Scottish Tour Guide's Blog

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This morning, we departed our Waterford hotel and drove round to nearby Waterford Crystal where we toured the manufacturing process and showroom.

We were taken through all the basic steps needed to produce a piece of Waterford Crystal. Mould-making is first, where wooden moulds are produced.Then the glass itself is blown by expert glass-blowers . Out of molten crystal a glass vessel is produced via a process that involves a furnace operating at 1,400 degrees Celsius.

 

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The next step is very important in producing the desired end product. After careful inspection of the “raw” glass the passed specimens are handed to the cutters who use  diamond-tipped tools, cutting into the glass to create the required design.

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A selection of final products can be viewed (and purchased) in the show-room.

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After departing Waterford Crystal we walked round the corner to view Reginald’s Tower, which is believed to have been founded in the 10th century, Viking era.

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Next, we headed directly west, across Southern Ireland to our next destination of Killarney, stopping en-route for a refreshment stop at  Mitchelstown, a pleasant enough country town. Our route traversed mainly rolling green countryside and small farms.

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We finally arrived Killarney at 6.00pm. Tomorrow we visit Muckross House and Ring of Kerry.

 

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Today, we departed our lodgings in Navan, north of Dublin and proceeded as follows:

  • First, to the famous, Newgrange prehistoric site in County Meath. Newgrange is just one, but the best known, of a number of passage tombs in a landscape populated with  prehistoric archaeology. The Newgrange monument is surrounded by a kerb of 97 stones dominated by the highly decorated Entrance Stone.The mound covers  a single tomb consisting of a long passage and a cross-shaped chamber. We toured the site including the interior.

Images of Newgrange Prehistoric Site


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  • Next, we drove south to the small town of Kildare where we stopped for lunch. Here we learned of the nearby Irish National Stud allied with which are Japanese Gardens, SaintFiachra’s Garden and the Horse Museum.
    • The Irish National Stud Company was formed in 1945 to promote the interests of the Irish Bloodstock Industry which continues today. We joined a guided tour of the equine site which included the Sun Chariot Yard, Foaling Unit, Stallion Boxes, Mating Area and a few thoroughbred stallions.
    • The Japanese Garden dates back over 100 years and represents the Life of Man including birth, learning, engagement, marriage, old age, etc.

Resident stallion being brought into stables for the night.

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Tour Guests with Guide

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Stallion: Dragon Pulse

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Japanese Garden

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  • Finally, we drove down to Waterford in the S.E.of Ireland and our lodgings for the night. Tomorrow, we visit Waterford Crystal and other sites.

 

The weather today was very benign providing a combination of warm temperatures and blue skies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(Above image shows the P&O ferry at Troon this morning.)

This morning, we departed our lodgings in Troon, on the coast south of Glasgow and caught the 11.00 am ferry to Larne, Northern Ireland. This sea crossing took 2 hours 15 mins and passed close to Ailsa Craig en-route. Ailsa Craig is a small island of volcanic origin from which Scottish curling stones are manufactured.

Ailsa Craig

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On arrival at Larne we disembarked and drove south for about 1 hour to the coastal town of Carrickfergus where we stopped for shopping. There is a 12th century castle at Carrickfergus although we did not visit it.

Carrickfergus Town Centre

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Carrickfergus Castle

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Next, we continued south towards Dublin, stopping for shopping and a break at the old town of Newry, County Down.

Newry Cathedral

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Newry Town Centre

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We finally arrived at our destination of Navan about 6.00pm whereupon we checked into our hotel. Navan positions us for an early visit to the famous Newgrange Neolithic Passage Grave site which is first on our agenda tomorrow morning. Newgrange is about 5000 years old. After Newgrange we travel down to Waterford.