Few people associate Ireland with any type of glass making other than Irish Crystal, but there are many designers and artists working with glass in a more contemporary style.
These are among the best crafts people in the country and it would be a great pity to miss the wonderful work they do.
The glass makers listed below are just a few of many, chosen to give you an idea of the range and variety of glass available. A longer list with location details is available from the Craft Council of Ireland.
One of Ireland’s longest established and most respected glass makers, Jerpoint Glass is a family run business located in Kilkenny and they welcome visitors to their workshops.
Jerpoint produces mainly tableware, vases and lamps, all hand blown. The glass is thickish and the tableware feels sturdy and quite heavy in your hand. Shapes are simple and clean and classical – tableware will be equally at home in a modern or a an old fashioned table setting.
Best Buys: The Colour Twist range looks wonderful at a candle-lit dinner table and the plain goblet shaped wine glasses are a design classic that will never go out of fashion.
Gift Buys: Look out for the little “Worry Monk”, a lovely object, really tactile and pleasant to hold in your hand and well within the budget even of those with just pocket-money to spend!
Worth a Detour?: The glass is widely available in good gift shops throughout Ireland so the workshop is only a must if you have a particular interest in seeing the glass made.
More Information: Jerpoint Glass Website
Established in 1970, Duiske Glass revived the traditional intaglio method of engraving, where the decoration is applied by engraving below the glass surface and not cutting away the background. They make mainly table ware in a light and elegant style.
The wine glasses and champagne flutes are particularly lovely, in fine delicate glass with patterns of vines or trailing flowers or Celtic motifs engraved on the surface.
Best Buys: The wine and champagne flutes are timeless and very reasonably priced for handmade glass of this quality.
Gift Buys: The Ciara Candle holder, which holds a single tea light, has a simple Celtic motif on a nicely shaped bowl and would be a lovely souvenir from Ireland.
Worth a Detour: The factory is in Graiguenamanagh, on the banks of the River Barrow, an area which is well worth a detour even if you never went near the Glass Factory. The factory shop is a good place to see the full range though Duiske is widely available in gift outlets everywhere in Ireland.
More Information: Duiske Glass Website (currently not working but coming back soon).
nora d glass
From her workshop in Kildare Nora Duggan creates glass panels, windows and ornamental pieces of exquisite delicacy and beauty. These are one off pieces which are without question heirlooms of the future.
Not confining herself to a single technique, her pieces may be stained, cut, painted, leaded or use a combination of these techniques. It’s impossible to do justice to these pieces in photographs, they really have to be seen with light playing on them to get the full effect.
If you are in Ennis you can see one of her windows at the Clare County Museum.
Gift Buys: A commissioned glass panel would be an amazing presentation piece or a gift to mark some very special occasion.
More information: nora d glass
Deirdre Rogers – Various Vessels
Deirdre Rogers does exquisitely beautiful work, using glass in a myriad of innovative ways to create sculpture, dishes, wall clocks and other items each of which is a small work of art.
Her wall clocks with leaves frozen in a cloud of glass (left) and the impish ‘Dotty’ clock are part of her standard collection and are art pieces at an affordable price. She also does commissioned work and limited edition pieces, including a series of sculptural pieces incorporating slate and limestone which can be seen at her website.
Best Buys: If you have the budget a commissioned piece will be a joy you will treasure forever, but so too will one of the leaf wall clocks.
Gift Buys: The candle holders made from recycled wine bottles are lovely and will be an interesting talking point!
Worth a Detour?: The workshop is not open to the public but work can be seen and purchased though Witchcraft, on their website or at one of their two Dublin galleries. The galleries are very much worth a detour in Dublin, they have some of the best contemporary Irish Craft and design work you will find anywhere.
More Information: Deirdre Rogers’ Website
Methuselah Glass are a husband and wife team based in Cork creating beautiful contemporary stained glass designs.
Their windows can be seen widely in churches and public buildings in Ireland as well as hotels, pubs and many private houses. They also make lampshades and art-deco style fanned wall lights and take commissions from all over the world.
Best Buys: If you want a unique stained glass window, bring accurate measurements and call in – it will be a memento of your visit to treasure for ever.
Gift Buys: For someone special a stained glass fanlight would be an unusual and special gift.
Worth a Detour?: If you are in West Cork or travelling between Cork and Kerry, Drimoleague where the workshop is situated is not a big detour and it is well worth making.
More Details: Methuselah Glass Website
Eva Kelly Glass
Eva Kelly’s glass plates and bowls are both functional and decorative and are intended to be used as well as admired. Her Dot and Squiggle bowls are witty, colourful and fun. Created from fused glass, the colours used are vibrant and modern but never garish and they are the sort of things you will love more the longer you own them.
This is stylish and elegant glass design of the highest order, beautifully crafted and quite unique.
Best Buys: The range of platters and dishes for Sushi make you want to run out and buy some raw fish and sticky rice just to justify owning them.
Gift Buys: The smallest Dot bowls are just big enough to serve a single tasty morsel and would be treasured by anyone who appreciates good design.
Worth a Detour: The workshop is not open to the public but her work is available via her website or at Simply Art, an eclectic Art & Design shop near the Curragh in Co Kildare which is very much worth visiting.
More Information: Eva Kelly’s Website