Sparkling Crystal in a Harbor Town


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Published: March 23rd 2005
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Crystal FactoryCrystal FactoryCrystal Factory

Yeah, they're doing cool stuff with crystal. Like, whoa.
Well, the schoolwork is finally heating up, and I'm currently trying to finish a paper for my Contemporary Irish Writing in English course before I head off to London and Rome next week. But, of course, I want to take time out of my busier-than-a-few-weeks-ago schedule to post an update on the previous week/weekend's adventures!

Like I mentioned in my previous entry, on Saturday I went to Waterford on the Southeast coast of Ireland with Rose and Sara (from USC). Liz (who went with us to Doolin) came along as well. I actually almost missed the 10:30 bus taking us there because the city buses that run from Castletroy (the suburb I'm in) to the city centre were running behind, but I jumped on the bus to Waterford about 3 minutes before it took off-- phew! We crossed some beautiful country replete with mountains, quaint towns, and spots of farmland that reminded me a lot of the landscape of my childhood in central Illinois (Irish farmland, though, is quite a lot hillier!). We got to Waterford around 1 p.m. and decided to go immediately to the Waterford Crystal Factory (www.waterford.com and www.waterfordvisitorcentre.com)-- the biggest reason for our trip.

We
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Putting a handle on a pitcher thingy.
took a tour of the factory, of course, and the history and craft behind the making of the Waterford Crystal was quite fascinating. We even got to see glass blowers, glass cutters, and loads of shiny and glittery dishes, bowls, figurines, etc. Now, admittedly, I was never very big into oo-ing and ah-ing over glittery things, but this stuff was quite stunning. AND the amount of work the craftsmen and women put into each piece is absolutely incredible! It takes years of training, apprenticeship, and other forms of mastering the art of making great crystal before these pieces are finished. It truly is an art, and it's hard to believe that such dedication to handcrafted work still exists and is so popular today!

After our tour was done, we went back to the Waterford City Centre, shopped, and tried to dig up some food. The town itself is quite pretty, clean, and fun to hang out in. It's right on the harbor, so it was also fun to walk along the waterside. It's the oldest city in Ireland (founded by Norman vikings in the 900s, I think), but it seems to have made its way into the modern age quite well, with only a few things overtly betraying its age. Anyway, we enjoyed a nice meal at a cafe, finished our tour of the place, and headed back to Limerick. A nice daytrip overall!

Sunday, I volunteered with Rose at the the Milford House nursing home (just up the street from where I'm staying) for a Paddy's Day celebration. THAT was loads of fun. They had folks come in and play accordians and concertinas, dancers doing traditional Irish dances, and random people breaking out in song. The elderly folk there seemed to really enjoy it-- and I certainly did! The funniest thing, though, was that, as it was a party and we ARE in Ireland, when they served the residents drinks, some of them were actually alcoholic drinks. I just found that funny because I'm not too sure if they serve alcohol at nursing homes in the States, but at least I know they don't serve them at parties for the elderly daycare center I volunteer at in Raleigh. I just had a laugh at it and enjoyed the cake they served me (non-alcoholic ;-)).

As of now, I'm just working on getting some school stuff out
Waterford!Waterford!Waterford!

City Centre in Waterford, Ireland
of the way before Rachel gets into town on Tuesday. Then, it's off to Dublin, London, and Rome-- what a whirlwind that'll be! This weekend, I'm planning on going with the international society to Belfast and Dublin, which seems quite exciting, too. Well, I'm off to get some more work done-- I'll load more pictures soon (hopefully)!

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