By Lisa-Marie Griffith
George and William Penrose opened their glassworks at Waterford in 1783. For over two hundred and twenty-five years the city has been home to some of the finest craftsmen in Ireland who were producing some of the world’s most beautiful crystal. You would have to have been living on another planet to have missed the news of the factory closure earlier this year. I was on a visit home to Waterford last weekend and popped into the Granary, the cities history museum. One of their exhibits on the history of Waterford Crystal reminded me that the factory closure is not just a financial loss that will affect the community but a huge cultural loss to Ireland. The growth of Waterford and the history of the city is linked closely to the Glass Factory and as a proud Déise I will have to admit it is hard to believe that it is gone. Waterford has grown with the expansion of the Glass industry in Ireland since the seventeenth century and almost every building and home in the city proudly displays the produce of the city’s most famous export. I took a few photos from the exhibition to illustrate that the closure of Waterford Crystal is a huge loss to Irish craftsmanship and that an important aspect of the econcomic life of Ireland is now history.