We visited Ireland in September – a long awaited visit. It sits on the UK’s doorstep and is often overlooked as a place to visit in our search for overseas sunshine destinations! We were fortunate in that in the 12 days we were there we had just one day of rain which quite honestly did not detract from the beauty surrounding us! Waterford was one of the towns we visited and we are so pleased we did. A picturesque gem of a place steeped in history. It deserved more of our time than the short 2 days we spent there. We had used mainly bed and breakfast places during our preceding days in Ireland and if it hadn’t been for the tourist information being closed might have done so again. However in our wanderings we came across The Tower Hotel superbly located overlooking the River Suir and Waterford Harbour. It is an ideal base to explore the surroundings and it was not much more expensive than what we had been paying in previous bed and breakfast venues. It was worth the small additional cost for it’s ideal location. The rooms were comfortable and well furnished. The public spaces were very nice as was the restaurant area which served up an excellent breakfast in the morning. Perhaps for us it’s best feature was the location and the fact that it is just walking distance from The Waterford Glass factory – a must see if you visit the town. It was probably our main reason for visiting as we have been collectors of Waterford glass for many years. A small piece at a time as they are not the cheapest of glassware ….but oh so beautiful. It was an absolute pleasure to visit the factory where the glasswares origins lie.
The House of Waterford Crystal does guided tours taking about 1 1/2 hours – about an hour long tour of the glass making process and then time in the factory shop. As seniors we paid GBP14.00 and it was well worth it. A fascinating insight into the intricate procedure of fine glass making. The glass blowing area was very interesting …we spent some time watching a man blow and fire a piece of glass for 10minutes only to see him smash it in disgust when it did not reach the perfection he obviously required! The commissioned masterpieces in another section were amazing. The factory produces a large number of sports trophies and the work that goes into them is incredible. The guide was excellent and informative and well versed on all aspects of the glass making procedures. We then emerged into the shop – what a gorgeous display of products – we wished we had won the lottery that week as some of the prices were eye watering but there were many affordable and collectible items for sale. We have collected Colleen stemware over the years and were amazed to find it is no longer in production. It can however be obtained by special order. We were surprised to find that Colleen now sells for far more than we ever paid for it! Think we may sell some and come back for another visit!!!
Highly recommend both the Hotel and the Waterford Glass factory tour!