Waterford is by far the largest town we have been to so far. Hard to believe but this is the fourth we've explored. It's an inland seaport that is Ireland's oldest city.
It was founded by Vikings in 914 A.D.
It's a working city instead of the resort towns of Cobh & Kinsale. There is a lot of traffic and several small retail shops, bakeries, butchers, a marina, and even an Aldi Grocery Store.
We are staying at the Portree Guesthouse, http://www.portreeguesthouse.ie/welcome/4534298109. It's kind of a Hybrid B & B. This 300 year old building which was once the private residence of a wealthy government official has bunk rooms on the ground floor and 27 private ensuite rooms & suites on the other floors.
Certainly not 5-star the Portree is gem in the rough. The owner is very friendly and he & his family live on the premises. It's one block off the river in a quiet, but close to everything location. We were told by a third party that this was recently the site of a TV Hotel makeover show which has yet aired. The owner is working on upgrades as money & time allow.
One reason to come to Waterford was to tour the Waterford Museum of Treasures. Waterford crystal began here in 1783. It is a major source of revenue for the town. Even this time of the year we saw bus after bus drop off tourists. The company has gone through financial ups & downs even closing its doors briefly. Today it is one of two Waterford factories, the other in Poland.
We were lucky enough to grab a guided tour in between buses watching the process of making crystal from start to finish.
Because the furnaces stay lit there is an engineer on premises 24/7.
We were able to see crystal pitchers, decanters, and customer presentation pieces being made.
And those that were flawed were destroyed and the material recycled. Wendy got to "remove from inventory" a decanter, worth about $300, that was not cut properly.
But not this custom piece!
To become a Master cutter takes eight years including a 3-5 year apprenticeship.
This brief YouTube is a 48 year veteran cutter. To him, "it's not a job, it's my hobby". This is how he enjoys his day.
Custom made pieces are assembled using blocks of crystal.
The blocks are, believe it or not, glued together with Lock-title glue. They are then cut, shaped, and polished to create items like this crystal guitar. Rumor has it that it's for Bruce Springsteen, shhhh!
After a full hour touring, the tour drops you off in the retail section, surprise-surprise.
We could not resist getting a small remembrance of our trip to Waterford. Oh yes, they ship!
Down the street from the Portree is the The Grattan. Claiming to be a bar-bistro it has good reviews on Trip Advisor. We were at the end of the lunch rush giving us a quiet meal. We split two entries, one was Bangors & Mash which is English not Irish, but very good. The other a very Irish, boiled Bacon & Cabbage. Huge servings for under €10 each.
The owner & cook came by to chat and like so many people we have met was genuine, warm, funny, and had at least a few stories. Aside from the Rob Roy in Cobh, this is the friendliest pub we have been to so far. Ah, the research continues!
Tomorrow we are off to Kilkenny. There we will be staying with Corey and Nadia in their Air B & B.
Fair Winds & Quiet Anchorages,
Jeff & Wendy