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Behind the Magic: Meet the Ringmaster

Sarah-Jane Cleary talks about the escapades from stumbling blocks to stepping stones of building Ireland's Premiere Vintage Experience.


Sarah Jane Cleary is an entrepreneur, avid antiquarian, artist & tour de force in Waterford, as the ambassador for the Cultural Quarter. 


After her third child, Sarah Jane found her working world start to shrink, something she was determined to change. With a trajectory that went from baby steps to full sprints, she submerged herself in the world of business, never forgetting the creative flare that lit a fire in her stomach. 


After several years of the hard grind, pregnant with baby number four, Sarah Jane applied for, and won RTE’s Dragons Den with Beauty Team: Ireland’s first structured network of makeup artists, stylists and photographers. Despite the success of the business, Sarah Jane was keen to embark on her next adventure, one where she could explore the world of the old and bring forward new ideas. 


Enter The Port of Waterford Building, proudly watching the world go by on 2 Great George’s Street.


With her love of history at the helm, it seemed the romance between the three hundred year old bricks and one of Waterford’s freshest entrepreneurial voices was about to be matched, with the creation of The Parlour Vintage Tea Rooms. A dream that started with a kettle and a sink, since its inception, Sarah Jane has grown The Parlour to be a nationally renowned experience of the arts, the fantastical, the magical, the historical, and the absolutely delicious. Having hosted celebrities from all over the world for afternoon tea, as well as swarms of tourists looking to get a view of the unique building, it continues to be the centre of trade in Waterford, exchanging brilliant ideas as currency for the rebirth of the little city sitting on the Suir. 

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