|Mom and Dad stand in the center of the Viking Triangle, the area of Waterford first settled by the Vikings in 914 A.D.
|the Viking Triangle
|The Waterford Showroom
|Standing in the reflection of a Waterford Crystal frame.
|Custom wood molds for blowing the glass
|blowing the glass into the mold
|checking for imperfections
|cooling and shaping of the blown glass
|trimming the glass before marking
|drawing the marks on the glass before etching.
|Dad holds a replica of a football used for the College Championship trophy
|etching the glass. this man has been doing this for 35 years
|custom chess pieces
|Reginald’s Tower, the only monument in Ireland named in honor of a Viking. This is located at the apex of the "Viking Triangle"
|The Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity....built in 1793, its Ireland's oldest Catholic Cathedral
|We saw this flyer all over Scotland and now in Ireland
|The Clock Tower erected in 1861 stand on the River Suir
|Waterford is built along the River Suir
|The Celtic Sea at Annestown Beach
|boats don't float when the tide is out.
|A view of Tankardstown, a 19th century Copper Mining complex
|Rock of Cashel
|the bottom of the High Cross. The top was hit by lightening and fell.
|Rock of Cashel Cathedral
|Hall of the Vicars Choral, a 15th century house that you walk through to enter the Rock of Cashel
|downstairs in this house is the original St. Patrick's High Cross on display
|The Cathedral with the replica of St. Patrick's Cross to the left
|St. Patrick's Cross Replica. Tradition held that the kings of Cashel and Munster were inaugurated at the base of the cross.
|Inside Cormac's Chapel which was undergoing renovation. It was built in 1127.
|The renovators are attempting to restore this beautiful and brightly painted fresco on the arched ceiling.
|The builders carved a likeness of their head and incorporated them into the building to signify their involvement in the building of the chapel.
|the Round Tower seen through the archway inside the Cathedral
|the Cathedral was massive!
|a tomb chest located inside of the Cathedral
|Look how tiny Mom and Dad are.
|Hoare Abbey, a ruined Cistercian monastery outside the walls of the Rock of Cashel
|The Round Tower is the oldest building dating back to c.1100
|the cutest little thing....a Black and White Wagtail
|“The Cashel Dancers” by Rowan Gillespie 1991
After a terrible night's sleep and (in my opinion) an average to below average breakfast at the hotel, we walked through Waterford to the Waterford Crystal Factory. This is the new factory that opened in 2010. Along the way, we discovered some information about the Vikings that we didn't know. Waterford is the oldest city in Ireland and a Viking founded Waterford in 914 and it grew to a city in 917! We discovered this when we walked through an area known as the "Viking Triangle". This triangular area was once the site of the original city center, but it has moved out and grown now. This area also contains several of the important historical buildings. We spent some time in the Waterford Crystal showroom before our tour began. The tour was really informative and we thought it was so cool that they built a working factory in such a way that tours could walk around and watch what is really going on. We observed the blowing of the glass, the cutting of the "foot" off the glass and the marking and cutting of the crystal pattern into the glass all with a very knowledgeable young man as our guide. We almost had a private tour except for one other lady that joined us. We were most amazed by the cutting of the pattern which is done by hand. The "artist" that we saw has been doing it for 34 years and wanted us to come all around the back of him to watch. It was great to get up close and personal and really see what they were doing. This factory makes all of the custom and specialty items such as the Times Square New Years ball, various athletic awards, people's choice awards, etc and etc. They also make some everyday items but a lot of that is made in other factories. When we came out of the tour, there was a FULL tour bus unloading and coming in for a tour. We were so thankful we made it in before them! We walked along the main street of Waterford looking in storefronts and then had an early lunch at Berfranks cafe on the waterfront. I don't know if I was just really hungry or not, but my lunch was delicious! We all ate some form of sandwich, and mine was a panini with chicken, cheddar cheese and garlic mayonnaise. Very simple, but yummy. Mom and Dad had something similar, but their sandwich came with brie cheese instead of cheddar and it originally came with stuffing on it which I left off of mine. Danny had an open faced chicken caesar sandwich on brown soda bread and liked his lunch as well. After lunch we took a quick peak into The Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, which is Ireland's oldest Catholic cathedral. It was originally built in 1793 and was refurbished in 1977. More work was done in the 1990's and then in the 2000's to make it into what we saw today. It was really very lovely and now has 10 Waterford Crystal Chandeliers hanging in it that were a gift from the Waterford company in 1977. Across the street was a little chocolate shop that we went into to get a couple of pieces of chocolate. I have come to the conclusion that my affinity for fine dark chocolate did not come from my Scotch/Irish heritage, but must have come from the French side of my family. The Scotch and Irish do not seem to have an interest in good chocolate and don't seem to make any good chocolate. At least we didn't find any and those who know me know that I looked really hard. We loaded up the car after that and headed out of town bound for a peek at the Copper Coast of Ireland. The Copper Coast stretches from Tramore to Dungarvan along the Southeast shore of Ireland along the Celtic Sea. It is called the Copper Coast because of the Copper ore that was mined from it's soil. The green, blue, and gold colors in the cliffs come from the ore in the soil We only drove as far as Bunmahon, which was halfway, before we left the coastline to head north. The views we saw as we drove in and out of alcoves on the winding road were breathtaking. A picture will never replace what we saw with our eyes. We were able to leave the car at one point and get down on the beach just after the tide went out. It was all just gorgeous. We left the beach and headed north toward Cashel, our last destination of the trip. This was a little challenging as somehow I managed to turn off the data on Danny's phone and we lost our GPS! I haven't a clue how I did it, but we managed with our map and turning around a couple of times to get us near there before Danny realized what had happened. Silly me! What did we EVER do before GPS? I am afraid that we are raising a whole generation of kids that won't know how to read a paper map! Despite all of our uncertainty, we managed to get to our destination, the Rock of Cashel, nine minutes before they stopped selling tickets! "The Rock of Cashel was the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for several hundred years prior to the Norman invasion. In 1101, the King of Munster, Muirchertach Ua Briain donated his fortress on the Rock (high point of the city) to the Church. The picturesque complex has a character of its own and is one of the most remarkable collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture to be found anywhere in Europe. Few remnants of the early structures survive; the majority of buildings on the current site date from the 12th and 13th centuries." (taken from wikipedia) The oldest building is the Round Tower that was completely preserved. Cormac's chapel was the chapel of King Cormac Mac Carthaigh and was undergoing an intense preservation process so we only got to see a tiny part of it. The Cathedral is the largest building and was built between 1235 and 1270. It was looted and many artifacts destroyed by English troops during the Irish Confederate War in 1647. In 1749, the main cathedral roof was ordered removed by the current Archbishop and still is a source of contention today. We were really pleased to be able to see this last piece of Irish history before we went back to Dublin. These ruins were the most complete of any we had seen on this trip. Our ride back to Dublin took about two hours and we are settled in the Holiday Inn Express near the airport. Our rooms are much better and quieter than we had last night so we all expect a better sleep. We ate supper next door in the Crowne Plaza Bar and it was really good. Danny is returning the rental car to the airport after doing a fantastic job driving us all over everywhere in this backwards driving country. Of course the Scottish and Irish will all tell you that they drive on the "correct" side of the road modeled by the Romans. The Roman soldiers marched on the left side of the road so they were always ready to draw their swords with their right hand. Our guide Juliet in Scotland told us that story. She said she didn't know what happened to left handed soldiers. She guesses they all got killed! Tomorrow our flight leaves at 10 and we will be on our journey home. We've had a lot of fun, taken in a whole lot and learned more about the places and people we come from. Looking forward to my next adventure....until then....