Posted by: mdmusingsie | June 12, 2022

Irish Crystal

When you think of Irish Crystal, the vast majority of people will think of Waterford Crystal. It’s one of the oldest in the country and has been through many closures, restarts, and changes.

There used to be many other crystal factories in Ireland, many of them spin-offs from Waterford. Some still survive today, though not all of the actual crystal is manufactured in Ireland, including Waterford who only make specialized, high-end pieces in the country.

Galway Crystal started around 1967 and, like Waterford, has had it’s fits and starts. It was purchased by Belleek (the pottery people) in 1997.  Another well known name around Ireland is Tipperary Crystal who are also still in businesses after forty years.

Tyrone was a contemporary of Waterford, back in the early days, and went through a number of transitions, but sadly closed in 2010. 

Cavan crystal is another company that has fallen by the wayside. I recently stayed at the Cavan Crystal Hotel which incorporates the former crystal showroom. It’s a lovely hotel with amazing staff. I booked a suite so I could do some concentrated writing without feeling claustrophobic and was treated to a gorgeous four-poster bed with separate dining area. One of the things I found most interesting was the thickness of the outer walls – over 3 feet thick (one 10 ½” notebook, 2 sheets of A4 lengthwise and a piece of A4 width-wise).  It would be quite the challenge to open those windows!

People no longer have display cabinets full of treasures like crystal and China, so companies have had to adapt their product lines to stay in business.

Most of these company keep it very tight lipped when it comes to stating where their pieces are actually produced. It certainly isn’t broadcast on their websites. Waterford does admit the practice during the factory tour.

If you’re looking for crystal actually made in Ireland, I did find a few companies, Connemara Celtic Crystal, Cork Crystal, and Dingle Crystal who actually make most or all of their pieces on the island. They don’t have massive stock or selection, but they are hand crafted pieces made in Ireland.

I own two pieces of Waterford Crystal, both were gifts. I also own Galway Crystal as well as a gorgeous vase from Connemara Celtic Crystal that I bought as my “welcome to Ireland” gift when I moved here.  

When possible and practical, I like to give gifts from Irish companies and have given gifts of Galway and Tipperary crystal to friends and family. Based on my research for this post, I now have a few more places I can look for Irish made gifts.

Sources:

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/cracks-emerge-in-crystal-industry-1.693931
https://www.dochara.com/info/things-to-buy/the-story-of-irish-crystal/
https://www.connemaracelticcrystal.com/
https://www.cavancrystalhotel.com/
https://www.dinglecrystal.ie/
https://www.cavancrystalhotel.com/

Responses

  1. Thanks for this info, Dawn. Dale and I just mentioned you to my brother and sister-in-law yesterday when they said that a couple of their friends recently moved to Ireland! Take good care. Enjoy writing and travels!

  2. that room is awesome and thanks for the history enlightenment!!


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