House of Waterford Crystal

Top choice factory in Waterford City

This large modern complex combines a retail shop and cafe with a factory offering a tour that shows how world-famous Waterford crystal is produced. The highlight is the blowing room where you can watch skilled artisans transform blobs of red-hot molten glass into delicate crystalware. The tour ends, inevitably, in the shop, where you can wonder at the twinkling displays that range from a €30 bottle coaster to a €30,000 crystal version of Cinderella's carriage.

The first Waterford glass factory was established at the western end of the riverside quays in 1783. Centuries later, after the boom of the 1980s and 1990s, the company fell on hard times and in 2009 was purchased by an American investment firm. Today around 60,000 pieces are made annually in Ireland, around 55% of the total output; the remainder is manufactured in Europe to strict Waterford standards.