Day 3 |
May 17, 2011

Waterford, Ireland

By Imogen Corrigan, Medieval Historian

Co-ordinates: 52, 15, 61 N, 7, 06, 45 W

Weather: overcast and chilly
Air Temperature: 15.5C, 59F
Pressure: 1017
Wind: 17.4

This morning we glided up the river Suir to Waterford and it was every bit as magical as it was last year; a few early risers again stood out on the observation deck, drinking in the cool air and silent countryside. Waterford must be one of the more attractive places to dock as you can go right into the centre of this very pretty city.

We had a slightly earlier start so that we could get to the Waterford Glass factory as soon as it opened. Quite a few of the guests said afterwards that they had wondered how enjoyable it would be to watch glass being made, but admitted to being mesmerized by it all. I was too. They run guided tours of the actual factory, which (perhaps not surprisingly) begins and ends in the shop where there are exquisite examples of their work on display. We saw the whole thing from the glass being blown, right through to it being marked for the appropriate pattern and engraved. I can now see why it’s so expensive too; many skilled hands are involved in the perfecting of each glass or vase.

There was time for coffee in their truly fabulous café and then we set off on a walking tour. It was a little chilly but our guide kept us away from the wind-swept quay and we happily wandered around, exploring the back streets and taking in two cathedrals, Ronald’s Tower and numerous other sites on the way. It was strange to be moored so close to town that we kept glimpsing the ship at the other end of the side streets.

We returned to the ship for lunch and to drop off souvenirs and then set off again for Mount Congreve Garden, which was opened especially for us. Our visit was a huge success. If you wished, you can ramble for hours along paths lined with gorgeous blossoms. There were banks of colour mixed in with delicate blooms that enchanted everyone. It seemed a shame to leave despite a chill wind, but time and tide…

We reached the ship in good time to drink tea and listen to Claudia Holgate’s excellent lecture on weather conditions delivered with her usual aplomb and light touch, and then it was time to eat … again… Another fantastic day aboard the Silver Explorer.