Published: August 18th 2011August 16th 2011
Taking a minute after 'Kissing the Blarney' to catch up on news from home! The actual 'Kissing' hapens on the level at the top of the picture.
KILLARNEY TO WATERFORD
Today we headed across the bottom of Ireland from Killarney to Waterford (famous for its crystal) Our first visit was to Blarney Castle, from there we stopped off at Waterford Crystal for a factory tour and ended our night being entertained at a tiny Irish Pub in the small coastal town of Dunmore East.
We had the option of kissing the blarney stone and we thought why not! So we climbed up through Blarney Castle (another narrow spiral staircase), we had to be careful with our footing as the steps are authentic to when the castle was in its prime. – not smooth, very narrow and very steep. We climbed to the top of the castle (along with thousands of others – there was a constant stream from bottom to top and down again). Walked across the turrets (great view), then we had to lie on our back on a plastic sheet, slide out and kiss the stone. Technically I think mine was more of a head butt than a kiss! So now we can say we’ve been to Ireland and kissed the Blarney Stone. Next it was off to Waterford Crystal – a
A Waterford Master Craftsman at work
very famous crystal manufacturing company.
Waterford is a huge name in crystal but the company as it was known went bust a couple of years ago. They have been bought by a venture capital company completely restructured; as a result most of their manufacturing is done in other parts of Europe (Czech Republic and Poland) and China. They still manufacture their specialist on off pieces in Waterford and therefore we were able to do a factory tour and see some of these pieces being made. From the heating and blowing of the crystal pieces, to the cutting of individual patterns – it was fascinating. The Melbourne Cup trophy is Waterford Crystal.
After the tour we had a look around the showroom, there were pieces valued at $30,000+ (we didn’t buy any of those! We did get a vase though, although not one that would make the Waterford Crystal purists happy. Most Waterford Crystal is clear, intricate and finely cut, our vase is coloured red top to orange base with a very simple pattern and clean lines, but I really like it.
DUNMORE EAST – CEILIDH (Knees Up!)
Tonight we travelled out to the small seaside village
Geniune Irish entertainment
Irish singer/commedian Ritchie Roberts has everyone singing and laughing the night away.
of Dunmore East, another very pretty town! We picked up a local guide on the way through and had a quick tour of the village and port (there is a small fishing fleet operating out of the harbour, we saw one of the crab boats come in with a very good catch). From the protective wall you can look across the harbour to the world’s oldest intact and operational lighthouse (800 years old). There were also five 300+ year old thatched roof dwellings in the village, one of these just happened to be the Hayes Hotel (stroke of luck there!)
The Pub was tiny, there were thirty six of us and we pretty much filled the Pub. Our tour guide turned into Ritchie Roberts musician/comedian, we sung along to some of the Irish classics and were thoroughly entertained. A great night of small town (in the best possible way) Irish entertainment.