Sunday, March 8, 2009

Belleek Newslettre (# 13.1)

** 2009 CONVENTION !!


PLEASE share the following with ALL your Belleeker
friends and acquaintances !!

WELL, I’ve (HOPEFULLY) FINALIZED my transportation
arrangements to and from our Convention !! Depending upon
your ‘touch-down’ point near Park Ridge, AND, you’re quite
adventurous, you may want to consult with Google Maps at :


to arrange inexpensive transport into Park Ridge !! I’ve
verified routes to and from Kennedy, La Guardia and Newark
(International) Airports as well as the Amtrak Stations at
Penn Street, NY and 30th. Street, Philadelphia !! Of course,
you can always be a sissy and catch a limousine !!

Personally, I’ll be arriving rather late the evening of the
22nd. following an enjoyable Amtrak jaunt across the U.S. !!

People are welcomed to email our Convention organizer at :


or call 631-665-4680 or write to

Patricia Hennessey
38 Woodland Drive
Brightwaters, NY 11718

about any of these following items or other general
convention questions.

The North Jersey Convention Committee is getting down to
the final tasks for the convention. Music and entertainment
have been booked, the program planning is underway; we are
looking forward to a great convention with long time and
new Belleek friends.

We are urging people to make their hotel reservations so
that the hotel continues to hold the block of rooms for
us and all attendees can be in the same location as the

Of course, Angela and George Moore, Society President
and Pottery Owner, respectively, will be in attendance
as well as Patricia McCauley, Manager of the Visitor’s
Centre at the Pottery !!

One of the key offerings of our Convention will be a
presentation by Fergus Cleary, Belleek’s Head of Design.
The North Jersey Plate Design Committee labored to develop
a lovely rendering which includes special aspects of New
Jersey. Fergus Cleary and his staff are hard at work on
the plate; it looks beautiful. Fergus has been taking
photos of each step of the process which he will use for
a power point presentation at the convention. He will
show how items go from design, molding and all other
stages to end up with the collector. Should be very
interesting since each attendee will have the finished

Other important presentations include Bev and Chris
Marvell from the UK group will be presenting on "The
Early Days of Belleek Pottery." They will share the work
of many members of the UK group on how the development
at the Pottery and its ware fitted in with the political
and social events of the times. Should be very
interesting material that will be new to most of us.

Additionally, the Trenton Museum Director, Brian O. Hill,
will speak on the fine tradition of pottery making in
Trenton and the Irish craftsmen who were part of that

In addition to speakers on Belleek, the program committee
is pleased that a member of the International Society of
Appraisers will be one of the speakers. Linda Roberts, ISA,
AM, has a strong interest in European and American hand
painted porcelains and has qualified as an "Appraiser As
Expert Witness". She is open to topics or specifics people
would like her to address in her remarks.

There will also be a speaker on insuring collections,
Michele Empey who is a Fine Arts Specialists at Chubb
Insurance. I think people will find this to be an important
and interesting topic.

John Maguire, Managing Director of the Belleek Pottery
Group, and George Davis, the US Belleek Distributor for
Reed and Barton, are expected to be available to join us
for at least part of our Convention !!

The NJ Chapter has been photographing members' unique
Belleek for a calendar to be sold at the convention. The
convention bag committee has neat treats for all the
attendees. The US Belleek distributor Reed and Barton is
providing a piece of Belleek for each attendee. Sales
Manager George Davis has been wonderful to work with and
the donation is very generous.

IMPORTANT : The Convention organizers are compiling a
listing of Belleek items for which attendees have been
searching. There are always pieces we want !! People are
invited to let me know if there are some things they would
especially like to see in the sales room. Hopefully such a
listing will give the vendors an opportunity to bring such
items. I will not share names, only the items. Individuals
and chapters are invited to send me their "wish lists".

We have a strong antique Belleek showing with the Kathleen
and Willie Mitchell from California, Tony Harty and Eileen
O'Neill plus Olga Clarke coming from Ireland as well as
Nanci Levine from Connecticut. We may have another table
or two of local people.

There will also be a restorer at the convention, as part
of the sales room, available to look at Belleek pieces and
give estimates on possible restorations. "Restorations by
Louis" comes highly recommended for his Belleek work. He
also works in early stoneware, pottery, papier-mâché,
ivory and jade as well as gold work on fine porcelain.
His work is not limited to fine antiques; it also includes
contemporary collectibles such as Lladro, Boehm and Royal
Doulton. People are invited to bring items in need of
restoration for his inspection. Patricia has viewed his
work and regards it as excellent !!

