Reflections and images from my travels

The room in Kilkenny was very quiet and dark. Perfect for catching up on sleep. We were routinely getting up by 9 AM!

My name today is William Penrose. Google it- it will make sense for today.

This morning it was just a quick latte and scone as we were off to do some touring, and possibly shopping, at the Waterford Crystal facility.

It was a pleasant drive of about 50 kilometres. We again arrived just in time as the next tour was just starting in 10 minutes.

The tour was actually very educational as you had a very knowledgeable guide and went through the different stages of production of crystal. You actually observed the craftsmen and crafts women as they created the crystal pieces. From beechwood casting to glassblowing to polishing to marking and engraving- it was all fascinating. Some pieces took up to 4 months to finish. We were also impressed with the number of commissions and trophies they completed on a regular basis.

Of course after the tour, you exited in the massive retail area. You were surrounded by beauty! We were looking for a very specific set of coloured whiskey glasses Anna had spotted on the Canadian website but we found out these were not produced locally. We eventually spied a beautiful set of 6 glasses that had our name on it. There were all different styles and just the perfect size. Purchase made and shipped.

I remember my mother always talking about Waterford Crystal when she was alive. She had spent her formative years in England after the war and I came to appreciate why she so loved it.

We then did a small walking tour in the Cathedral area of Waterford. The cathedral was being renovated externally, but, the inside was available for a visit. What history! This was the Cathedral that Strongbow and Aefie were married in! The marriage that changed Ireland forever. Amazing!

We were going to do a whiskey tour but found out the particular distillery we wanted to tour was over 90 minutes away! We decided to drive back to Kilkenny for a late lunch and to tour the Kilkenny Castle. We had no idea where it was:

The drive back seemed quicker than going. We found a great little and finally had our traditional Irish lamb stew with a pint.

We had to find the castle so we stepped out of the pub ready for an adventure and as we looked up the street we exclaimed……oh, there it is less than 1 block away!

The castle tour was well worthwhile. The castle itself and the grounds were breathtaking. The Butler family had sold the castle to the town for 50 Euros in order to develop the property as a tourist destination for all to enjoy. We were glad they did!

The opulence of the rooms and grandeur of the halls. We were particularly fascinated with the Blue Bedroom and the Picture Room which had the most ornate ceiling I had ever seen hand painted by a single art historian! There was also an international design competition underway and all through the castle the design finalists were displayed. It made for a fascinating contrast of old and new.

The surrounding grounds and rose garden were glorious. The aroma from the roses was intoxicating as Anna could attest to.

After the touring the grounds, we crossed the street to briefly tour the Ireland Design Center. A Mecca for all artists across Europe. Many of the shops were just closing but the main shop was open and had the most beautiful gifts. We were definitely coming back the next morning!

It was time for an early dinner and we decided to have our meal at the Left Bank. All of the pubs in Ireland were gorgeous and very amenable to eating, entertaining and for consuming the “spirits”. The pubs were often broken into different sections that were connected but definitely separate in their personalities. A quiet area, an outdoor garden section for the sport fans with widescreen TV’s. We loved it!

The meal hit the spot and the G and T’s were devine with our favourite combination of Dingle gin and Fever Tree Elderflower tonic. We also enjoyed the best Irish Coffees we had yet tasted in Ireland.

We retired to our room. Anna’s suitcase was in chaos and I needed to catch up on blogging. I was having some technical issues with getting pictures from my camera to the phone!!

After awhile, we decided to have a nightcap at our own very nice hotel pub and closed out the night with our bar band. I know, it’s a tough life!

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