Posted on August 03, 2015 by Janet Steinberg
Ireland: Thatched Cottages, Crystal, and Coffee with a kick

Forty shades of green. I can think of no better way to describe Ireland, The Emerald Isle.

40green
IRELAND IS FORTY SHADES OF GREEN

Dunmore East, a small fishing village located in County Waterford, some 15 miles south of Waterford. Dunmore East, with its twisting lanes and old houses, sits on the entrance to the River Suir estuary. A bagpiper and a sign reading "Cead Mile Failte! One Hundred Thousand Welcomes" was our greeting as we disembarked from our cruise ship.

bagpipers
BAGPIPER'S WELCOME TO DUNMORE EAST

Dunmore, in the Irish language, means 'Big Fort'. In the center of Dunmore East is an Anglo-Norman castle that was erected in the 12th Century. Between 1814 and the late 1820's the focus of the seaside village shifted to the harbor where mail for Waterford came to Dunmore from Wales. Many of the beautiful thatched houses, dropping downhill along the waterfront, date from this period. Along the quayside, many small fishing boats are tied up and fishermen can be seen working on their boats and nets.

thatched
A THATCHED HOUSE IN DUNMORE EAST

The Haven Hotel was one of the big houses, where wealthy merchant families and navy officers made their homes during the British occupation. The Sunday brunch buffet, with fresh Atlantic fish and crisp Irish cabbage, was irresistible. Restaurants serving freshly caught fish are one of the main attractions in Dunmore East.

downtowndun
DOWNTOWN DUNMORE EAST

From Dunmore East it was only a short drive to Waterford. The city of Waterford is a bustling maritime city with an historic Viking Heart. Vikings, as well as other eager invaders who followed them, left their mark in the history and mystery of the city. The city's name comes from the Norse word 'Vadrefjord'. Reginald's Tower, dating from 1003, houses a city museum and the charter roll of Richard II.

What would a trip to Waterford (also known as Crystal City) be without paying a visit to the Waterford Crystal Factory? For two centuries, the city of Waterford has produced some of the world's finest crystal. In 1783, George and William Penrose founded the Waterford Glass House, promising to make crystal in "as fine a quality as any in Europe...".

waterford
WATERFORD CRYSTAL FACTORY

A tour of the facility features the world's largest display of Waterford crystal and gift items that range in price from two to six figures. You can purchase a crystal ring holder for approximately $25, a crystal grandfather clock for $75,000 or an 11-cluster crystal chandelier for $175,000.

Of greatest interest is a scaled-down replica of the Millennium Ball produced for the 1999-2000 New Years Millennium Celebration on Times Square. It took forty craftsmen six months to produce the 2-ton, 504-panel Millennium Ball that was the largest project ever undertaken by Waterford.

glassblower
GLASSBLOWER AT WORK IN WATERFORD FACTORY

Irish coffee never tasted better than it did at the pub in Dooley's Hotel on the Waterford Quay. But now, I am going to let you in on a little secret I learned at Dooley's. You can buy your Irish Coffee already blended and bottled in Ireland under the brand name of Hot Irishman. All you need to do is add boiling water leaving room for the cream. Then put some lightly whipped cream on an ice cold spoon, and float in on top of the hot coffee mix.

JANET STEINBERG is an award-winning Travel Writer, International Travel Consultant, and winner of 40 national Travel Writing Awards.

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