It was a proud moment in Waterford’s esteemed history of glass manufacturing as, this year, the traditional bowl of shamrock presented to the US President on St. Patrick’s Day originated in the Crystal County.
Sean Egan of Sean Egan Art Glass had the distinction of designing and crafting the stunning piece, entitled the “Shamrock Bowl”, which was presented to President Donald Trump by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD on Thursday, March 15th, ahead of the traditional St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
The practice of presenting a bowl of shamrock to the US president dates back to 1953 when President Eisenhower accepted the gift from Ambassador Hearne. The first Taoiseach to present shamrock rather than the Ambassador was John A. Costello in 1956. The next Taoiseach was Jack Lynch in 1971, and subsequently the gift of shamrock was invariably from the Taoiseach-in-office to the President of the United States.
Sean was contacted by the Department of the Taoiseach and asked to submit some designs for the “shamrock bowl”. Having designed the shamrock bowl in 2013 Sean was determined to highlight the long-established links between Ireland and the USA.
The bowl took 40 hours to engrave using traditional age-old copper wheels to create a frosted effect and portrays an American eagle grasping an olive branch and a spray of shamrock. The eagle flies above the Irish and American flags which contain two shields, symbolising the peace and friendship between Ireland and the USA.
According to Sean the presence of the Irish tricolour on the bowl was particularly fitting as it pays homage to Waterford man, Thomas Francis Meagher, the Irish-American patriot, who flew the Irish flag for the first time in Waterford on March 7th, 1848.
“I was delighted to receive the call from the Department of the Taoiseach to create the shamrock bowl. Having had the privilege of crafting the shamrock bowl which was presented to President Obama in 2013, it was an honour to be asked again.”
“I wanted the bowl’s imagery to represent the long-standing relationship between our two countries. The USA has been a sanctuary for Irish people for hundreds of years and those who travelled brought with them a wealth of culture, music, art and language.”
Following his redundancy from Waterford Crystal in 2009, Sean established Sean Egan Art Glass and is now based in the award-winning Bishop’s Palace Museum in the heart of Waterford’s Viking Triangle. A former master engraver with 40 years’ experience, Sean has created some memorable pieces. He is renowned for his 9/11 Twin Towers commemorative sculptures, which were presented to former US Ambassador to Ireland, Dan Rooney and to the New York Fire Department and the Fighting 69th regiment.
Sean has also worked on a piece for the Boston Marathon bombing which he presented to Mayor Marty Walsh and the city of Boston in 2016.
For further information about Sean Egan Art Glass and further details about his many exciting projects visit www.seaneganartglass.com.