When you hear the name Waterford, what most often comes to mind is Waterford Crystal. When it comes to County Waterford, Ireland, the world-famous name is indeed a reason to visit, but there is so much more to see in this area on the southeast coast of the Emerald Isle. Here are four spots where you can find out just how friendly the Irish can be.
Waterford Crystal is known throughout the world as a premiere brand. It's used for famous occasions, well known trophies and glassware for royalty. You can see first-hand how the crystal gets made in a tour that takes visitors through every phase of the process, including watching master craftsmen put cuts in to the pieces that make for unique designs. When you're done, there is a showroom on hand to buy your own souvenir. Don't worry about having it break in your luggage; you can arrange to have them ship it home.
Waterford City is the oldest city in Ireland, founded by the Vikings in 914 A.D. The central part of the city is known as The Viking Triangle, featuring small, windy streets paved with cobblestone that give a classic old, European feel, lined with shops and restaurants. If you want to learn more about the history of the area, check out what are known as the Waterford Treasures. The historic trio includes the Bishops Palace dating to the 18th century, the Medieval Museum and Reginalds Tower, built in the 12th century and the only Irish monument named after a Viking.
The most popular design of Waterford Crystal is the Lismore design, named after the windows found in Lismore Castle, located just a short drive west from the city of Waterford. The interior of Lismore Castle is not open to the public, but there is an art gallery and gardens open during the summer months. The grounds surrounding the castle are also the perfect place for a picnic. Stop in the town of Lismore to check out shops and restaurants or the Lismore Heritage Centre, where you can learn more about the history of the area.
For the classic small Irish village feel, stop by Cappoquin, just a few miles along a scenic drive from Lismore. Meet the friendly locals by stopping in at one of the pubs or Barrons Bakery & Coffee Shop where the brick ovens have been working since 1887 and are still producing delicious crusty bread.
County Waterford is rightly famous for its crystal, but there are many other parts of this classically Irish area that makes it one of the jewels of the Emerald Isle.
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Kathleen Curry and Geoff Griffin are hosts of The Travel Brigade Show - a weekly travel and destination podcast. Kathleen Curry is experienced in both the travel industry and broadcasting. She has worn the hats of travel writer, photographer, travel agent and hospitality evaluator. Her advice of, “No excuses, just travel!” reaches out to listeners who pick up on her enthusiasm for travel and benefit from her savvy advice. Her travel guilty pleasures are eating at a street-cart vendor so she can splurge later to order room service, finding deals to rack up sky miles so she can book her next flight and hoping her social security comes through some day because she has spent her future retirement savings trekking the globe.
Geoff Griffin is a reformed attorney turned travel junkie with over two decades of experience as a journalist and editor specializing in sports, outdoor recreation and travel. His current philosophy is that there are two stages in life - You’re either on a trip, or you’re planning your next trip. His travel guilty pleasure is trying recreation adventures that require the use of an expert guide to keep him from harming himself or hopping on a plane knowing nothing about his destination other than the airport code and wandering about a new town while relying on the locals to point him to the best places.
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