Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Round Ireland (2016-20)

Wexford - Waterford - Cork

Ferry crossing to Passage East
The beach at Rosslare village

I woke up to a beautiful morning in the southeast corner of Ireland, although I was also fully aware that the forecast for most of the day was poor. Breakfast in Reeds was nice and quiet; it was still early for most people. After checking out, I drove the short distance to Rosslare - the village, not the ferry port - but there was nothing to see apart from a deserted beach. I pressed on with the next part of what would be a substantial day of driving, by deliberately taking the back roads towards Waterford, travelling via Wellingtonbridge and using the Ballyhack - Passage East ferry. By the time I took that five-minute ferry ride, the weather had deteriorated significantly.

On leaving the ferry, I drove to Dunmore East, which my guide book said was a charming fishing village. While I was able to see on arrival that this was indeed the case, the poor weather conditions persuaded me to give it a miss and press on towards my next, rather more substantial destination. Waterford - a name known by many people thanks to one particular brand - is believed to be the oldest city in the Republic of Ireland, having been founded in AD914. I parked the car and following a light lunch in Costa Coffee, had a brief wander around the city centre in the pouring rain and dull, grey conditions. I did manage to see a few sights, including Reginald's Tower and the Clock Tower, the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, the 'Waterford Treasures' cluster of museums and Christ Church Cathedral, the latter being surely the plainest and most austere-looking example of an Anglican cathedral that I had ever encountered. (Or was it just the effect of the dire weather and lack of proper daylight?)

GREY SECTION of TABLE (above, left and below): Sightseeing in rainy Waterford ABOVE and RIGHT: Interior views of Christ Church Cathedral

The undoubted highlight of my visit to this compact city, however, was a tour of the Waterford Crystal factory. This facility is now for specially commissioned works only, with no mass production taking place on-site. The one-hour tour takes in various stages of the production process, including blowing, moulding, quality inspection, hand marking, cutting, sculpting and engraving. It was all very interesting and time passed quickly.

Satisfied that my short visit to Waterford had been a success in spite of the dismal weather, I embarked on the drive to Cork - or at least, the outskirts thereof. Although it only amounted to 115km, the journey sometimes felt like a bit of a slog due to variable road quality and relatively heavy traffic. Nevertheless, I reached the Radisson Blu hotel without putting a foot wrong. It appeared to be very busy, considering that it was accessed via an industrial estate on the outer edges of the city. Later on, I had dinner in the busy hotel bar, consisting of a tasty Asian stir-fry that was quite ridiculously enormous!

Fri 08 Apr 2016

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