's specialness disappeared after the visit.

We did walk away with smiles on our faces. #1. While we visited they were holding a workers' union meeting in their wonderful Irish voices. #2. They were carrying a dozen pieces at a time up a stair case on a wood platter much like a waitress with food.

Beautiful territory surrounding it. But I would spend my time going to Queen Meadhbh's (Maeve) Grave outside of Sligo. My feminist wife came down off that rock pile looking like Sigourney Weaver in Ghost Busters after the electrical storm.

wayne iNWI

Posted by
2774 posts

Thanks for all of these comments! Wayne from Wisconsin, I'm glad to know you still came away smiling. I have watched videos of the Belleek factory so I know what you mean about masses of identical items lined up.

And I appreciate the recommendation to go see Queen Meadhbh's (Maeve) Grave outside of Sligo. If we manage to make this trip happen, we'll be in Sligo for sure as there is a family connection with Tobercurry (Tubbercurry). Interesting that Wikipedia mentions Saint Attracta's Community School; a great-grandmother's first name was Attracta.

Posted by
108 posts

the bridge in front of the pottery is the border between the UK and Ireland if you fancy some border hopping !