On Saturday we took a rail tour to Waterford crystal. My dad had said that the only thing he wanted to do this trip was visit Waterford. I thought sure! No problem. Then I looked at how far away it was from Dublin… Luckily the Waterford website had some very helpful suggestion including the Rail Tours Ireland. The tour we took came in two parts. First we were to be taken via rail to the picturesque town of Kilkenny and then on to Waterford where we would tour the Waterford crystal factory.
The train ride to Kilkenny was gorgeous; the train clean and spacious, and since we were traveling with friends quite enjoyable.
When we arrived in Kilkenny there was a short walk to the castle and things slowly began to go down hill.
I believe the problem actually started with the tea I had bought that morning and the milk that tasted off but I somehow convinced myself was fine. Then there was the fact that I thought we were going to be touring the castle. Instead we were to be driven on a small bumpy-train-bus-death contraption. I apparently, under the right circumstances, can get very motion sick. This is not new news to me, or my family, but it doesn’t happen often so we don’t usually worry about it. This trip how ever has had its fair share of surprises and this rocking train of death was no different. Kilkenny is a very old town and its streets are also very old. They were not made with the intention of a toy trains being driven down them and it was quite obvious as we hurtled to our death- er- destination.
Once that was over it was time to explore a bit. We didn’t have enough time to tour the castle before the bus left but I thought walking around a bit would help settle my stomach. But honestly I kept feeling worse. By the time we got on the bus to make the forty-minute drive to Waterford I was wishing for my death.
I slept most of the way there not really feeling much better but bound and absolutely determined to go on this tour that I had been planning for nearly as long as I had been planning on going to Ireland. The tour started off shaky. If we stood in one place for too long or if our tour guide, with a lovely accent I might add, stopped talking for too long I would start to feel panicky. We walked through the mold room where they make the molds. Then the casting and kiln room. By the time we got to the room where they cut the pieces up I took my dad’s camera and started taking pictures. In hindsight, I should have done that from the beginning. Taking pictures always calms me down. Something to focus my energy on. By the time we got to the carving room I was thoroughly enjoying myself. The absolute best part though was the carving room. The room is set up so that there is a walk-way through the middle for the tours to go through. There are work stations maybe every ten feet so that there is always something to see. There are not however any bars or walls separating us from the artists. There were yellow lines painted on the floor but those were actually only marking of the perimeter of each work station and didn’t actually relate to the tours in anyway. I was dodging around all over the place taking pictures of this and that. Overly excited about how awesome the detail lighting was looking in the photos and absolutely astonished at how skilled the carvers were.
I got to the last man in the room and he saw me taking pictures and sort of nodded and smiled. I smiled back and take a few pictures but that’s it. That’s clearly not what he had in mind because he looked up and nodded again. When I don’t move he becomes me. “c’mere, c’mere” so I come closer. It’s really very loud in this room so I can’t really hear him nor him me. But when he realized that I was still pretty far away he kept waving at me and pointing to a square foot of space directly at his elbow until I stood there. He wanted me to see how cool it looked from the inside. He was carving a cup; lines going one direction and then overlapped with lines going the opposite angle so that a diamond pattern emerged. He wanted me to see the saw cut through the crystal from his perspective, the inside of the glass, because it was just cool! Then he said, “ Feel! See its smooth not sharp” and I got to to touch a Waterford crystal tumbler mid production. It will probably end up in someone’s fancy serving set for scotch in their drawing room, or at least I’m going to pretend that it will.
I felt so sick when I started that tour; absolutely determined not to miss this opportunity but completely miserable. I don’t know that mans name and I’m sure he just likes showing interested people what he does, but in taking the time he made my day, definitely my trip, and quite possibly my month.