Arklow has long been synonymous with industry and creativity, two traits brought together in harmony during the period from 1934 to 1998 when Arklow Pottery dominated the social and economic landscape of the area.
Arklow ware made and decorated by talented local craftspeople, could be found on tables in every town and village across Ireland, and in later years, a strong export trade brought Arklow Pottery sets into homes around the world.
Over the years a growing community of Arklow Pottery enthusiasts have come together online to share memories and ask questions. With the passage of time there was a fear that knowledge was being lost. So, when the Heritage Council announced details of a funding stream which would support the development of a digital archive, Arklow Town Team saw the opportunity to begin a project of recording the stories and cataloguing Arklow Pottery backstamps and patterns.
Pictured Above: Allison Ryder, Peir Leonard, Irene Sweeney, Chantal Fortune – Project Team
The ‘Arklow Pottery Online’ project was initiated in May 2022 to create a digital pattens database, backstamp reference guide, photo & video archive, and oral history record capturing the stories of some of those who worked in Arklow Pottery.
The project was completed recently, and all of these resources are now accessible via a new website where it will be available for future generations to engage with and learn about the heritage of one of the Potteries.
Allison Ryder, Project Coordinator says: “The project team hope that this just the first step in creating a useful and rounded resource for people to learn about and engage with Arklow Pottery. The Arklow Pottery story is vast, and we aim to add more to this website over the coming months and years. The community involvement has been key to the success of the project, and we are indebted to all of those who gave their time and knowledge so generously.”
The project was funded by a Heritage Council grant of €20,000, which was used to create the website, record the stories and catalogue and photograph the back stamps and patterns, as well as developing a new ‘Arklow Pottery Heritage Trail’ linking key locations related to the Arklow Pottery story.
Visit the website at www.arklowpottery.ie