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Established in 1857 Belleek Pottery holds a very special place in the cultural and commercial heritage of County Fermanagh. Nestling on the banks of the River Erne this imposing building is home to the world famous Belleek Fine Parian china and also to one of Irelands top five visitor attractions.
The building which, up until 1988, was used to produce Belleek has since been refurbished internally and features a museum, tearoom, video theatre and showroom.
Upon entering the Centre our guests will first see one of the oldest and most prestigious pieces of Belleek ever made. It is called the Belleek International Centre Piece and was displayed at the Paris Exhibition in the year 1900 where it was awarded its fourth gold medal. The International Centre Piece is believed to have been designed by Frederick Slater who came to Belleek in 1893.
It is reported to have taken him seven weeks to create the masterpiece. The creation stands 28 inches high and over 16 inches wide at its widest point.
The urn shaped vase is exquisitely decorated with flowers (believed to have been made by William Henshall) and Irish Harps and it rests on a scrolled base which also supports three Irish Wolfhounds. Behind the harps, and forming an integral part of the vase, is a beautiful example of pierced work which would have been popular on a number of early Belleek designs.
Each leaf, flower, harp and Irish Wolfhound was created by hand - even every bead and chain link which is is connected to the wolfhound was created and joined by hand.
The International Centre Piece takes centre stage in the Foyer and, displayed with it, are replicas of the medals. It is indeed a truly amazing piece in every way.