Crystals in the Emerald Isle
Yesterday we woke early for a travel day. After returning our car at the airport, we hopped on a plane to:
It was our first ever flight on Ryan Airlines. It is a very inexpensive way to get around Europe. We had considered doing a rail and sail, but after finding that it would three trains and one boat and about a 12 hour trip, we looked at plane fare and a quick one hour flight from Edinburgh to Dublin was about $75 per person including checking our bags and the bags cost quite a bit more than our seat tickets.
I’m thinking about getting each of our suitcases a passport. It would be much cheaper to have them sit in a seat than to check them through baggage. By checking our bags however, we received “priority” status which means you get to be among the first to get on the plane and get to your assigned seat towards the front of the plane. I cannot remember the last time I flew on a commercial flight and had to go out on the tarmac and climb stairs to get to the plane though. Ryan is definitely a no frills company, but it was very efficient for our short flight, and I thought they did a great job. For quick trips, especially if you just want a weekend away with a backpack, you can have very fun destinations for the cost of a good lunch at a restaurant.
Going through immigration and customs was a breeze, virtually walk throughs that netted us new stamps in our passports. We grabbed our rental car because we're headed out of town and we learned our public transportation lesson in Edinburgh!
We didn't spend any time in Dublin at all, preferring to head straight out and explore. We'll likely spend at least a night or two there before leaving Ireland. in large part we'll stay in Dublin because pickleball is nearby, and because we have a friend who lives there who we really hope to see, who is at least as important ;-).
We made it to Ireland's oldest city and that fact surprised me. I had only known of it for the beautiful crystal that is made in there. The town is Waterford and it celebrated its 1100th anniversary in 2014! Vikings first established a settlement near there in 853 and then the actual town was settled in 914.
In addition to being known for it's crystal manufacturing, there is a thriving university, three museums dedicated to Viking and Georgian (18th century) history, as well as impressive architecture and beautiful view over the River Suir running through town.
Our first evening in town while walking around we came upon this sign on an old Gothic Revival Presbyterian church and we had to go into investigate.
We found four people playing a fast paced game of badminton and there were four fellows sitting in a back room on comfortable couches. They saw me curiously peeking in the door and motioned for me to come in. For the next half hour we talked about the history of the building, badminton and pickleball. The church which was built in about 1870 had it's boiler under the center of what is now a court. In 1963 while being serviced, the boiler exploded doing massive damage to the building. The church decided that it was not worth the expense of repairing it and it was left empty in a terrible state.
In 1995, a member of the Waterford Badminton Club decided to purchase the property for a pittance (if memory serves me right it was only about £2,200.) Members donated time and money to do the repairs and now it is open to the public on a membership basis.
The fellows we chatted with are a great group of fun guys, and very excited to learn about pickleball. They were keen on potentially starting it up there on their slow nights to draw a new crowd to the facility. Check them out if you get to Waterford. http://www.waterfordbadmintonclub.com/
The next morning dawned clear and calm so guess what I did.
A bit later we decided to go take tours. Ky chose the Medieval Museum and I chose to go to the Waterford factory while . It is good when traveling with someone over a long period to have some separate time. It gives us things to talk about!
Ky had a great time and he had only good things to say about his experience learning more about the Vikings and seeing the stunning Heavens' Embroidered Cloths, Waterford's cloth-of-gold 15th century vestments.
The tour of the crystal factory was fascinating and well worth the visit. While beautiful, I don't think this item will fit the decor of our Toyota 4Runner and they might be a tad bit heavy and fragile to take on the airlines.
If you're thinking about a Christmas gift for me though, either the plane or the stunningly beautiful Four Seasons bowl (my photos didn't do it justice) would be lovely ideas. You'll have to go to the shop to get either of those though as they are only being sold there.
We've already moved onward, so tomorrows blog will let you know where the Coffeys2Go are now.
Belated hugs from Waterford, Ireland!