Hi everybody! Sorry for the delay. It was another crazy weekend here in Ireland, and I’m finally getting caught up on everything again.
So, this weekend we took a trip to Kilkenny and then on to Waterford! This involved spending several hours on a bus, with a man who liked to drive with the radio blaring what I can only imagine was the Irish version of a Country station. Now, I like to sleep on buses (otherwise I get motion sick). But with all his loud music, this lady didn’t get any sleep. So, not only was I cranky from no sleep the night before and on the bus, I was also crazy motion sick.
So, we drive for a while and we end up in Kilkenny to see the beautiful Kilkenny Castle. Now, you were not supposed to take pictures of the inside of the castle… but somehow my phone “accidentally” took some pictures (I’m not sure how they got on there! It’s a mystery!).
But before I start showing you all pictures… did you hear Leo DiCaprio finally won an Oscar! YAY! Anyway, here’s Kilkenny Castle:
A little history to get you started: The castle was originally a Viking castle. Some of the walls that remain are 1000 year old walls! After the Vikings, the castle was taken over by the Butler family, who added on. The middle section of the castle is done in the Norman style. AS the Butler family continued to thrive, another wing was added, this time in the Tudor style. Eventually, the family lost their fortunes, and the castle was sold to a restoration group for 50 Euro. The last of the Butlers died in 1997. Now, the castle has been restored back to its Victorian glory and serves as a museum to the Butler legacy.
After we were done at the castle, we were packed back on the bus and drove to Waterford, where we got to tour the Waterford Crystal Factory!
After we arrived at Waterford Crystal, they give you a little talk in the lobby which features some of the more popular pieces, and a timeline of the establishment of Waterford Crystal…
… but then the walls open and you walk into a room that is all mirrors and TV screens playing music and showing videos of fireworks. So, naturally there was a Mercyhurst dance party!
And then the walls lit up revealing big crystal pieces behind them. Then, another set of doors open and you are right inside the factory! It was sooo cool! It was like a Disney attraction!
So, you start the tour in the Molding Room, where the molds are made for the crystal pieces.
After the Molding Room, we went to the Blowing Room, where guys were actually creating real pieces of Waterford Crystal (control yourself, mom! Please don’t pee!)!
After, we went to the Inspections Room. They check the pieces, and if there is the tiniest deformity, they smash the piece and it gets recycled into the mix they make their glass from. They also cut off the bubble at the top and smooth any rough edges.
After the Inspection Room, we went to the Marking Room, where they draw the pattern of the piece on it so the cutters know where to cut.
After the Marking Room, you enter the Cutting Room, where the crystal pieces are cut following the patterns that are drawn on. This room was really cool because they guys would let you hold pieces after they did a few cuts so you could see them up close!
After the Cutting Room, you go into the Etching Room, where all the last minute, minute details of the pieces are etched on.
After the Etching Room, another set of doors open and you enter the Gift Shop. Mom, you would have had a field-day in there!
After we got back to Dungarvan, we had some time to clean up, then went down to Merry’s, where our “Nanny” Gerty and Joe had thrown a little reception for us. They spent a ton of money on food and drinks for us. We all really appreciated it.
Anyway, that about sums up my weekend. I’ve got an essay to write tonight still. Wish me luck!