The latest news from the House of Waterford Crystal....

Michael Murphy Master Sculptor

Michael started his career with Waterford Crystal in 1974. At the age of 15 years, he heard from a friend (who was already employed by Waterford Glass) that the factory was recruiting apprentices. Michael clearly remembers the speed of the hiring process, he was interviewed by the then HR Manager Sean Dunphy on Wednesday, did a medical on Friday and was told he was starting in Waterford Glass on Monday!! Michael lived in Ballyhale, Co Kilkenny with his parents and eight siblings. Michael’s Dad worked all his life in Forestry and Roads with the Council and was very proud to have his son training with the world-renowned Waterford Glass.

Michael remembers starting on the first day in the Kilbarry factory, along with a few other new starters. “I had to choose whether I wanted to work in the hot end of the process or the cold end. I chose the cold end of the process and was introduced to George Lye and Frank Leahy in the cutting department. I went on to train as a Rheintour Cutter under their guidance. I trained for five years as an apprentice and then completed a further three years to become a Master Cutter.” Michael worked in the cutting area for twenty-one years in total.

In 1995 a job was advertised internally for two sculptors in the K4 Design department. Michael applied along with twenty other candidates. Each of the candidates had to create a sculpted piece and their work was graded and judged. Michael was successful and was selected for one of the positions as a Sculptor. With further years of training Michael went on to become a Master Sculptor.

Michael has worked on many, amazing prestigious pieces during his career at Waterford. When asked what his favourite pieces were, he says, “I don’t have favourite pieces but have lots of memorable pieces. The first piece that came to mind was the ‘Alotion Club House’, this was a privately commissioned piece for a gentleman from Arkansas. He commissioned Waterford Glass to create an exact replica of the Club House he was building”. This piece took over four months to complete and Michael has vivid memories of creating the balustrades that lined the front of the piece, tedious and time consuming, but necessary to create the stunning finished effect. The piece was displayed in the club house on completion.

A spectacular six-foot-high Waterford Crystal Christmas tree, designed by Diarmuid Gavin was another memorable piece Michael created. The tree was auctioned in the UK raising £35,000 for a children’s charity. Michael got to meet Princess Anne who was patron of the charity.

Michael remembers well his trips to Venice to the Fincanteri ship yard in Trieste. He travelled with the team from Waterford to install a spectacular piece that were commissioned by the Holland & America Line for four of their cruise liners. Starting in 2002 with the final installation in 2007, the ships were the Zuiderdam where they installed a ‘Crystal Seahorse’, the Oosterdam had a ‘Crystal Globe’, the Westerdam a ‘Crystal HAL Ship’ and finally the Noordam where they installed a ‘Crystal Compass’, these breath taking sculpted piece were installed in the atrium of each ship. The installations took a week or so to complete, over the period of five years.

Michael has ‘rubbed’ shoulders with lots of stars from the music world when Waterford Crystal were commissioned to make five crystal Joshua Trees for the band U2 and their then manager Paul Mc Guinness. The sculpted trees were presented to the group to mark the occasion of being given the Freedom of Dublin City in 2000.

During Michael’s career at Waterford he has met numerous people, he has conversed with politicians from all walks of life, who have visited Waterford Crystal, Enda Kenny John Hume, Gerry Adams, Pat Doherty and David Trimble to name but a few. Meeting Alex Ferguson (Manchester United Manager) is another stand out moment for Michael, Alex had commissioned a sculpted crystal replica of the Old Trafford stadium which he gifted to the Club. Even though Michael is more of a GAA man and staunch Kilkenny fan he thoroughly enjoyed meeting with Alex on his visit to Waterford.

Michael is very passionate about his work and loves to chat to visitors about his craft and the pieces he has worked on. He loved meeting and chatting with Eugene lambert (Irish puppeteer) and his wife Mai, he found them both to be very interesting people. Michael also met with Millvina Dean (one of the last people to be rescued from the Titanic as a two-month-old baby) Milvina visited Waterford Crystal with her son and Michael had the opportunity to chat with her and hear a little of her fascinating story.

Michael Murphy Master Sculptor has created hundreds of pieces, during his 44 years at Waterford Crystal. He has met with royalty, chatted with celebrities, met politicians and people who have led amazingly interesting lives. As Michael reflects on his career the message he would send to himself the 15-year boy who stated work in Waterford Glass back in 1974 would be to work hard, treat people with respect, have pride in all you do and enjoy your journey!!!






