Waterford

19 Nov

At the beginning of the semester when we had a little bit of downtime before classes started, a bunch of friends and I decided to go to Waterford, Ireland for two nights. Why Waterford you ask? We ask ourselves the same question. Someone literally looked at a map and said “Waterford’s on the map, let’s go there!” And so we did. I’m not really sure why no one questioned it, but off we went. Little did we know that we’d be in for a big surprise when we got there. (And not a good one at that). 

My friends and I figured we could take the train that leaves from Dublin Heuston, and then in 3 short hours, arrive in Waterford. We booked a hostel for two nights right outside of town in a place called Tramore and simply take the bus to there from Waterford. Everything started out going really smoothly. The train was roomy and comfortable. When we pulled up to Waterford train station and got off the train, we have to make our way over a bridge. It seemed extremely simple and easy, except there was such fierce wind that we needed to hold on to the railing of the bridge to make sure that we didn’t blow over into the road and into oncoming traffic. This is not an exaggeration.

My first impression of Waterford was that it is such a beautiful little town. It sits right along the water and has a very New England small-town feel. Though it was so windy; I’ve never experience wind like that in my life. We walked around the town for a little bit, got some dinner and this cute pub that played American music, and then headed to the bus that would take us to Tramore.

The beach in Tramore was absolutely beautiful. I hadn’t realized how much I had been missing home and the ocean until we were on the beach. We went at night to walk around and then back again in the morning. I took some really amazing photographs.

As breathtaking as the beach was, Tramore seemed completely abandoned. It is definitely a summer town, and since it’s off-season, there were not many people there. It was extremely eerie and freaked us all out a lot, so much to the point where we changed our reservations and left a day before we were supposed to; instead of leaving at 1PM on Friday afternoon, we left at 6:30PM on Thursday.

Before we left, though, we did get to experience some of the town. We ate breakfast in Tramore and then took the bus back to Waterford for the day. In Waterford, we visited the Waterford Crystal Museum. We got to walk through and see the process of making crystal. Even though I’ve already seen glass blowing and crystal making before at the Murano Glass blowing factory in Italy, it was a great experience nonetheless. The only downside to the tour was the fact that I got stung by a bee on the back of my neck in the entrance way of the place right before we started the tour. It was a little distracting, to say the least. Luckily I had been stung three times before this, so I knew I wasn’t allergic.

My Waterford Crystal Experience was definitely different than my Murano Glass experience, but not by many ways. The main difference was the factory. In Italy, the glass blowing took place on an island and was mostly done in little shacks and sheds. It was definitely more of a warehouse than a factory. My dad, sister, and I walked through the warehouse and watched the men blow the glass. That part was very much the same as Waterford Crystal. The way that the men and women handled and created the crystal was through the same process. However, the ending results were different. Waterford’s final pieces were of different shapes and commemorated different things, whereas the Murano glass had all different colors and were mostly little characters and wine glasses. 

I think I preferred the glass blowing tour in Murano better because of the different colors that were added to the glass at the end. I also think it helped that I wasn’t stung by a bee right before my tour began…

All in all, my trip to Waterford wasn’t a complete waste of my time. I really enjoyed being able to tour the Crystal factory and the town was very beautiful! I do wish I visited during the summer months so I could have enjoyed Tramore a bit more, but I am still glad I was able to go nonetheless. Not for nothing, we came back with some very entertaining tales from our trip. 

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