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The Shannon region, located in the Mid-West of Ireland, is a region of high industrial activity.  As a result of significant benefits, financial and infrastructural, offered by the regional development organisation, Shannon Development, many European and US multinationals have chosen the region as the location for their operations.  In addition the availability of a highly educated workforce is a significant contributing factor to the successful economic development of the region.

Although the Shannon Region is not often recognised as an important area of ceramics activity, it is the only region in Ireland which provides education and training of ceramists and has significant industrial ceramics activity as well as an industrial R&D organisation, which services the developmental needs of the industrial sector.  

Industrial Ceramic Activity


Unlike many of the other regions involved in the EUROCERAM programme, industrial ceramic activity in the Shannon region is not dominated by a single industrial sector.  Such diversity of activities across a range of industrial sectors is typical of industrial activity in ceramics and glass throughout Ireland.








In the Shannon region over 20 companies are involved in the production of ceramic or ceramic related materials in the following sectors:

                  Hard Materials [Abrasives, Wear Materials, Cutting Tools]
De Beers Industrial Diamond Division
Boart Longyear
Mohawk Europa Ltd.
                  Biomaterials/Healthcare Applications
Stryker Howmedica Osteonics
Limerick Dental Co. Ltd.
                 Engineering Applications
Aughinish Alumina
John Crane Sealol Ltd.
                Electric/Electronic Application
Molex S.A.
                 Glass and Glass Products
Carey Bros. Ltd
Tipperary Glass Ltd.
                 Traditional Ceramics
Irish Dresden Ltd.
Irish Country Pottery
                 Other Applications
Organic Lens Manufacturing Ltd.
Beru Manufacturing Ltd.
Industrial Research and Development




Materials Ireland Research Centre (MIRC)

The MIRC is a commercial research and development consultancy service in materials technologies.  The mission of the centre is to carry out industry driven R&D for manufacturers and end users (in Ireland and abroad) of ceramics, glasses, hard materials, metals, polymers, composites and biomaterials. 

The centre offers support to industry by providing both the facilities and necessary expertise to carry out research and development, analytical and technical service in advanced materials.  It is the only research centre offering such a service to the ceramics and glass industries.

The centre acts as a bridge between the University of Limerick, where it is located, and industry by providing a single point of access for industry to the relevant technologies under development in the university.



Two institutions, the University of Limerick (UL) (www.ul.ie)and the Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) (www.lit.ie/), carry out education programmes for ceramists and material scientists in the region.




University of Limerick

At the University of Limerick, the training and education of industrial ceramists is carried out by the Department of Materials Science and Technology (www.ul.ie/~mst) as part of the studies leading to the degree of BSc in Biomedical and Advanced Materials.

Modules studied as part of the course include:

Ceramic Science and Technology

Glass Technology

Artificial hip

An important part of the programmes at UL is the ‘Co-Operative Education’ period in which the student spends at least one semester gaining work experience in an industrial environment.

The combination of this work experience period and the applied nature of the academic course in Materials Science have resulted in all Materials Science graduates finding employment in their chosen industrial sectors.

The MST Department is also one of the most active departments within the University in terms of postgraduate training and research.  In the last five years over 30 MSc and PhD degrees have been awarded to students in the department.  Research topics have included:

Ceramic Nanocomposites for Wear and Abrasion Applications

Oxynitride Glass-Ceramics

Electronic Varistor Materials

Co-Firing of Electroceramic Materials

Corrosion of Ceramic Materials

Si3N4 and SiAlON Ceramics

Bioceramic Materials

Development of Glass Ionomer Cements for Dental Applications

Apatite-Mullite Glass-Ceramics as Potential Implant Materials

Apatite Bioceramics

Cements Based on Gasifier Slags for Construction

Development of Machinable Glass-Ceramics

Development of Ultra Low Fusing Dental Porcelains

PMMA Bone Cements

Materials and Surface Science Institute



A recent development at the University of Limerick has been the establishment of the Materials and Surface Science Institute (MSSI) (www.ul.ie/~mssi).

The mission of the Materials and Surface Science Institute is to provide a world-class centre of excellence generating state-of-the-art fundamental research on topics of industrial significance in the fields of surface science and materials including ceramics. 



Limerick Institute of Technology

Training of ceramists for the traditional sector is carried out at the Limerick Institute of Technology (www.lit.ie) as part of the Diploma in Design in Product Design course managed by the School of Art and Design.

The course is concerned with the training and education of graduates for the Ceramic industry, which comprises the Craft Board Studio sector and Industrial Manufacturing in Tableware, Giftware, etc.

The ceramic programme includes practical manufacturing processes, throwing, model and mouldmaking, slipcasting, surface pattern decoration, clay and glaze technology, kiln firing, drawing and the History of Art and Design.