Stories of Arklow Pottery

During summer 2022 the Arklow Pottery Heritage Project team hosted two public events in Arklow Library where those with a connection to Arklow Pottery were invited to ‘Take a Trip Down Memory Lane’.  There was much reminiscing!  Stories were shared, photos were poured-over, and memorabilia passed around.

Some of those in attendance kindly agreed to be interviewed on camera so that their stories and memories could be recorded. We would like to thank each of the participants for giving their time so generously and for Michael Fortune of for facilitating these recordings.  With thanks also to Arklow Maritime Museum and the Arklow Bay Hotel for use of their venues.

We hope you enjoy this video series.

Breda Tyrrell

Breda Tyrrell (nee Forde) started working in Arklow Pottery 1954 at the age of 14. She had attended The Arklow Technical Institute where they had a training program in preparation for a job in the factory.  She started in the Decorating department as a Lithographer, working on the factory line on piece work.

After marrying Breda stopped working and went on to have four children, before she re-joined Arklow Pottery in 1971 when her children were grown and in school.

Breda fondly remembers the social side of the Pottery – there was always someone getting married or having a baby!

Listen to Breda’s memories of her time at Arklow Pottery.

John Gilbert

John Gilbert began his career in Arklow Pottery in 1949 at the age of 15 years. He started out in the Clay Department and in Mouldings.

After about 10 years he moved to the printing department.  John was one of the first machinist to be trained on the brand-new Murry Machine, which was taking over the Engraving department. The Murry Machine was a new state of the art German machine that industrialised the printing process.

Hear John’s memories from his time in Arklow Pottery.

Thady O’Brien

Thady O’Brien started work at Arklow Pottery in 1954 at the age of 17 years.  He was a talented craftsman and enjoyed working with his hands.

During his time in the Pottery, Thady went to Stock-on-Trent as an apprentice engraver and he subsequently worked as an engineer.

Hear Thady reminisce about his fond memories of the Potteries.

John Rowan

John Rowan started working at Arklow Pottery at the age of 14 as messenger boy in 1963.  He remained with the Pottery until its eventual closure in 1998, moving through the ranks to the Moulding Department.

John has some great memories to share with us in this video.

Francis Lenehan

Francis Lenehan started work in Arklow Pottery in 1959 at the age of 14 years old as a messenger boy.  He worked there for 30 years on and off, each time on returning to work there, working in a different department.

Tune in to hear Francis speak about life in Arklow Pottery.

Margret Mordaunt

Margaret joined Arklow Pottery in the 1960’s at the age of 14, where she worked in Decorating.   As was the norm, she left this employment for a time when she got married and had children but returned to work in both Arklow & Noritake once her children were in secondary school.

Margaret still has the set she was given when Arklow Pottery closed down in 1998.

Michael Foley 

Michael Foley began work in 1975 in his mid 20’s, working for both Arklow and Noritake.  He worked as Financial Controller as part of the management team at a time when some 500 employees for Arklow Pottery and another 500 employees for Noritake were being paid.

Hear Michael speak about the fascinating cultural changes that took place during the Noritake era.

Patricia Nugent

Patricia Nugent worked as a decorator in Arklow Pottery from the age of 16.

She worked in the factory from 1972 and was there on the last day operations in 1998.

Listen to some of Patricia’s memories.

Jim Rees

Jim Rees is an historian and an author, and he currently works in the Arklow Maritime Museum.  Jim also worked for both Arklow Pottery and Noritake with three years’ service in each.

Hear Jim’s take on life in Arklow Pottery, as well as his views on the wider influence the local economy and society.


These videos have been produced for the Arklow Pottery Heritage Project and should not be copied or reproduced without permission.


Every attempt has been made to ensure accuracy of this information on this website. The content of oral history interviews is personal, experiential, and interpretive because, by its nature, it relies on the memories, perceptions, and opinions of individuals.

Interviews should not be understood as statements of fact and opinions are not endorsed by the Arklow Pottery Heritage Project or the Heritage Council.

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