We still have room in the program book for a few more ads
if anyone is interested. The ad application with size and
cost information can be found in the Convention Information
at Site :


We plan to begin to work on the book right after Jan. 1,
2009 and need ads by then.

The two New York City tours have been well received and
there are still a few spots available in each. The shopping
and West Point tours were canceled due to general lack of

AGAIN, people are welcomed to email me at :


or call 631-665-4680 or write to Patricia Hennessey,
38 Woodland Drive, Brightwaters, NY 11718 about any of
these items or other convention questions.

AND, AGAIN, PLEASE share the above with ALL your Belleeker
friends and acquaintances !!

** 1st Period Opinion ??

"A man said to the Universe, 'Sir, I exist.' The Universe
replied, 'That fact, however, has not created in me a
sense of obligation.'"
        - Stephen Crane, c1871-1900


Along the North coastline of Northern Ireland, all within
like an hours drive of each other, we discouver some of
this areas finest sights and wonders !!

I will only present a very short synopsis of each and
leave it to you, as the reader, for further Google’ing
to enhance your knowledge as you desire !!

From the Encyclopedia Wikipedia we discouver :

Suggesting a scenic drive along the North Channel, out
of Belfast, we pass thru Ballycastle and arrive at The
Giant's Causeway (or Irish : Clochán na bhFómharach), an
area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the
result of an ancient volcanic eruption.

It is located on the northeast coast of Northern Ireland,
about two miles (3 km) north of the town of Bushmills. It
was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986, and
a National Nature Reserve in 1987 by the Department of
the Environment for Northern Ireland. In a 2005 poll of
Radio Times readers, the Giant's Causeway was named as
the fourth greatest natural wonder in the United Kingdom.

The tops of the columns form stepping stones that lead
from the cliff foot and disappear under the sea. Most
of the columns are hexagonal, although there are also
some with four, five, seven and eight sides. The tallest
are about 12 metres (36 ft) high, and the solidified lava
in the cliffs is 28 metres thick in places.

The Giant's Causeway is today owned and managed by the
National Trust and it is the most popular tourist
attraction in Northern Ireland. It figures prominently
in Irish Folklore !!

South West of The Giant’s Causeway we can stop in Bushmills
(in Irish : Muileann na Buaise) a very small town, actually
classified as a village, on the north coast of County
Antrim, Northern Ireland, for a refreshing drink !! Bushmills
had 1,319 inhabitants in the 2001 Census and is 95 km from
Belfast, 10 km from Ballycastle and 15 km from Coleraine.
The town's name is derived from the River Bush, one of
Northern Ireland's salmon rivers.

The village is best known as the location of the Old
Bushmills Distillery, founded in 1608, which is the
oldest licensed distillery in the world. The distillery
is the only Irish distillery using 100% malted barley in
its whiskies, in a range which includes Bushmills Original,
Black Bush and a range of malts, including the Bushmills
12 year old malt. CHEERS !!

You may wish to refer to my Newslettre # 11.1 of March 4,
2007 which, may be located in my Newslettre Archives on
my Main Site Page, for a discussion of Belleek’s Bushmills
Crested Items !!

West of Bushmills, we enter Portrush (from the Irish :
Port Rois
meaning "port of the promontory") a seaside
resort town in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, on the
County Londonderry border. The main part of the old town,
including the railway station as well as most hotels,
restaurants and bars, is built on a mile–long peninsula,
Ramore Head, pointing north-northwest.

It had a population of 6,372 people in the 2001 Census.
In the off-season, Portrush is a dormitory town for the
nearby campus of the University of Ulster at Coleraine.
It neighbours the resort of Portstewart.

NOTE : The University has four campuses, in Belfast,
Coleraine, Magee College in Derry, and Jordanstown and
a fifth virtual, i.e., On-Line, campus, Campus One.

Portrush was the base for the Katie Hannan (this life
boat was damaged in 2008, after running aground during
a rescue at Rathlin Island, now based as a training boat
for the RNLI), a Severn class lifeboat and Ken and Mary,
a D–class inshore lifeboat of the RNLI (Royal National
Lifeboat Institute. Lifeboats have operated out of
Portrush Harbour since 1860. Their crews have been
presented with 28 awards for gallantry !!

Again, travelling West, we arrive at Portstewart. The
town is relatively new and takes its name from a
Lieutenant Stewart who in 1734 obtained a lease of land
from the Earl of Antrim. As recently as the mid 18th
century it was little more than a fishing village,
although it has been inhabited since the Neolithic era.

