The House of Waterford Crystal

Spread the love

Waterford has produced crystal since 1783. A business started by George and William Penrose became world famous for the quality of the fine flint glass.

Waterford Crystal. Photo Copyright - TR001 CC3
The business closed in 1851 but 96 years later, Waterford’s reputation as a crystal manufacturer was still so strong that Czech immigrant Charles Bacik chose the city to set up his own glass works. It went on to be hugely successful and re-established Waterford as one of the world’s leading centres for crystal production.

The current factory melts 750 tonnes of crystal every year and tourists can visit and see products being made.

Take a tour of the factory

A tour of the factory takes in a number of areas so visitors can see the various steps it takes to create the finished product. The Mould Room is where they build the wooden moulds that are used to shape the crystal. Waterford Crystal is one of the few companies in the world that still make moulds.

Glass blower. Photo Copyright - TR001 CC3

Glass blower

The moulds rarely last longer than a fortnight because of the heat of the crystal. The next part of the tour is the blowing department. The glass blowers shape the molten crystal in a 1300C furnace. It is dark, noisy and extremely hot. It is here that the skilful craftsmen create the elegant crystals.

The crystal then goes through its first quality inspection. If it doesn’t meet the standards it is smashed up and sent back to be re-melted. The crystals that make it past the quality control go to be hand marked. Visitors can see skilled cutters adding patterns to the crystals.

Skilled cutters train for eight years

Glass cutter. Photo Copyright - Hunter Khan

Glass cutter

This is followed by the cutting department where the Master Cutter cuts the crystals. It is here that the crystals get their clear and sparkling cut that Waterford Crystal is famous for. The cutters have to train for at least eight years before they master their craft.

The final part of the tour is the sculpting and engraving department. The sculptors are highly skilled and often take weeks or months to create a perfect piece from a solid block of crystal.

American Football AFCA National Championship Trophy. Photo Copyright - Nikonmadness cc3

American Football AFCA National Championship Trophy

The engraving of a piece can also take days to complete. The engraving becomes more prominent the deeper it has been cut into the crystal.

International sporting trophies

Waterford Crystal produces several international sporting trophies, most notably in golf. They provided the Irish Open Trophy and have also produced trophies for sports such as tennis, sailing and Formula One motor racing.

More Waterford Attractions

Visit Ireland More on Irish holidays

Tourist attractions in Ireland

The Blarney Stone
Bru na Boinne
Bunratty Castle
The Burren
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
The Cliffs of Moher
Croagh Patrick
Dingle Peninsula
Garnish Island
The Giant's Causeway
The Guinness Storehouse
Hill of Tara
Lakes of Killarney
The Peace Bridge
Ring of Kerry
Wild Atlantic Way
Personalised Celtic prints. Ireland Calling store

Irish cities


Tourism articles

TripAdvisor's top 10 destinations in Ireland for 2015
Top holiday destinations in Ireland - as voted by the Irish
Top holiday destinations in Ireland - as voted by tourists

Ireland's favourite heritage site
The most romantic city in Ireland
Hidden gems in Ireland

The top ten Irish beaches
Where would Irish people take overseas guests?
Tips for first time visitors to Ireland

What not to do when visiting Ireland
Ireland's top sacred pilgrimage sites
Eight reasons why Irish pubs are Ireland's top attractions

What do you like about Ireland?
Local Irish pubs number one attraction for tourists
Tourists happy with 'value for money' on visits to Ireland

Video - initiative to promote 'Ireland's Ancient East'
Ireland can boast the best 'cliff view' in the world
Most visited tourist attractions in Ireland in 2014?

Industry warned not to 'repeat the mistakes of the past'
Dublin 'favourite worldwide city' for young travellers
Which tourist attractions in Ireland made the Lonely Planet's ultimate guide?

Dublin is one of the world's top three cities say Lonely Planet
Ireland has three of the world's four friendliest cities


Copy Protected by Chetan's WP-Copyprotect.