Our beautiful Lismore pattern turns 68 today, October 23nd 

The famous Lismore pattern was created in 1952 by Miroslav Havel, Waterford’s Chief of Design who drew inspiration for the pattern’s signature diamond and wedge cuts from the rugged charm of Lismore Castle in the idyllic countryside of County Waterford.

Craftsmanship: a fusion of inspiration from the landscape and skills passed down generation to generation. Such a story lies behind Lismore, the most enduring crystal-cut in history. The Lismore Collection was launched in 1952 and now, over 68 years later, it is the only design from this period that still remains. Of all of Waterford Crystal’s cuts Lismore is the most loved, continuing to add grace and beauty to any home. You will find the spark of inspiration behind the elegant collection at Lismore Castle in the village of Lismore, Co. Waterford. The Castle is perched spectacularly on a cliff high above the River Backwater near the Knockmealdown Mountains. It has passed through many owners and endured many wars; been the seat of archbishops, a home of Sir Walter Raleigh and to the Earl of Cork. For centuries now it has been in the possession of the Dukes of Devonshire.

The leaded windows and turrets of this picturesque Castle have been recreated in the cutting pattern. A classic crystal that has simple cuts and balanced beauty as fresh today as they were when they were first inspired. It is the combination of wedge cuts and open plain diamond cutting which has become synonymous with the Lismore Collection. 2012 marked six decades of Lismore, and the Lismore 60th Anniversary Collection, including the Lismore Saucer Champagne celebration piece, acclaims an iconic crystal pattern. 

Having originally embellished a simple water goblet, the Lismore pattern is now intricately adorned on a beautiful selection of luxury crystal glassware, barware, homeware, such as tumblers, wine glasses, vases, bowls and picture frames. Much emulated as the zenith of perfection, brilliance and beauty, it is also a universal symbol of chic elegance. 


Of all of Waterford Crystal’s cuts Lismore is the most loved, continuing to add grace and beauty to any home. Here’s to the next 66 years of Lismore and the dream of living a crystal life!




Master Craftsman, Tom Power has been cutting crystal at Waterford Crystal for 49 years! He started as a young man on the 10th September 1969. Tom was a student in the local tech when a Waterford Crystal representative visited the school to inform the students that they were looking to recruit personnel for the factory. Tom attended for the ability test, which was held in the workshop at Waterford Crystal in Johnstown, a very daunting experience and Tom remembers it well.

The cutting department was where Tom served his apprenticeship. " I was of an artistic nature and loved the challenge of taking a blank piece of crystal and cutting the unique Waterford designs", says Tom. He trained for five years under the watchful eye of the master cutters and went on to become a master cutter himself after a further three years of  training. Tom has worked in three of the Waterford Crystal factories, Johnstown, Kilbarry and our current factory here on the Mall in Waterford City.

Tom has worked on hundreds of trophies and prestigious pieces over the years, including the Time Square ball, all the PGA Trophies, the Gibson Guitar, the MBA Basketball trophy and the People's Choice Awards. He does have a few favourite pieces that he has worked on including the Irish Harp, the American College Football, the MBA and the stunning Viking Longboat to name but a few. 

Tom has met many famous people over the years, John Hume, Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Nick Faldo and many more. But for Tom the stand out memories over the course of his career at Waterford are the lovely, funny, kind people he has met during factory tours at the House of Waterford and throughout his trips to the USA over the years.

He considers himself very lucky to have travelled to so many different states in America and to have worked in hundreds of different stores, meeting some really great people both staff and customers, who have given him a lifetime of great memories.

Tom travels all over the world to stores where he gets to meet our customers and personalise Waterford Crystal pieces for them, this is a job that Tom enjoys very much!



Waterford is set to welcome more than 4,390 cruise ship passengers from July 14th to July 17th. The Summer cruise ship call programme to Waterford will see over 24,000 international visitors arrive to our shores in 2018.

The July programme begins with the Seabourne Quest docking in Belview, carrying 450 passengers, on Saturday next, July 14th and concludes with the Amadea arriving to Dunmore East on July 19th with 600 on board. Waterford also welcomes the Crystal Celebrity on its third trip to Waterford in 2018 on July 17th with 2,850 passengers on board.

According to David McCoy, Chair of Visit Waterford: “It’s great to see Waterford is a key destination for international visitors travelling on leisure cruises. The city has always provided a warm welcome to visitors from all around the world. Visit Waterford, through Waterford Chamber will be issuing posters to retailers and businesses throughout the city to welcome passengers.

