Monday, May 11, 2015

Southward to Waterford, Ireland

So  midafternoon saw us back on the bus heading  southeast  to  the  land of my forebears.. Waterford.
Waterford (from Old Norse Veðrafjǫrðr, meaning "ram fjord"; Irish: Port Láirge, meaning "Lárag's port") is a city in Ireland. It is located in the South-East Region and is also part of the province of Munster. It is the oldest and the fifth most populous city in the country. 

Viking raiders first established a settlement near Waterford in 853. It and all the other longphorts were vacated in 902, the Vikings having been driven out by the native Irish. The Vikings re-established themselves in Ireland at Waterford in 914, led at first by Ottir Iarla (Jarl Ottar) until 917, and after that by Ragnall ua Ímair and the Uí Ímair dynasty, and built what would be Ireland's first city. Among the most prominent rulers of Waterford was Ivar of Waterford.

In 1167, Diarmait Mac Murchada, the deposed King of Leinster, failed in an attempt to take Waterford. He returned in 1170 with Cambro-Norman mercenaries under Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke (known as Strongbow); together they besieged and took the city after a desperate defence. In furtherance of the Norman invasion of Ireland, King Henry II of England landed at Waterford in 1171. Waterford and then Dublin were declared royal cities, with Dublin also declared capital of Ireland.  I share this   history   because upon our arrival     our  historian guide    had some of our troop   act out this saga  and  he chose  my husband, Lynn to play the part of  the hero, Diamait...  which, by the way was the same said Diarmait  in the  love triangle   that  Declan  shared with Anna  in the  film, Leap Year...  I was loving this! But I get ahead of myself!

 Waterford lies along the River Suir.. 
 as we crossed over to  the  quay side of the river....    the  personality of  Waterford  took more shape...
 Below  is our hotel,   The  Tower Hotel....
 right  at the  center  square  which  is home to  a  fabulous statue of Thomas Francis Meagher..
Thomas Francis Meagher was an Irish nationalist and leader of the Young Irelanders in the Rebellion of 1848. After being convicted of sedition, he was first sentenced to death, but received transportation for life to Van Diemen's Land in Australia.
  and is right across from Reginald's   Tower.
Reginald’s Tower was built in 1003, as part of the city wall, by Reginald (or Ragnall), son of Ivar, the Norse king of Waterford. It was originally built of wood, but was later replaced by the stone structure that exists today. The Norsemen of that period did not commonly use stone as a building material. However, excavations made in the 1990s have revealed that part of Waterford's defences were built in stone prior to the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1170. The present tower is likely to have been built in the 13th or 14th century; it may have been constructed between 1253 and 1280. In 1185 Prince John of England landed in Waterford and organised the rebuilding of the city's defences, including the tower.

The tower is 54 feet high; its horizontal cross section is circular. It is 42½ feet in diameter and is surmounted by a conical roof. A spiral staircase ascends within the thick walls - these are 10 feet wide at the base, tapering down to 7 feet at the top. It was part of the ancient city walls of Waterford and could be considered the apex of a triangle formed by three structures – Turgesius Tower on Barronstrand Street, St. Martins Castle on Lady Lane, and Reginald’s Tower at the quay and the mall. It was strategically located on the high ground between a branch of St. John's River on the southeast (since drained, and now known as the Mall) and the River Suir to the north. It is also very close to the historic French Church. The site is sometimes called Dundory (an Irish word which means "fort of oak"), and hence the tower is occasionally called the Dundory Tower. It is also known as the Ring Tower. It was one of seventeen towers which encircled the city of Waterford in medieval times. Today it is the largest of the six surviving towers, which are considered the finest examples of medieval urban defence in Ireland. I relate this history  because  of  my family line (Higgins) connection with Waterford...

Jack Burtchaell's Walking Tour in Waterford City, Ireland. Bord Fáilte Approved Guide
We  enjoyed the  walking tour provided   by our guide, Jack!
 He led us up and through the  protected and  set apart  historic  section of town..  that  revealed the  Nordic  and    English   influence!
A replica  of a Viking  longship  that  would have sailed into these waters so long ago.

 I wish I could have  taped  Jack's accounts   but alas,   just to be there  was  enough!
 The guys in our group seemed   more interested in the  story....    I   was  too busy taking photos..
   and then   aha,  who is that  dashing  warrior    hiding behind that    shield!
   the day was waning and  we had  far to walk...

 The Norman and    English   occupation was      interesting    but again,  I had to  get this photo of King  Gordon and  Queen Marie!
 That bench was looking   pretty good to me...  but on  we     trudged...  uh, I trudged!

 This cathedral was    so    amazing in its   design and  details...  Many thanks to  John Roberts.
 Being  a lover of all things medieval I  was enthralled with this tomb of the unknown Knight!

 from here the tour    continued to  the House of Waterford Crystal!!.I have to be honest.. I was  just too tired and I  own all the Waterford that I   wanted...  so  I  returned to the hotel,  but Lynn  saw some of the  factory..
main showroom at house of waterford crystal - waterford - ireland
Image result for waterford Ireland crystal
Image result for waterford Ireland crystal
I get just as excited  when I think of my  few  goblets I  have at home.  And  it was  good to get to the   hotel  room and open the windows to  beging airing  it out..   Very little a/c in Ireland  so   the fresh  air coming in the windows  was    really important  since we had taken  our  warm sunny weather to Ireland with us!

We  passed right through  the   bar area to the  dining room....
Image result for the tower hotel waterford
Lynn had  a Pork Terrine and  pork roast

 I had a caesar salad and  delish Irish Stew

 We  both  enjoyed   creme  brulee'

 others at our table had    a medley of ice cream and fruit..
 But the best part of the evening  was   provided by Jonus... Our  server... he was a  hoot and  so charming!!!

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