All eyes will be on the White House this Thursday when the Taoiseach presents US President, Donald J. Trump with a crystal bowl of shamrock for the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. The tradition of the shamrock presentation ceremony stretches back over 60 years to 1953, with the first crystal bowl carrying the shamrock presented to President John F. Kennedy in the early 1960s.
This year the Taoiseach’s office selected the crystal craft business Criostal na Rinne in the Waterford Gaeltacht of An Rinn, to make this special handmade piece. Eamonn Terry, owner and founder of Criostal na Rinne designed and cut the crystal bowl.
A master craftsman glass cutter with over 45 years’ experience in his chosen craft, Eamonn explains the inspiration behind his design. “The design of the bowl is inspired by the artwork from the Book of Kells, one of Ireland’s greatest cultural treasures”.
The top of the bowl is scalloped to show the brilliance, shine and versatility of the medium of crystal. The principal design pattern is a series of deep intersecting trinity knots, an iconic symbol of Ireland. Polished shamrocks are engraved into panels on the bowl to mark the occasion and an uncut panel is engraved with the inscription. Near the base interwoven Celtic lace cuts represent the strong ties between Ireland and the United States of America.
Speaking about his craft Eamonn said, “I wanted to showcase our local craft traditions by drawing on our rich heritage for this special piece which also has a lot of tradition attached to it”. “I hope when people see the shamrock bowl they will want to visit the studio and experience for themselves a demonstration of the craftsmanship that goes into making hand cut crystal”.
After learning his trade in Waterford Crystal, where he rose to the position of master craftsman glass cutter, Eamonn founded Criostal na Rinne in 1987. He is no stranger to making one-off commissions of this kind, having made crystal pieces that have been presented to the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, former President Mary McAleese, HRH Prince Edward, 2nd Duke of Kent and former Mayor of Chicago, Richard Daly.
Eamonn hopes that the international exposure from this special commission will help raise the appeal of cut crystal and revitalise the craft itself for a younger generation. “If the business can grow, apprentices can be trained in the coming years and the craft passed on into the future”.