I drove to Belleek Pottery along A46, Lough Shore Road. It was a stunningly beautiful drive. This is where I saw the most adorable thatched house on my trip.
Two lakes make up Lough Erne. They are really wide areas in the River Erne as it flows into the Atlantic. I stayed somewhere right on the lake somewhere near Enniskillen.
Nearby, a limestone escarpment, the Cliffs of Magho overlook Lower Lough Erne.
Belleek Pottery started in 1849. It was a Famine Scheme. Somehow “scheme” has gotten to mean something bad, but it really just means “a large-scale systematic plan or arrangement for attaining some particular object or putting a particular idea into effect.” During the Great Famine, many people tried various plans to improve conditions.
When John Caldwell Bloomfield inherited the Castle Caldwell estate, he tried many businesses to provide alternate employment for his tenants during the potato famine. He operated an eel fishery, a steam ship, mines, factories, a cement works, a brick works and a boot and shoe factory. He backed various other cottage industries. Like many estates at that time, he faced bankruptcy. Bloomfield was an amateur mineralogist and his land was rich in minerals. He found partners and set up a pottery in 1858. They had a rail line built to ship in coal and ship out pottery. In 1863, the Belleek Pottery introduced the Parian porcelain they are known for.
Belleek Pottery is best known for Parian porcelain, also called Statuary Porcelain. Parian is fine-textured, white biscuit porcelain with the look of marble. It has a higher proportion of feldspar, which gives the finished product a more vitrified finish. That means it is very very smooth, with almost a glass-like surface.
This is the only photo I have at Belleek Pottery. The bathroom.