Waterford Crystal Factory:
In 1783, businessmen George and William Penrose founded the Waterford Glass House in this busy port city about two hours south of Dublin. Using a secret process, the Penroses mingled minerals and sand to create crystal that soon became the envy of Europe. Nevertheless, in 1851, despite awards and acclaim, heavy taxes forced the Waterford factory to close. In 1947, Irish officials resurrected the company, which today is the largest producer of hand-crafted crystal in the world. To see how it's done, take a tour of Waterford's historic factory, which is home to some of glass making’s finest craftsmen. If you like what you see, pick up a few goblets at the factory story? But don't worry about losing your purchase to the less than tender care of airline baggage handlers: the gift shop will ship it home for you -- and they guarantee that your crystal will arrive just as you bought it, or they'll replace it. Tours are given of the production areas where the famous crystal is actually made. Please note this option is subject to availability and an additional charge. It can be pre arranged by your driver. Discuss this with him at the beginning of your tour. Three's also an audio visual presentation tracing ancient craft of glassmaking to the present day. In the busy summer season, these tours run every 15 minutes.
Waterford is the oldest city in Ireland. A walled city of Viking origin, it retains much of its medieval character together with the graceful buildings from its 18th century expansion. The parameters of the 10th century settlement can be clearly identified in The Viking Triangle. Reginald's Tower is the most historic urban medieval monument in Ireland. The elegant Chamber of Commerce building, the City Hall and the Bishop's Palace are prime examples of beautiful 18th century architecture. Waterford city was founded by the Vikings in 853, and was later extended by the Anglo Normans. It is set in a commanding site on the River Suir's estuary, and became in time the southeast’s main seaport. During the 18th century onwards, the industry of the city prospered, most famously its glass industry. The strong commercialism still exists today, and the port is still one of Ireland's busiest. Waterford not only boasts some of the most beautiful countryside in Ireland, particularly the splendid scenery of West Waterford's mountain passes, but you will also find a spectacular coast line with miles of safe sandy beaches, perfect for the whole family.