Beautiful crafts of Ireland’s Ancient East

Aran jumpers, Newbridge silver, Waterford crystal – Ireland is renowned for the quality of its crafts

Garvan De Bruir Design, Image © Peter Rowen

Meet six expert creators that you’ll find at the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East...

1 Russborough House

A masterclass in old-school glamour, 18th century Russborough House rises from sleek manicured lawns in County Wicklow. Russborough is a bastion of artisanal Irish craft. Designers, sculptors and creators come together in the workshops here to showcase their impressive art. Blacksmiths forge metal into intricate shapes, granite and marble are carved into sleek instruments and in the artist’s studio, peace prevails as dainty ceramics are painted with care and colour. Utter bliss.

2 Falling Leaves from Fallen Trees

Terry O’Brien started his woodcarving business after the furniture factory he was working in closed its doors. For Terry, Falling Leaves from Fallen Trees is a labour of love and a testament to his skill and and dedication. Every piece he makes is crafted from a tree that has come crashing to earth in his local area of County Louth – his simple mission is to take these forgotten pieces of timber and turn them into masterpieces of wooden design.

Photo, Garvan De Bruir Design: Ruth Maria

3 De Bruir Design

Garvan de Bruir is an unconventional designer. From his workshop in County Kildare this legendary craftsman combines an eye for impeccable design with an innate understanding of the material he’s working with, leather. Garvan cites biomimicry as inspiration for his pieces, crafting the leather to seamlessly blend into and match with the natural world.

4 Irish Handmade Glass Company

Waterford has a fine history of crafts; the factory at Waterford Crystal and its worldwide tradition are testament to that. In 2009, a team of master craftmen from Waterford Crystal came together to create The Irish Handmade Glass Company. Combining tradition and innovation, they blow molten glass into ornate and beautiful shapes shot through with colour, cut to create curving masterpieces that defy gravity and capture the spirit of Ireland in glass.

5 Kiltrea Bridge Potter

Pottery team Michael and Johanna Roche started Kiltrea Bridge Pottery in County Wexford with a simple aim – to create ceramics using local materials in order to showcase the beauty of Ireland. In this, they have succeeded. Their handthrown creations exude an air of simplicity and elegance, a testament to the legacy of Ireland’s magnificent craft scene.

6 Cushendale Woollen Mills

It’s the early 13th century. A group of Cistercian monks have built a monastery on the banks of the River Duiske in County Kilkenny. But how to ensure their continued survival? Establishing a series of mills, they begin to weave woollen creations that they export and trade for supplies. Over 800 years later wool is still spun on this spot by the Cushen family in the village of Graiguenamanagh at the Cushendale Woollen Mills, ensuring the survival of this noble craft.

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