Portstewart developed to a modest size seaside resort in
the mid 19th century under the influence of a local
landlord, John Cromie. Its development and character was
influenced greatly by the sabbatarian sensitivities of
the Cromies and the consequent resistance to a railway
connection in the mid 19th century.

The scale of development for the next century was more
modest than that of neighbouring Portrush which rapidly
expanded (particularly in the late Victorian era) with
the mass tourism market. Despite a tram connection being
provided from Portstewart to Cromore to link with the
railway, the town developed with a more genteel character.

With the ascent of the car as the predominant means of
travel through the 20th century, Portstewart developed
a wider role as a popular holiday and recreational
destination, along with a significant dormitory function
due to its proximity to Coleraine (University) as well
as being a local service centre.

From the 1950s until into the 1980s the town's main
development thrust was as a residential area, with the
steady construction of new dwellings in the suburbs mainly
for owner occupation. Unlike Portrush where there was a
rapid expansion of static caravan parks, Portstewart
continued to avoid the effects of mass tourism.

Over the past 15 years however, there is a widespread
perception that the character of the town has changed
through the rapid growth of the student population and
the accelerating expansion of second home ownership.
There is considerable local opinion that the permanent
community is at risk from being overwhelmed by this tide
of seasonal residents, who have only a limited role in
the commercial and social life of the community. Remember,
if you can’t blame the students, blame the tourists !!

The first picture below, displays a Cleary Mug exhibiting
the crest of the Town of Portrush which, I’ve had on
display in my museum for some time !!

Belleek Miniature Crested Cleary Mug !! 

                Crest of Portrush on a Cleary Mug !!

The second picture is of a pair of mugs which, I recently
acquired !! As viewed below, the left mug, another Cleary
Mug, shows the crest of the City of Dublin !!

The mug on the right, I have NO name for ?? I ‘dub’ it
Coral Handle Ivory, as opposed to Ring Handle Ivory, due
to its completely smooth surface !!?? This cute little
mug proudly displays the crest of the Town of Portstewart
and is BY FAR, the smallest Belleek mug I’ve ever
envisioned !! In fact, it barely holds, by volume, like
half what the Miniature Cleary Mugs do !!

Pair of Miniature Crested Belleek Mugs !! 

                City of Dublin on a Cleary Mug and
        Crest of Portstewart on a ‘Coral Handle Ivory’ Mug !!

I know that we didn’t venture thru Dublin this afternoon,
but I have an excellent reason for displaying its Crest
here !!


HINT : At BOTH the Miniature Cleary Mugs !!

Upon CLOSE examination, one will ascertain that the
City of Dublin Crest is positioned ‘OVER’ the underlying
flowers (forget-me-nots ??) on the surface of the mug,
where-as, the Town of Portrush Crest is placed on a
surface which, has been ‘smoothed’ off, distinctly for
the purpose of the placement of a crest !!

I would have to suspect that this ‘improvement’, i.e.,
utilizing a flat surface, was a later design improvement
on the Pottery’s mold, to not only simplify the
application of the background decal, but also to
facilitate the ease of colouring these decals !!

Just another of those Belleek mysteries !! The more
Belleek you see, the more questions arise !!

Happy Belleeking and I hope to see and visit with
many of you at our Convention !!


For those of you I've 'lost contact' with, if you
WERE receiving my Newslettre and have NOT
received one in a bit, it's MOST probably due to a
Change in YOUR E-mail ID !! Post me, i.e., E-mail,
your current ID and I'll get you back on my list !!

If you read my Newslettres regularly and DID NOT
receive an E-mail notification of this Newslettre,
PLEASE just drop me an E-mail and I’ll be sure to
get you BACK onto my Circulation list !! THANKS !!

Of course, if you’re NOT currently on my List and
would LIKE to be in on my Mailing List, ALL you need
do is to drop me a SHORT note indicating 'that you
would like automatic notification of new Newslettres' !!
And, BINGO, I'll ADD you to my list and you'll begin
receiving upcoming Newslettre notifications !!


Del E. Domke, Belleek Consultant
16142 N.E. 15th. Street

Bellevue,  WA    98008-2711

Telephone :  1 (425) 746-6363

Message :    1 (425) 746-6363
FAX :        1 (425) 746-6363
E-mail :     delyicious@comcast.net
Web-site :  The Beauty and Romance of Irish Belleek
  (or) :