Friday, Sept.12, 2014
We decided to take a cab to get the rental car but the driver told us that you actually have to go back to the airport and check in with the Hertz desk. I totally believe that I was smart not to bring a car into Dublin. Two reasons come to mind. 1. There is absolutely no parking and 2. The people drive like maniacs. So we took the cab and did what the driver told us, checked in and had to take the Hertz bus like we do at our airports. At the Hertz desk, I decided to get a GPS after seeing the numerous rotaries (circles) on the map. Also decided to get a hotspot for when the hotel does not have strong wifi. In addition I took the extra insurance which does not cover tires or rims. Let’s hope I don’t hit anything. They now send you a vehicle damage report of the car you are renting to email with photos of every damage spot on the car. One was left out but this car is pretty beat up. The mirror damage is in their photo so I know they will not worry about it. The extra insurance is a must.
I got a great map from Hertz and the nice guy gave me some direction. The cab driver had told us that we should stop on the way to Waterford at a beautiful place called Powerscourt. There are waterfalls and a garden similar to Butchart Gardens in Victoria, Canada. I was so excited to stop there and although Tom’s back was killing him, he managed to walk a short distance and did pretty well hobbling along. We could not view the waterfalls because it was a 6km walk to the waterfalls so we were content with doing the gardens. They did not disappoint and were breathtakingly beautiful.
The drive to Waterford was a little over 2 hours and stopping made our arrival time in line with check in to the Tower Hotel. The parking was in a private lot behind the hotel and to avoid unwanted people from using the lot, they change the code daily which you need to exit.
Waterford is the oldest city in Ireland, when the Vikings established a settlement there in 853AD. The Vikings settlers founded it in 914AD. There are fortresses all over the city and Reginald’s Tower is nearly 1000 years old and is in the Irish Annals dating back to 1088. It is the oldest civic building in Ireland. In the 13th century many monasteries, friaries and churches were built. In the 17th century many other buildings were built and still stand, one of which is the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity. We went to the vigil Mass there on Saturday night. It is as ornate as all the churches in Europe and is gigantic. It was a beautiful Mass.
We were very lucky that the day we arrived was the first day of the annual Harvest Festival. This city is known for its festivals, artsy folks and of course Waterford glass. The factory in town is the smallest of the working factories in the world and I am certain that the only reason they keep it open is to host visitors on the tour. I was able to get a wheelchair for Tom as he cannot do the stairs or stand in one place for very long. It was simple pushing him along and there was a small lift that the tour guide navigated for the different levels. The factory makes the glass by mixing three ingredients and then the glass is a block until it is heated and blown out. They make wooden molds for speciality pieces and cast iron molds for everything else. The Masters as they are called take 8 years to learn their craft and it is tedious work for 8 hours each day. There is a production line and each is expected to produce a certain amount of product each day. The engravers cut the crystal by hand and the glass is marked up with markers to show them where to cut. It is a fascinating process and now I know why we pay so much for Waterford Crystal. Did I buy anything? The answer is no. I don’t collect anymore. But I was able to take tons of photos and will remember what I saw. The food in Waterford was great and the Reg as it is called was impossible to get into for reservations so we ate at two nice restaurants. Two nights in Waterford may not seem like enough but we were able to see everything in town that mattered. It is a must see city if you go to Ireland.
Now, on to Cork….. Sorry again that the photos are unable to tag in. I am hoping that when I get home I can edit by adding photos later.