Mill Cove Gallery
West Cork’s beautiful Beara Peninsula – situated close to the southern end of the Wild Atlantic Way driving route – seems to be something of a hotbed for Irish creativity. Mill Cove Gallery is just one of several well-known galleries and art studios in the vicinity, but it has a particularly strong reputation for ceramics. In recent years, this gallery has published the only books on the market about Irish ceramic sculpture, and it proudly represents more than 65 ceramic artists – apparently the most of any gallery in the country.
Another pottery shop on the Beara Peninsula – this time in the quaint village of Adrigole, beneath a mountain known as Hungry Hill – Adrigole Arts is a well-stocked crafts shop that has been voted one of Ireland’s best. As well as textiles, jewellery, and woodwork, they keep a first-rate selection of Irish-made pottery here, including pieces made by renowned Irish potter Nicholas Mosse. Also represented is Wexford-based Paul Maloney Pottery and the work of Kilkenny’s Rosemarie Durr.
Adrigole Arts, Adrigole, County Cork, Ireland, +353 27 60234
Having trained under the lauded East Cork artist Stephen Pearce, Helen Ennis is now a celebrated ceramicist in her own right. At her studio in Durrus, County Cork, she makes functional items – such as butter dishes, cream jugs and flatware – inspired by the calming coastal scenery around her. The country’s best design shops, such as the Irish Design Shop in her home city of Dublin, stock her pieces, and Helen’s peaceful studio is open for visits year-round. Anyone is welcome to come and watch her at work.
Dunbeacon Pottery, Dunbeacon, Durrus, County Cork, Ireland, +353 27 61036
The Craft Shop, Bantry
The Craft Shop in Bantry is a local institution, having been in operation for more than 40 years. Owner Christine handpicks Irish artists and designers to spotlight in her treasure trove of a store, such as the German-born potter Marianne Klopp – with a studio in nearby Ardgroom, on the northern side of the Beara Peninsula – and Geoffrey Healy from Wicklow, who makes nature-inspired pots designed as meditation tools.
Set in idyllic surroundings near the market town of Macroom, Coolavokig Pottery is one of the more charming studios on this list. This workshop was first set up in the late 70s by Robb Bradstock, who soon joined forces with fellow potter Meredith Flandreau. The duo make handmade pottery in a wood-fired kiln that they claim was the first of its kind in Ireland when it was constructed in 1977, based on the design of a traditional Japanese climbing kiln. Their work comes in a variety of coloured glazes.
Etain Hickey Collections
Based close to the award-winning town of Clonakilty, the much-loved Etain Hickey Collections shop comprises a carefully curated assortment of the best of art and craft made locally in West Cork. As well as her own decorative ceramics – made at the Rossmore Country Pottery studio she shares with the potter Jim Turner – Hickey champions artists like Sarah Farrelly, who won the Etain Hickey Award in the 2014 Irish Ceramic Awards.
Seasoned potter Jane Forrester’s studio showroom just outside Bandon is filled with all of her best work, from the ovenproof stoneware Lavender range to seasonal collections. Forrester has been making pots and tableware for four decades, and her store is appropriately brimming with pieces that are both elegant and useful. Visits to her adjoining workshop are also available by appointment.
Apple Cottage, Ardkitt East, County Cork, Ireland, +353 23 884 7843
The Coachhouse Gallery, Kinsale
The Coachhouse Gallery at the Kinsale Pottery and Arts Centre is a spacious and modern exhibition space in the eaves of a converted coach house, on the grounds of the Ballinacurra House estate. The gallery is used to show the works of makers like sculptural ceramicist Adrian Wistreich, while the pottery next door in the stables runs regular courses and workshops.
Stephen Pearce Pottery
East Cork’s Shanagarry Pottery was originally established by Philip Pearce during the 1950s, before being taken over by his son Stephen, who also established his own unique brand. Today, Stephen Pearce designs are renowned across the world, and items are still made using clay sourced from a nearby river in Cork. Classic, perfectly made and timeless, pieces you buy here will last a lifetime.
The Ballymaloe Shop
The shop at Ballymaloe House is run by Wendy Whelan, eldest daughter of the foodie haven’s matriarch, Myrtle Allen. Calling itself ‘both a kitchen shop and a craft shop, and much more’, this farm building-turned-store sells pottery by Irish designers such as Nicholas Mosse, as well as items made at the UK’s Burleigh Pottery, dating back to 1889.