Cruise travel provides the city with a welcome addition in footfall. While we are very aware that not all passengers disembark on a port call, we have seen a marked increase in footfall. The port calls often generate repeat business, as visitors return on long stay vacations touring Waterford and its surrounding counties.”

The visitors on board are welcomed to Waterford by Lauren Traynor, Executive Project Director, Waterford Viking Triangle and Caroline Acheson, House of Waterford Crystal, will board the ships with City Guide Maps and brochures promoting the city and county attractions, shops and hospitality businesses. “Many visitors require information around practical services available in Waterford City such as pharmacies, hairdressers etc., while others wanted to know the best Irish Pub Experience to enjoy a pint of Guinness, an Irish Coffee or a gift from Ireland, setting off exploring the city on their own.

The positive impact on the city speaks for itself,” says McCoy. Visit Waterford is a representative body that will promote Waterford city and county to the domestic and international tourism markets and influence the long-term strategic development of Tourism in Waterford City and County. The aim of the group is that Waterford becomes the number one premium tourism destination in the South East and Ireland by marketing and promoting the city and county to the domestic and international markets.



It's no secret that Ireland has fallen head over heels in love with gin in recent times and what better way to enjoy the drink of the moment than in a glass from Waterford’s brand-new Gin Journeys collection.

Featuring six different crystal patterns, the collection is not only striking to look at and enjoyable to drink from, it is steeped in history with inspiration being drawn from County Waterford’s heritage in gin. Since the Victorian era, spices and botanicals have been transported along its roads and rivers to distilleries and the great houses throughout Ireland. Developed in collaboration with industry experts the collection has been specifically created to enrich the aromas and infuse the flavours of the botanicals within the spirit, so that gin connoisseurs can enjoy an enhanced drinking experience.

The collection features two new shapes from Waterford, designed for the ultimate enjoyment of the spirit: balloon glasses with a short stem which are perfect for gins with a 39% and above ABV, due to their bowl-like shape trapping the aromas inside the glass and allowing the spirit more room to breathe as well as space for garnishes and ice, and slim hi-balls which are ideal for lower alcohol gins and cocktails.

The crystalware itself has been designed using three Short Stories barware patterns, which also launched this year. These include Olann, which boasts a dramatic diamond design inspired by the classic diamond stitch on Olann knitwear originating from the Aran Islands; Cluin, which showcases a masculine square-cut design reminiscent of the bookshelves in Dublin’s 18th Century Gothic Marsh’s Library and Aras, which draws inspiration from the architecture of ancient castles found on the rolling hills of the Irish landscape, with its dramatic yet classic vertical-cut design pattern.

In addition to this, the collection includes three more timeless designs including Waterford’s signature Lismore design, which is renowned for its brilliance and clarity; Elegance, which is the epitome of exactly that - ideal for entertaining and transforming any event into a special occasion, with its sleek lines and sophisticated pattern; and Elegance Optic, a smooth, crystalline design that would be a welcome addition to any gin connoisseurs’ barware collection.

The Waterford Gin Journeys collection has something for everyone from dramatic designs to sleek, minimal pieces – offering a sophisticated way to enjoy and truly appreciate the flavour of the much-loved spirit.

See our full collection at


Yes - you will get more aromatics and flavour from your whiskey when you use whiskey-specific glassware like Short Stories or Lismore Connoisseur.

Why? Quality whiskey’s can only be fully and truly appreciated when experienced in the proper shaped glass wide enough for all types to breathe, perfect and allow for a pleasant and ‘neat’ swirling experience.

Using the correct glass is always a hallmark of good taste. When you pour your choice of liquor into a glass designed for whiskey, your senses are more alert to the flavour and scent. Suddenly, you’re aware of your whiskey’s aromatics – picking up its subtle notes.

This makes your whiskey tasting experience even better. Whiskey glasses from Waterford’s Short Stories series are a crowning achievement of crystal craftsmanship and the pinnacle of elite fine whiskey enjoyment.

Tumblers in these collections serves the whiskey connoisseur who enjoys their drink either neat, with a splash of water, a dash of soda or an ice cube or two.


The Waterford Blaa is served at the Crystal Cafe in the House of Waterford Crystal and can be enjoyed as part of your breakfast or lunch. The tradition of baking of the Waterford Blaa, is believed to date back to the arrival of the Huguenots. The Hugenots were members of the Reformed Church of France from the time of the Protestant Reformation.

