Day 5 will be the eve of St. Patrick's Day. In Ireland, the saint's day is a national
holiday, and they celebrate it for four days... starting with this day. Whatever we
end up doing today, it will be enhanced by whatever local festivities are going on.
The day starts in Waterford, where we will visit the Waterford Crystal Factory. I
had no idea that this crystal was renowned around the world. Only when I started
telling people about my various Irish destinations did I realize that this
was a major tour stop. Being that I hadn't heard of Waterford crystal until recently,
this part of the trip probably won't hold a lot of interest for me. Although it
could be interesting if we get to see some of the manufacturing process in action.
People have told me that Waterford crystal is really expensive, too, so I doubt I'll
buy a whole lot of authentic souvenirs here!
Yet another castle, this one in Kilkenny.
When we're done in Waterford, we will then drive north to Kilkenny. (If you're a
fan of "South Park" like myself, then the name of that town is kind of funny. But
I think I read somewhere that "kil" is Celtic for "church", and many towns have
names including the word.) Kilkenny is home to a castle that takes the town's name,
and we will get to tour it. The castle was built in the twelfth century, and actually
served as the owners' residence until it was donated to the nation in 1967. I'm rather
upset that we won't get to spend an evening in Kilkenny, as my guide says that it is
"a paradise for avid drinkers." Not that I'm that avid, but the fact that the town
has over 80 official pubs crammed into such a small area makes me want to explore
all of them!
A parade of pubs leads the way|
to Kilkenny's city hall.
Kilkenny will be our last major stop before arriving in Dublin. The bus will stop
in a town named Athy (I can't find it anywhere in my guide), and we're supposed to
have a break for tea and scones at someone's farmhouse. I wonder if the house's
owners have set up a souvenir shop in a guest bedroom somewhere.
After we've had our fill of midday snacks, we will begin our
final drive to Dublin, where we will spend the last two nights of the trip. I have
been doing some research on how St. Patrick's Day is celebrated in Dublin, and it's
absolutely awesome. Unfortunately, I won't be around for the final two days of the
celebration, but I'll be there for the first two days, probably the most exciting part.
On St. Patrick's Day Eve (today), they have a celebration
down by the River Liffey which runs through the center of the city. If it wasn't
a big holiday weekend when I was going, I would probably plan a pub crawl, as there
are all kinds of pubs and bars throughout the city. But it should be much more
festive, lively, and fun to celebrate the holiday and party with the Irish on their turf!
So much beer, so little tolerance.
Day 4 before
Tour finale: day 6