Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Day 6 – Happy Birthday Mary; To Waterford!

Our Irish Holiday: Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6
Day 7Day 8Day 9Day 10Day 11Day 12 

We were up at the crack of noon!  We must have been tired because my eyes did not open until 8:00 am.  Perhaps I have discovered the secret: whiskey sours make you sleep!

We opened the curtains and saw a magnificent Irish morning.

What is a huge Irish spider called? Paddy long legs.

It was a wonderful day with spots of rain here and there.

We got ready, and I thoroughly enjoyed the shower with the overhead rain fixture and the heated tile floors. We then had the hotel’s complimentary breakfast and headed downstairs to the Hound at 9:15 am. We need our strength for Mr. Road’s Wild Ride Part III.

Just like at Disneyland, we were off in a cloud of dust.

Waterford was about 30 miles from the estate.  The House of Waterford is in Waterford, Ireland, a Viking city built in 914 AD.  This esteemed factory is the beating heart of the world’s luxury crystal manufacture and is where our most intricate, authentic, and masterful crystal pieces come to life.

Thirty-three minutes as the crow flies, 90 minutes as we drive!

Before going on the road, we had breakfast at the Hound.

Breakfast at the Hound.

We hit the road at 10:00 am with an 11:00 am appointment at Waterford.  We got the GPS to work with the car, so it was easy to get there.

On the road again.

Mary was an excellent driver, although I had to notify her when the speedometer exceeded the indicated speed limit.

Mary was serious for 33 minutes and had a death grip on the steering wheel.

We rolled into Waterford with  15 minutes to spare.  Some friendly folks pointed us to the parking lot, and we checked in at 10:58, right on time.  We had a private tour with our docent, who I kept in stitches during the tour.

The first stop was an all-crystal grandfather clock.

We took a VIP tour with our docent.

We passed through two sets of security doors and entered the manufacturing area. The crystal had just come out of the oven at 2000 degrees.

The molds are made from local beechwood. The insides of the molds are burnt where the hot glass touches them. The wood is soaked in water between uses and lasts just a few days before it has to be replaced with a new mold.

The crystal is formed using beechwood molds held by the glassblower.  The glass is shaped and then expanded by blowing into the pipe.  After that, the glass is reshaped and reheated.  This entire process takes almost 30 minutes.  The glassblower must undergo five years of training and pass a strict test.

The molds last about five days before they are tossed.

The crystal is prepared for the glass cutter.

The artwork is hand-ground.

The glass cutter also has to have at least five years of training.  Many of these workers have been with the company for 30-50 years!  The glass is cut by hand, and the cutters must know about fifty types of cutes.

The cutting machine has embedded diamonds.

For Robin, we asked for the price and decided we would go for a plastic one instead.

For Robin.

Some examples were available to examine. By the way, each real Waterford piece has the name WATERFORD engraved somewhere on it.

The work gets pretty detailed.

We scoured the gift shop because it was Miss Mary’s birthday, and she found what she wanted. We bought two and had them shipped back home; no suitcases for these puppies!

Mary got her birthday present: Irish coffee mugs.

As part of the VIP tour, we had tea.  This was our lunch, and we munched our way through it while sipping tea and watching people on the street.

We had tea in the adjoining tea room.

Hey, why not try a new shot?  I was outside looking for Mary to come out of the Loo and decided the reflection in the glass was interesting (the buildings, not me).

Mary used the facilities, and I experimented.

We crossed the street and went to the Medieval Museum.   It was quite well done.  Below is an actual room circa 1200s.  The stonework is pretty impressive, considering it is a thousand years old.  Note: the lighting is new!

In the basement of the Medieval Museum, it was dark and dank.

They recreated the clothes of the medieval folks and had an extensive collection of vestments used by the clergy.

Regular clothes of the 12th century.

We like to dress for any occasion.

We dressed for the occasion.

We only had time to visit one of the five museums, but we could have stayed there all day.

There were five museums in the complex; we went to one.

Heading home, we traveled M9, a freeway like those we have at home.  Once we leave the freeway, the roads narrow, and we slow down to a crawl when anyone comes in the other direction.

It rained on the way home, and some streets were narrow.

Paul needed a drink (or two) back at the estate after we had the car valet parked.  Mary inspected the left-hand side of the car, and it was OK, even though a lot of Saint Anne’s Lace was trimmed along the way.

We are entering the estate.

Being in-country required us to become more Irish, so we transformed ourselves with some help from AI.

Mary got into this Irish thing.

I loved the leatherwork as it was warm and waterproof.  I traded my cane for a sword, ran into the pub, and hoisted a pint of brew.

Sir Paul is here to slay the dragon.

The Dragon Lady went to freshen up after the harrowing experience of driving.  She returned with her evening finery.

We dressed for dinner.

We stayed at the Hound from 4:30 p.m. until 10:30 p.m., partaking in various libations and having dinner with new friends Amy and Larry. They are from Northern Ireland and are on holiday.

Amy and Mary are new friends.

Larry and I joked all evening long and kept the ladies in stitches.  We even had the barkeep make us a Greyhound!  He found some grapefruit soda in the back room, and it worked.

Amy and Lar were a fun couple, and we had dinner with them at the Hound.

You know what they say:

About Paul

Just an old retired guy trying to finish out my last years on this planet. I lost my best friend and wife in early 2020. I was blessed again by reconnecting with Dr. Mary Côté, a long-time friend. Mary and I got married July 28th, 2021, and are enjoying life together and plan to spend the rest of our lives being a blessing to our friends and family.
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