Waterford, the oldest city in Ireland and situated on the south-east coast has established many claims to fame over the centuries. Arguably, the best known is the founding of the world famous House of Waterford Crystal that is responsible for many glorious works, including chandeliers in Windsor Castle, Westminster Abbey and the Kennedy Centre in Washington, DC, as well as the 2688 crystals that adorn the New Year’s Eve ball that drops in Time Square, New York, every January 31st.

The History and Visitor Centre, in The Mall in Waterford, is located very close to the original factory and offers visitors a chance to see the traditional processes of crystal mouth blowing and sculpting first hand, as the highly skilled artisans melt over 750 tonnes of crystal to create over 50,000 beautifully crafted pieces per year.

Waterford Crystal was established by Karel (Charles) Bacik, a Czech glass manufacturer. Charles Bacik had four factories in the Czech Republic that were taken over by Communists in 1946. In 1947 Charles Bacik emigrated to Ireland and started Waterford Glass in partnership with Bernard Fiztpatrick , a Dublin gift shop owner.

The factory tour takes visitors through the whole crafting procedure that dates back beyond even the building of the Waterford factory in 1783. Taking in the mould room, blowing department, quality inspection, hand marking, cutting department, and sculpting and engraving divisions to watch the masters at work on every stage of a piece’s development.

After the tour visitors are welcome to browse the store and maybe take home some fine crystal art for themselves, check out the astonishing pieces on display in the Exhibition Area, or just relax in the onsite café.

Opening hours:

Jan – Feb:

Factory: Mon-Fri 9.30am to 3.15pm
Retail store: Mon-Fri 9.30am to 5.00pm

March

Factory: Mon-Sat 9.00am to 3.15pm, Sun 9.30am to 3.15pm
Retail store: Mon-Sat 9.00am to 5.00pm, Sun 9.30am to 5.00pm

Apr – Oct:

Factory: Mon-Sat 9.00am to 4.15pm, Sun 9.30am to 4.15pm
Retail store: Mon-Sat 9.00am to 6.00pm, Sun 9.30am to 6.00pm

Nov – Dec

Factory: Mon-Fri 9.30am to 3.15pm
Retail store: Mon-Fri 9.30am to 5.00pm

Closed 17th Mar and 21st Dec – 3rd Jan

Admission

Adult – 13.00EUR
Senior/Student – 10.00EUR
Child 6 to 18yrs – 5.00EUR
Child under 5yrs – FREE
Family – 30.00EUR

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