An exciting project in Coalisland is introducing glass cutting skills to a whole new generation of craftspeople.
As lockdown ended, Tyrone Crafted Glass, a community based glassworks, fitted out and opened a new work space and display area in the Coalisland Enterprise Centre, Dungannon Road. The local glassworks are now offering one-to-one training in glass cutting and, with strict Covid precautions in place, they have been able to begin weekly tutorials for four eager apprentices.
The training has been supported by a series of bursaries provided by Lough Neagh Partnership through The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Great Place Scheme, with additional support from Mid Ulster District Council. The Partnership are currently delivering a project called “Coalisland and East Tyrone: Historical Manufacturing Base of Mid Ulster” which focuses on the industrial heritage of this region. The first glass factory in Ireland was established near Newmills, Co. Tyrone in 1771 by a group of glassmakers from Bristol. More recently, the Tyrone Crystal factory was founded by Fr Austin Eustace which attracted international acclaim for the high quality work it produced.
Gary Currie, Tyrone Crafted Glass, thanked Lough Neagh Partnership and National Lottery players for their generous funding. “This support is very welcome and we’re extremely grateful. It has helped our group to bring glasswork back to Tyrone and I’ve been impressed with the work of our new glass cutters. This year marks the 250th anniversary of glassmaking in the area and, to celebrate the occasion, plans are underway for a heritage and glass education event later this year. I’m also excited to say that Phase 2 of work at Tyrone Crafted Glass will see a furnace being installed and we will be able to offer additional training in glassblowing.”
Conor Jordan, Chairman of Lough Neagh Partnership, said: “We are very pleased to be able to contribute to the work of Tyrone Crafted Glass. We hope that by offering these training bursaries in glass cutting, it will provide each individual with the skills and confidence to turn their passion for glass working into a life-long commitment to this traditional craft or even a new career.”
Paul Mullan, Director, Northern Ireland, The National Lottery Heritage Fund said:
“We’re proud to support this project, thanks to National Lottery players. It’s a great way to explore the local heritage in County Tyrone, as well as pick up new skills in the ancient craft of glass cutting. We know that giving people a chance to have a closer understanding and relationship to their heritage reaps many benefits, and is something we are proud to fund.”
For more information on “Coalisland & East Tyrone: Historical Manufacturing Base of Mid Ulster”, please contact Keith Beattie, Heritage Officer, Lough Neagh Partnership, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: 028 7941 7941.