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Published: November 10th 2017
Waterford Crystal Visitors Centre
Would you like a clock, only €250k
Geo: 52.2594, -7.10697
So today I went for a walk to explore Waterford on foot. It was pretty easy because there isn't much to see on a Sunday. It would appear Ireland is one of those quaint places that honours the old tradition, Sunday is a rest day. The first place I came across was Waterford Crystal. The company was first started in 1783. The owners set up camp in Waterford because Ireland had no tax on luxury items at the time. A tax was introduced in the 1850's and the owners shut up shop. It was re-opened by a couple of Czechs in the 1950's.
Now I have seen the factory I understand why the crystal is so expensive. The production process is really hands on. To be a master-cuter at Waterford a person must apprentice for five years. A further three years study is to be completed during which time the apprentice must be able to re-produce the "apprentice bowl". They are given three chances. If they fail to reproduce the bowl they must do the whole apprenticeship again. All the pieces are blown. The glass blowers have shaping tools to ensure they get the right shape and size. That's
a lot of time working with tubes and 1000 degree glass. After the glass is blown and cooled, it is marked and sent to the master cutters with a three digit code. The code represents the design and the master cutters have memorised all 150 designs.
From Waterford Crystal I walked down the street to Reginald's tower. Its a medieval defensive tower, standing on a street corner all on its lonesome. All the buildings behind it are modern and this poor little tower just doesn't fit in. Originally built by the vikings and extended by the normans, the tower is the only building to be named after a Viking king, Ragnall, which somehow translates to Reginald. The tower now has a Viking museum in it, however it was getting close to lunchtime and I think I'm over climbing towers now (Damn you Clifford!) so the need for food won out.
After lunch I returned to my accommodation to collect my car and head for Kilkenny Castle. I had noticed signs for it on the way to Waterford yesterday but felt I didn't have the time to drop in. It was a really cool castle. Firstly, HUGE!!! Not that size matters
of course. The tour guides were really cool. As I walked through the castle there were guides in various rooms explaining the purpose of the rooms, the furnishings etc. the Castle was home to the Butler family for 600 years. They moved out in the 1930's when the property tax became an issue. Fun fact, they still owned the property, but because they didn't live there it wasn't taxable. They held the land until the 1960's when they "sold" it to the people of Ireland for the paltry sum of £50.
After the castle it was time to make my way home before the storm set in. I decided to take the country roads this time because the freeway is boring. I was rewarded with seeing some beautiful Irish farmland, stone fences and hedges all along the roads and happened across an old abandoned abbey. Jerpoint abbey was the name of it. I'm cruisin down this road out in the middle of I don't know where the hell I am, and I see these turrets rising up over the trees. Five minutes later I happen across this old ruin. I nearly crashed the car twice trying to find a decent
place to park so I could get some happy snaps. Ireland is awesome, walk round the corner, bang! a piece of history for ya. Love it
Now if some of my photo's seem a little commercial, there is a reason for that. But you'll have to stay tuned to tomorrows blog to find out....unless you're on Facebook, then you'll already know
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