I HATE spiders and I LOVE crystal…both in one day.
Woke up this morning to find these in the sink. Guess they make them big in Irish buildings. The house we are staying in is quite castle like, so I call them castle spiders. I hope I don’t bring any home in my suitcase.
We stopped in our “hometown” Inistioge before we headed off to Waterford for the day. Here are the pictures of “our” restaurant Circle of Friends and the view from the window. This is where I buy my chocolate cake;)
Waterford is the oldest city in Ireland. What a great place. We toured some museums where I found a Waterford crystal chandelier that I must have in my next house.
Finally we ended up at the Waterford Crystal factory. This has to be the most beautiful place in the world. Crystal everywhere!!! We took a tour of the factory first. Waterford Crystal has a quote they operate by: “If it’s not perfect, it is smashed, unworthy to bear the name Waterford.” They smash about 20% of the crystal they produce. Devastating!
Master craftsmen work on the crystal. These men have gone through 5 years of schooling and apprenticing and then they have to make the apprentice bowl. This bowl has every kind of cut and they get 3 attempts at the bowl and if they can’t make it they don’t pass. They can either switch trades or start the 5 years of schooling over again. Once they complete the bowl they then have 3 years of training to become a master.
Every piece of crystal is handmade starting with the shaping. The crystal is melted in a kiln at 1450 degrees. The furnace is never turned off as it takes about 2-3 weeks to get it to that temperature. Master craftsmen shape it by blowing it and using wooden tools. These wooded tools are soaked in water for at least 36 hours and last 7-8 days and are then ruined because the crystal is so hot.
Every piece of crystal is “eyed” to be sure it is perfect.
The crystal goes through quite a 6 step quality control process. They will smash a piece right at the very end if it is not perfect. This factory produced 160,000 pieces of handmade crystal last year.
Aoife is the design made exclusively at Waterford, Ireland. Stunning!
I was so excited about this name. I actually knew how to say Aoife (E-fah). My cousin and his wife named their baby girl Aoife. What a beautiful Irish name.
Debbie and Cheryl finally pulled me out of the crystal factory and we went on to see more of Waterford. There is so much history there! We went to Reginald’s Tower which was the beginning of Waterford. If you look closely at the top left of the tower you will see a canon ball still in the wall from one of the attacks.
What a climb! Cheryl didn’t care much for the stairs but still had a big smile on her face when she reached the top!
We stopped at Munster’s Bar for lunch. Debbie found us some good Irish cooking!
It was delicious! Sausage and colcannon for me.
We found some rain as were getting ready to leave the Waterford harbour. Finally had to use my umbrella.
What a glorious day! I’ll be dreaming about crystal all night!