Dublin in our new rental car with Steve at the wheel. We
traveled south to Waterford and then north to Glash Farmhouse,
our residence for the next few days.
The photos below are what we saw.
into Waterford we spotted this modern suspension bridge.
route never took us close enough to get a clear shot of the
bridge; this was the best I could do from the back seat of the
had a big church steeple in the center of town.
stopped for lunch at a small pub near the Waterford Crystal Factory.
After we finished lunch, we decided to take their tour.
The tour was clearly a shill for the gift shop, but we did learn
some interesting fact.
they still use wooden molds for their specialty items and
molds can be use a few times before the heat of the molten glass
damage them beyond further use.
molds are made in their mold shop out of Irish beechwood.
molds are damaged with each use, but they are usually only used
portion of the actions done at the factory are manual.
Above, this fellow has removed glass from the furnace and is
preparing to blow it through the long pipe.
glass is spun on the pipe and shaped with a heat-proof pad while
piece was completed and is now cooling.
glass is blown while being spun to maintain symmetry.
now-bigger piece is dropped into a shaping mold.
continues to blow, forcing the bottom of the glass into the
shape of the mold.
is the cast iron container below. Note that the blow pipe
has a funnel-shaped end to hold the glass.
continues to work the glass while it is still pliable.
piece is separated from the blowpipe and is being returned to
the kiln to anneal and re-heat for additional forming.
different piece is fresh out of the furnace and is being shaped
while being spun.
rotation while blowing insures symmetry.
pieces have fully cooled they are moved on to the cutting
stations. Craftsmen make each cut by hand using diamond
guide lines to assist in the cutting.
really complex patterns that have curves are done by a
robot. The robot has a shape measuring tool and first
measures the outline of the piece to account for any
eccentricities. Then the cutting tool is rotated into
position and the cutting begins using water as the coolant.
cutting scars the glass and leaves it with a milky finish.
To restore the bright clear luster, the pieces are bathed in a
combination of hydroflouric and sulpheric acids. The
hydroflouric acid eats away the surface of the glass.
pieces, the milky color from the cutting process is desired.
Here a copper wheel
coated with diamond dust is used to produce the surface
This trophy is hand
crafted and made of a number of components that have been
attached to one another.
Like every other
tour, it ends in the gift shop. But, they had some very
From Waterford, we
headed north toward our destination at Glasha. Along the
road we spotted an old watchtower that has fallen into disrepair.
We arrived a the Glasha Farmhouse around sundown and had to
hustle into the nearest town to find some food before the
A big portion of our trip was along Ireland's equivalent of an American freeway. There was plenty to see, but at some level all freeways look alike independent of what country they are in. Waterford is worth a visit if you are in the area, but I am not sure I could suggest it as a destination. The crystal factory is worth a stop if you happen to be in Waterford. They make nice products, albeit quite pricey.
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