Kilkenny and Waterford: I float like a majestic princess

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.

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The foundation of the towers still hold the original Viking walls

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Here you can see how the middle section of the castle is Norman and the side to the right is Tudor.Β 

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A general layout of the areas of the castle that can be explored.

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And befores and afters of the restoration of the castle

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In the oldest part of the castle that still had the daub roof

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The dining room, complete with a portrait of the first Butler who’s name escapes me…

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The tapestries that were left are original to the castle, but damaged due to improper care.

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The library, which was my favorite room of course!

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The Blue Bedroom, where I believe it was King George V who spent the night in that bed

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And the Moorish Staircase. Our tour guide told us that the stairs had dips in the center so the ladies would be seen to float down the stairs. So, naturally I floated down like a majestic princess!

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!

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Now, if you’re a fan of the TV show, Vikings like I am, this tour will be very interesting. In the show, the main character is the very attractive Ragnar Lothbrok. Once he established a footing in Ireland, he built a tour.

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Over the years, the name Ragnar was bastardized to Reginald, so here we have an original Viking tower, made by Ragnar, but called Reginald’s Tower. Anyway, it was very cool to see since I know who Ragnar Lothbrok is!

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$100,000 crystal clock. I stayed on the other side of the room the whole time we were in the lobby.

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…

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… 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!

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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!012

So, you start the tour in the Molding Room, where the molds are made for the crystal pieces.

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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!)!

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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.

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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.

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It’s the Hershey Kiss!

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and the NBA trophy!

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And a vase they’re making for President Obama

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!

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They’re releasing Nutcrackers for Christmas this year!

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I got to hold a heavy-ass, three foot tall FINISHED piece!Β 

After the Cutting Room, you go into the Etching Room, where all the last minute, minute details of the pieces are etched on.

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This piece was called “Four Seasons” and it was beautiful!!!

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A People’s Choice Award

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Another vase for President Obama

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A tribute to 9/11

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!

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They even have a jewelry line!

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We were not classy enough to shop in there…

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so naturally, I take a selfie in a very large crystal mirror!

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As we were leaving there was the cutest little dog outside…

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so I made friends with her (assuming it was a her because she had a sparkly leash)…

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and named her Kinsale! She almost got smuggled onto the bus in my jacket!

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Looking into the Gift Shop from outside

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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.

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Some days we get cleaned up!

 

Anyway, that about sums up my weekend. I’ve got an essay to write tonight still. Wish me luck!

 

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