At the time and throughout the medieval period Waterford was a powerful trading city, trading in flour, butter, leather, wheat and other agricultural produce from the area around Waterford were shipped to and from England and the continent mostly to Spain, France and Italy. In 1685, a large section of French Protestants were exiled to whatever countries gave them shelter, including England and Ireland. Waterford became a point of attraction to French refugees due to its ease of access; it placed them within convenient distance of their own shores, should circumstances make their return desirable; and it afforded a port of trade capable of developing their mercantile abilities.

According to the oral tradition of the period, the Huguenots introduced a bread product, which was made from leftover pieces of dough in the late seventeenth century. Waterford bakers believe this is when the Huguenots first introduced the famous Waterford Blaa. It is believed that the name either derives from blanc, the French for white, due to the flour on top of the blaa or the word "Blaad"  an old French word for flour.

Around 12,000 blaas are baked in Waterford each day, with the majority being sold by the end of lunch. In 2013, the Waterford Blaa Bakers Association succeeded in getting PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) designation for the Waterford Blaa. This means that only Blaas made by specialist bakers in Waterford city and county can be called Blaas!



Pat Whelan is a Master Blower at the House of Waterford Crystal. This craft involves great skill, dexterity and timing, providing dramatic theater as the glass shape -shifts. It takes 8 years training to master the craft of blowing.

Pat Whelan as young boy had a plan. "My plan at 14 years of age was to leave school, continue to train as a boxer like my Dad Billy, who was a professional boxer", explains Pat.  "And I wanted to get a job to save to go to the Woodstock Festival in Up-state New York in 1969".

Pat and his best friend got a job here in Waterford city in a local company called Snowcream, where they saved every penny they earned to purchase their tickets to see the greats like Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Sanatana, Crosby, Stills Nash and Young, perform at Woodstock. Alas this dream was not to be Pat and his pal had not taken in to account that they could not board an international flight as minors without an adult!

So instead of rocking out to his hero’s at Woodstock’69, Pat began his career at Waterford Glass on the 17th August 1969, that date is etched in his mind for many reasons. Pat started work in the Johnstown factory where he started in the blowing area, which was supposed to be a temporary position. The plan was that Pat would move in to the cutting shop after six months, however this transition never happened. Pat loved the blowing area and the craftsmen he worked with took him under their wing and trained him up to become a blower. Starting with gathering from the furnace, blowing the small ball to start the piece right up to gathering and blowing the full piece.

Pat loved the physicality of the job, Pat’s expertise is working on the large heavy pieces, he trained with artisan craftsmen from Italy, Germany and the Czech Republic along with the Irish Craftsmen. The heat in the factory is one of the outstanding memories Pat has of those first years in Johnstown, to combat the effects of the intense heat on the workers, the workers were issued with salt tablets to replenish the salts lost from their bodies during their shift.

In 1973 Pat along with some other Master Blowers, was recruited to go to the Waterford Crystal plant in  Dungarvan, in county Waterford  to train them in blowing the large pieces. Pat worked in the Kilbarry plant in K1 right up until it closed in 2009. Pat was delighted to return to what he does best when we reopened here on the Mall in Waterford in 2010.

Out of all the thousands of trophies and large bespoke pieces Pat has created,his  favourite was a piece that he blew for the actor Larry Hagman aka J.R. Ewing of Dallas. The piece was a crystal version of the of a Texan Stetson, a spectacular piece, a piece Pat is very proud to have been a part of. Pat has met many celebrities during his time at Waterford including Sir Cliff Richards who Pat remembers flying in by helicopter on a couple of occasions and Pat remembers well the excitement of the ladies upon Cliffs arrival at Waterford Crystal. But of all the celebrities that Pat has seen pass through Waterford Crystal the one standout or 'knockout' VIP visitor for Pat was the visit of Floyd Patterson, (Boxing World Heavy weight champion). Pat got to meet and chat to Floyd, due to Pat’s boxing heritage it was a very proud moment, he can recall without hesitation and with great fondness.

Pat is now in his 51st year as a blower, he is one of our longest serving Master blowers here at the House of Waterford Crystal. Pat can be seen here at the factory working on our beautiful production pieces but his real passion is for the bigger pieces like our trophies and one-off bespoke pieces. Who knows what would have happened if he had been able to attend that Woodstock Festival all those years ago, it would have been a very different summer of ’69 for Pat, and Waterford Crystal would have missed out on an amazingly talented craftsman who is very passionate about his craft.