Crystal Factory, Waterford, Ormond Castle, High Crosses, Cahir Castle, Cashel Walk - May 24th, 2012

Today was a busy day. We started early in Waterford, with a guided tour of the Crystal Factory. The factory had been closed a few years ago, and the work moved to Eastern Europe in order to eliminate the pensions owed to long time workers, but now the factory was back in Waterford and back as a major tourist draw. The tour is not as informative as I expected, watching the factory workers make goblet after goblet isn't enthralling. The best part of the tour is looking at the unique trophies that have been executed for prestigious customers.

After our factory tour, we walked through the old "Viking Triangle" section of the city of Waterford - this was the area of the original city that had been enclosed within the city walls. I wanted to see the Blackfriars Abbey, but it was closed. We went to Reginald's Tower, but we were told that it would be closing in a few minutes so that a group of school kids on a field trip could have exclusive access. So we dashed up and down the stairs of Reginald's Tower to catch a glimpse of what was inside, but did not get to spend much time inside.

In the city of Carrick-on-Suir we stopped at Ormond Castle, one of the many strongholds of the Butler family. Half of the place is crumbling ruin, but the manor house has been restored, so we took a guided tour to see the restored rooms (no photography allowed inside those rooms.)

Our map showed that just north of Carrick-on-Suir there was marked a couple points were High Crosses stood. We ventured down some winding narrow country roads and found that the High Crosses stood in ancient cemetaries. The cemetaries stood upon hillsides looking over green gentle fields. Since the weather this day was fantastic, we enjoyed great views of rolling hills in the amazing green color for which Ireland is so famous. The Emerald Isle indeed!

In Cahir we found a well preserved castle and took a guided tour through the rooms and defenses. Cahir Castle was yet another possession of the Butler family, they seemed to have owned much of southern Ireland at one point. We walked all over the walls and towers and climbed the staircase down into the dark dank well.In the city of Cashel we checked into our Bed and Breakfast, and then walked to dinner. Since there was still a lot of daylight remaining, after a hearty meal of fish and chips, we walked around the city, climbing the Bishop's Walk up to the Rock of Cashel (which was closed at that hour.) From the Rock we could look down at the ruins of Hore Abbey, so climbed over a low wall and crossed a cow pasture to visit the abbey. Finally we walked back to our B&B at the end of a long but rewarding day.

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Crystal Factory

Waterford City Walk

Ormond Castle

High Crosses

Cahir Castle

Cashel Walk