Our last hurrah in Ireland
Trip Start Jun 25, 2012
32Trip End Aug 25, 2012
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After breakfast we headed off to Waterford, famous for its crystal. We found a park near the factory and arrived just in time for a tour, which was fascinating. We were shown all the stages of manufacture, from blowing and shaping, to smoothing and cutting, as well as freeform work. At the end we got a chance to buy something nice for Anne and Steve for their wedding next month!
After that we headed back to our car, fed the meter, and found a fabulous restaurant in a little strip nearby. This was a bodega offering French style food and it was absolutely delicious – the best food we'd had in Ireland! After a huge meal there and recommendations about a good restaurant to go to in Dublin, we headed off.
Driving to Dublin was a dream with a beautiful motorway the whole way, but finding our hotel was not quite so simple. Luckily Mike pulled up next to a taxi driver and asked for directions and he escorted us to it, waving at it to us as he went on. We had that sort of friendly help from everyone in Ireland, which was really great.
The Camden Court Hotel was really nice and we had a very comfortable room. As we’d had such a big lunch we just had a snack in the bar before heading off to our rooms and bed.
Tuesday August 14
We booked ourselves in for a Viking Splash tour of Dublin at 4pm, so after a good sleep-in we collected our huge amounts of laundry, walked that to a nearby launderette and dropped it there, and then wandered into the centre of Dublin.
The Viking Splash tours are hilarious – they are conducted in old amphibious craft from WWII and they get everyone to wear silly helmets and roar at poor pedestrians as we go by, whom they call Celts. Our delightful driver gave a very informative commentary about the buildings and their historical significance that we passedm mixed with lots of fun which kept the kids happy. About two thirds of the way through the tour, they put life jackets on us and drove the bus into the Grand Canal, where it cruised around for a while, looking at more sights – great fun!
After seeing the sights of Dublin, we caught a taxi to the Guinness factory, where we had a self guided tour through their enormous building. As you climb through the different floors they have a huge amount of information, not just on how you make Guinness but also its marketing campaigns and history. This was really interesting, and once we reached the top floor we got our pint of Guinness – soft drink for the kids – and enjoyed it looking out over Dublin from a bar with the best views in town!
Finally we left the factory, hopped in a cab and went to the Rustic Stone Restaurant the Waterford chap had recommended to us, which we luckily had been able to book the night before. This was absolutely stunning, with amazing food, beautifully served. The chef had previously worked in a Michelin starred restaurant, and that attention to detail and interest in the possibilities of different ingredients really showed. They served some of the meals on hot volcanic stones that continued cooking the meat, so you could control exactly how much you wanted it done.
After our best meal in Ireland we waddled home to our hotel, only a 15 minute walk away, and fell into bed, ready for heading off to France the next day.