Waterford and Hook Head

Kathleen, David and I visited Waterford city in County Waterford a couple months ago. The city is the oldest in Ireland and seems to have been routinely attacked over the centuries due to its coastal location near other parts of Europe. Of course the Vikings just seemed to attack everyone no matter where they went, and then Britain would follow up later, so maybe that wasn’t so unique among Irish towns. We also ventured into County Wexford to visit Hook Head.

1. The wool merchant

2-5. Waterford Crystal has been around awhile, but these days the big factory in Waterford town is shut down and they’ve built a tourist showcase plant instead. This change is so new that my guide book and GPS still wanted us to go to the old factory.

Waterford Crystal as a brand is still made elsewhere (like the Czech Republic), but as our guide, a former crystal cutter from the old plant told us, when the Waterford factory shut down, everyone lost pensions and retirement funds along with their jobs and benefits. He didn’t seem cut out for leading tours but maybe he gets to take turns with the other guys showing how the craft is kept alive. The little seahorse is the emblem for Waterford Crystal and has a shamrock shape in the tail.

6-8. Reginald’s Tower (note the toilet pic) is the “oldest urban civic building in Ireland, and the oldest monument to retain its Viking name. To this day, it remains Waterford’s most recognisable landmark. It is believed to be the first building in Ireland to use mortar.” (still the Wikipedia link) How does one divvy up the urban civic buildings from those that aren’t? Anyway the restoration was well done and on our way in we saw our guide from the crystal place out on the street.

9. We liked the banana peel sign at the ferry crossing from Passage East to Ballyhack. The ferry saves 55 km of driving!

10-12. Watch out for the freak waves and blow holes around Hook Head. The phrase “By Hook or by Crook” apparently refers to Cromwell taking Waterford either by this direction or the town of Crook nearby. The lighthouse is the oldest in Ireland.

13. Templetown, of Knights Templar fame, though the structures are newer

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