Culture Northern Ireland
MusicLiteratureFilm & TVSportHeritageVisual ArtsPerforming ArtsMedia
Search ADVANCED SEARCH
Belfast
Derry
County Antrim
County Armagh
County Down
County Derry
County Fermanagh
County Tyrone
CONTACT AREA
FAQ
SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
SUBMIT A LINK
FEEDBACK
MAKE CNI YOUR HOMEPAGE
CNI LINKS
SITEMAP
NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE
RSS Feeds
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon SIGN UP FOR OUR E-NEWSLETTER
BrowseAloud
The Nerve Centre
Linen Hall Library
Arts Council of Northern Ireland
Department of Culture Arts and Leisure
More Areas
Belleek

Potted history:
A royal castle was built at Caol Uisce near Belleek at the entrace to Lower Lough Erne by Gilbert Costello in 1212. Belleek village in its present layout was founded on the Blennerhassett estate during the Plantation of Ulster in the early 1600s. The village straddles the border with Donegal, the majority of Belleek being in Fermanagh, but a small part is in the Republic. This situation leads to a particularly busy market, with cross-border shoppers eager to exploit exchange rates and differing tax regimes. The internationally renowned Belleek Pottery which is manufactured in the village is currently owned by American millionaire, George Moore.

The Belleek pottery was founded in 1857 by John Caldwell Bloomfield who declared that any piece with the slightest flaw would be destroyed and this is still the case today. The first examples of this fine Parian china were made using kaolin and felspar deposits found in the lands surrounding Castle Caldwell. With the establishment of the pottery new houses were built for workers in Rathmore Terrace and in Hawthorn Terrace. The village developed further with the founding of a cooperative creamery in 1899, a police station, a courthouse, post office and dispensary.

The River Erne at the point where the fifty mile Erne waterway narrowed on its final journey toward the sea, was a dramatic river with spectacular waterfalls, and wonderful fishing for salmon and trout. Then hydro electric stations were built in the 1950s and one day the river stopped when a newly constructed dam at Cliff backed up the river waters and the raging waterfalls with their foam and cascades and constant noise suddenly were no more. The river had become a reservoir and the salmon never leapt again.

The Enniskillen to Bundoran railway line ran through Belleek until 1966.

A little local knowledge:

  • A stained glass window featuring a potter’s hands is located above the altar in St. Patrick`s Roman Catholic church. This was built in 1903 at a cost of £2000.  
  • Belleek is a popular spot with fishermen, and according to a local anecdote it is possible, with a strong cast, to hook a fish in Donegal and land it in Fermanagh!

    Do not miss:
  • Belleek Pottery Visitors Centre
  • The Thatch teashop
  • Belleek Traditional Music Festival - live sessions in Cleary`s bar and the Carlton hotel

    More from CultureNorthernIreland:
    The Air War 11