Ireland part four - Tramore and Waterford    

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On Thursday afternoon we arrived at the small town of Tramore, which like Cobh is on the south-east coast.  After checking in we went out on foot & ended up having dinner downtown, only a short walk away.  Later we were in a Pub celebrating Arthur Guinness' birthday, with good Irish music.     

The B&B was comfortable and we were here two nights. Once again, my room had a large crank-out window, which when opened let in fresh air and cold breezes, and I could hear waves breaking in the distance.      

The host here was pleasant & talkative and made us a really great breakfast two days in a row.  (lodging is listed on the Epilogue age) 

There are some advantages in being the only guests, meaning, being late season travelers.  You get the best or largest rooms, and, you can interact with the owner a lot more. Doris and Paul and Mary and I really enjoyed our interactions with the owner at this B&B. 

Tramore more doors  

and flowers


the five o'clock rush

old doors; see note below reading some menus 
Celtic Sea; note Metal Men columns in the distance  on the beach sea wall boardwalk
  the rides packed away for the season except the surfing machine Arthur Guinness' birth day  
local musicians in a pub accordion, guitar and mandolin        

note - this is my favorite old door image taken on this trip. 

About old Irish Doors.....I know that a few years back there was an excellent coffee table photography book about Irish Doors, and I saw & liked it.  Once there, the prevalence of interesting doors & old buildings makes it 'fair game' for any photographer.  Most photographers would have captured interesting Irish door photos even if that book had never come's public domain intellectual property.  Imagine a door photo being seen as intellectual property.        

On Friday morning after once again scaled-down breakfast options, we went for a walk to look for the Metal Men.    

kitty painting in B&B room very nice B&B fuchsias again houses next door
  overlooking the coast calm now, but... over 120 shipwrecks have occurred here
metal men saying 'please go away'      
  you can swim here in a protected cove closer to metal men, when still standing  red hydrangea
    Tramore the trap

The number of shipwrecks here was mind-boggling. 

The last image shows that Tramore harbor has a boxy-shaped entrance, and since it's easy for ships to get lost in large storms, they might inadvertently find prevailing currents or winds pushing them into this trap, consisting of shallow water & rocky outcroppings.  Large sailing ships had little control in massive storms.  

The display wee saw that listed the ship names stated that Tramore residents had time & again (in day or night) seen or heard ships breaking up, with the attendant desperate cries of the unfortunate passengers & crews, the residents being unable to do a thing to help. Within the hour, bodies were washing up on the beach.   

The display also stated that the town Council after so many decades of shipwrecks refused to fund a light house.  According to Wikipedia (researched later at home) in the early 1820s shipping insurer Lloyd's of London installed the Metal Men to try to warn ships away, to protect their assets.  But it was not an effective deterrent, and the list above shows that a majority of shipwrecks occurred after that time. 

The Metal Men even on their tall pedestals are admittedly tiny, and if your ship was caught in a gale wind and you saw was already too late.  Good luck & God Bless !

Eventually, modern global electronics (circa 1975) provided the pre-GPS solution and no shipwrecks have occurred since then. 

On the next day we went to the historic town of Waterford, only a few miles inland from Tramore.   

Waterford Crystal went into bankruptcy in 2009 and was purchased by a new owner in 2010.  For a few years manufacturing was performed at overseas locations, but, our docent said, as of 2013 the facility which we toured produces all of the 60,000 pieces made each year. 

She also said that the glass making and decorating or etching jobs require a 6 to 8 year apprenticeship. and that the jobs pay really well.  She added that the glass-cutting finishers only work two 3-hour shifts, with two hours off to recover and they get paid a lot, because there's risk of mental-overload, having to meet a standard of perfection for 3 hours at a time.             

the river Suir   cityscape the Royal Theatre
  town museum

crystal factory

chandeliers in city reflections
  illusions inside too the goods

more unique pieces

  my new bedroom set our Docent starts the tour  
how it's done glass molds tourists go through the main work areas

real dilemmas


they have long apprenticeships here

rough vase shape

rough to finished
    master glass cutting copper wheels for engraving
  crystal hummer


holding the BCS replacement trophy

The Docent said that at a recent (2011?) College Football Bowl Championship (BCS) ceremony in the US, one of the guest speakers on the way to the podium, at an event that took place before the actual championship game, lost his balance and lurched into the table with the Waterford crystal trophy on it, which smashed into the ground.  That crystal football cost 23,000 Pounds or $41,000.   (currency compared at the time we visited)

Since then, the US BCS has asked Waterford to keep a backup crystal football on hand, in case this happened again, and the tour group got to hand it around.  Then our docent held it and posed for us.    

Now for the small part of Waterford we saw which was not related to crystal: 

Waterford history


checking this town out 

    historical markers  
shopping area at 5 pm on Friday drainage channel improvements

welding   abstract with  leaves & mud    

We were in retrospect very fortunate to see the manufacturing center for Waterford Crystal, because about a year later the company was sold to a different owner and subsequently went under.       

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