Waterford, Co. Waterford : Travel Reminiscences

10 day self-drive tour of Ireland : October 2009 

Waterford was founded by Vikings in 914 and is Ireland’s oldest city.  ‘ Set in a commanding position by the estuary of the River Suir, it became southeast Ireland’s main seaport.  From the 18th century, the city’s prosperity was consolidated by local industries, including the glassworks for which Waterford is famous.’   Thinking back, I wished we spent longer in the city itself, exploring the streets.  We stayed in cities around Ireland for two nights at each place, using them as a base to travel around their surroundings, but in fact we didn’t see much of each city, except the area within walking distance of our hotels.   Most hotels hubby chose were pretty central so we did see as much as we could with the limited time we had.

Anyway, back to Waterford, which celebrated it’s 1100th anniversary this year!!! I don’t know how to put videos on my blog, so here’s a link to a video of the Waterford Time Capsule being filled with photographs, letters etc  by school children and the Mayor, and then sealed,  to be opened in 2064 ..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkx6k4PoENE

If that doesn’t work  .. Google ‘Waterford Time Capsule’ and scroll down to the video 😉

We stayed (Oct 2009) at the Athenaem House Hotel , a 17th century Georgian house, which wasn’t in the city but across the River Suir.   A lovely hotel staffed by warm, welcoming, friendly people.   We sat, one evening, with the owner who showed us on his map, places of interest around Ireland that we must see and those we could leave out if time is limited.  In fact, he gave us his map as it was much better than ours!

P1040414- Athenaem House Hotel - WaterfordFrom the front overlooking the River Suir (between the trees)

P1040419-front lawn leading down to River Suir

I spotted this unusual mushroom in the lawn ..

P1040423- unusual mushroom

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Reginald’s Tower : the Vikings built a fort on this site in 914 but it was the Anglo-Normans who, in 1185, built the stone structure seen today.  3m thick walls, the tower is said to be the first Irish building to use mortar, a primitive concoction of blood, lime, fur and mud.  It is the oldest civic urban building in Ireland.  I took this photo from the lawn of the hotel through the trees

P1080685- Reginald's Tower - Waterford

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Our first night in Waterford, we had a really delicious dinner at our hotel.  The following night we went for ‘pub grub’ at Dry Dock Bar in Dooley’s Hotel ..

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Hubby is not texting!   We sent an email every evening, while we relaxed with a glass of wine and beer to our children back home recounting each day’s ‘out and about’  in Ireland.  We also sat with our map studying our route and places to visit the following day

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Old man and his Guinness – not the best pic but I didn’t want him to know I was taking his photo so didn’t use a flash, and the light wasn’t that good

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Visiting the Waterford Crystal showroom is a must when in Waterford.  Unfortunately at that time, the factory had closed a few months prior to our visit, due to financial difficulties, and had moved to Poland.   I was looking forward to the glass blowing and cutting demonstration.  We watched a slide show instead which just isn’t the same.  On their current website a 50 minute tour of glass blowing and cutting is available.  Such a pity we visited when the business was in turmoil.  The locals were very upset that so many workers had been laid off.  The original glass factory was founded in 1783

But … the showroom was incredible!!!   Filled with exquisite pieces of beautiful intricately crafted crystal

P1080580- Waterford Crystal Visitors Centre

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9/11 Commemorative Piece ..

IMG_93585 firefighters carrying F.D.N.Y. Chaplain Father Mychal Judge from the rubble ..

IMG_9360A magnificent crystal chandelier hangs catching the light from a large window ..

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I didn’t realise that Waterford Crystal had taken over Wedgewood some time previously .. hence the Wedgewood and Royal Doulton displays and items for sale.  I would loved to have bought a small piece but Waterford Crystal was more tempting

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We were told at the time of our visit that as the factory had closed in Ireland, the original ‘made in Ireland’ genuine Waterford Crystal would be no more once their stock was sold.  Many shelves were empty.

I was very lucky … hubby bought me one of the last (made in Ireland) Lismore bud vases.  I chose the Lismore design because it is the most famous of all Waterford designs.   The Lismore pattern was created, in 1952, by crystal designer Miroslav Havel who was inspired by the village of Lismore in County Waterford dating back to the 7th century, where Lismore Castle is perched on a cliff high above the River Blackwater.

Modern designs ..

P1080601 … and the traditional Lismore design ..

P1080602My exquisite bud vase ..

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Lastly … The Thatch, a pub just outside Waterford where the publican was a friendly chappie who gave us added tips on where to go and what to see on our map, given by the owner of the Athenaeum House Hotel

P1040412  P1040411- was a helpful chap showing us places to visit

A fabulous two-night stopover in Waterford 🙂

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About momsmeanderings

Wife ... mom ... granny .. in a nutshell ! Never a dull moment !
This entry was posted in art, Co. Waterford, gifts, holiday, hotels, Ireland, memory lane, rivers and canals, travel and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Waterford, Co. Waterford : Travel Reminiscences

  1. Mike says:

    Hi… There are two pictures here that I’d like to ask permission to use, the shots of the 9/11 piece. I have volunteered to build a website for a memorial project for the Boston Marathon bombing, and we have two pieces being created by Waterford artist Sean Egan, who made the 9/11 piece. The website I’m building is not yet public, but the URL will be http://www.marathontribute.org.

  2. Hi Mike … thanks so much for the update and including my photographs. Looking back to my blog post I see those two photographs were taken by my husband. I shall certainly share your website on Facebook and my blog.
    Kind regards
    Avril

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