Waterford Crystal

2 Dec

At the beginning of the semester, my friends and I decided to explore the southern part of Ireland since we knew we’d be travelling to the west and north with our Irish Life and Culture class. We didn’t look into it that much and we saw an advertisement for Waterford so we all agreed it would be a cool place to go. Little did we know that there wasn’t much going on in that area in the middle of September.


I had always heard of Waterford Crystal when I was growing up; my dad is a huge golf fan so he constantly talked about the cool Waterford Crystal Master’s trophy. He also won a crystal trophy in a golf tournament so it’s been on display in our house ever since. I didn’t know that “Waterford” was a place, not a type of crystal until I came to Ireland and my friends were talking about the crystal factory. I consider myself a pretty worldly person but wow I felt like a stereotypical, arrogant American when I found out Waterford is a place!


We took the train from Dublin down to Waterford and our plan was to stay in a hostel in nearby Tramore. When we arrived, we instantly liked the town. It was sunny and warm which was a nice change from Dublin! We thought Tramore was cool too until we realized that it was more of a summer beach town and no one was there in September. We decided to leave a day earlier than we planned because when we were walking around Waterford the next day, we realized much of that town was closed too! We were able to go to the crystal factory but everything else we wanted to see closed super early during the fall months. As weird and disappointing as the trip was, the crystal factory made it all worth it. I had never known how crystal was made and the process was really fascinating to learn about. I never would have guessed that it takes crystal blowers the same amount of time to learn the skill as it takes doctors to go through all their schooling! Crazy but it made perfect sense after seeing the crystal process step-by-step. When my family came, I asked if they wanted to go on a daytrip anywhere and see other parts of the country. Of course my dad wanted to go to Waterford but I gently turned him down and offered to show him pictures and videos I took during the crystal factory tour. Luckily they went to Belfast so they were able to see, do and learn a lot more than they would have down south.


Even after my weird experience with it, I haven’t given up on Southern Ireland just yet. I plan to go to Cork and Cobh during my last few days here in Ireland. Many of my classmates here have gone already and from what I hear, they’re going to be much more interesting and less disappointing than Waterford!


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