But before I go on, I want to share one of the curious things we found visiting an "old country:" the number of times we saw something like this:
|A completely derelict stone structure in the middle of a patchwork of buildings downtown|
There were also a few sights like this, not quite derelict, but having a weathered beauty all the same.
Now. On to Waterford.
I did not realize that the fine crystal from the famous factory is all handmade. I just assumed that there were machines blowing, turning, cutting, blasting. But I was so wrong.
|Every single cut in this exquisite bowl was made by hand.|
|It starts, of course, with molten glass.|
The water being sprayed on it turns almost instantly to steam.
|And with a person at the other end of the tube,|
blowing and spinning that glass in its mould.
|It's a bear's head.|
If needed (i.e., for a vase), a separate stem is added to the blown bowl.
|None of these men looked nearly as sweaty as one would expect.|
|This would not give me much to go on, but it means something to the worker.|
|The magic begins!|
|Each cut so precise.|
|Quality inspection is important; Waterford does not sell "seconds."|
Not all of the pieces are traditional vases and bowls. Many of their custom, commissioned pieces, are whimsical. And they do keep an in-house copy of every specialty piece they make.
|Looks to me like a gigantic hummingbird feeder. Not sure I'd want to meet those hummingbirds.|
|I believe this is the in-house duplicate; I can't recall where the other one is now.|
I did see, oh, one or two things in the gift shop which I would love to have brought home as a souvenir, but the prices! (Not surprisingly, really, but still.)
|675 Euros, or about $975 Canadian|
|Our ticket for the guided tour gave each of us a replica of the ticket of an actual passenger.|
|And here was our home-to-be|
|I so wanted to ring that bell!|
|We were a group of 45 or so. Can you imagine it with more than 100?|
Our tour was animated by characters who would have been aboard the ship. One woman told of the deaths of her husband and newborn.
Following our tour, I was finally feeling well enough to enjoy a good plate of fish & chips!
|The fish was perfectly cooked!|
From Waterford, we returned to Dublin. The Book of Kells at Trinity Library had not been a part of our formal tour, but we had time to visit it that afternoon before dinner. The library was walking distance from our hotel.
I didn't take very many pictures of the intricately ornamented books, but they really were works of art. After going through a museum that explains the source of many of the books in the library, we were allowed to stroll through a very limited area upstairs.
|Old ironwork is so beautiful.|
|I must admit, my Kindle does not bring nearly the same feeling as this!|
|Pigments used in illumination (ornamentation)|
I do love, old industrial architecture.
And with that, our tour was done. Not sure where our next trip will be, but I'm looking forward to it!