My parents and grandmother used my semester abroad as an excuse to book their own trip to Ireland. After a week on the Wild Atlantic Way, they headed over to Cork for 5 days of quality time with me including stops in Waterford, Blarney, Midleton, Cobh, and Dublin!
On a nice Irish Wednesday morning, my parents and grandma picked me up at my apartment with their personal driver, Nigel, on their way to Waterford – approx. 2 hrs east of Cork City. The original plan was to visit me after Waterford but when I have the opportunity to see more of the country (and spend more time with the fam, of course), why not take it? Plus, skipping lectures is totally fine if your parents are the reason you’re not attending, right?
Upon arrival, we took a tour of the Waterford Crystal factory. It was really neat to see how glass is blown, shaped, cut, and etched into those beautiful designs. The tour also explained the difference between regular every-day items and specialty items such as the trophies below.
Across the street from Waterford Crystal, you’ll find Waterford’s museums; we visited both the Bishop’s Palace and the Medieval Museum. In Bishop’s Palace we had a short, personal guided tour of the building including many paintings of famous historical figures and costumed tour guide. The Medieval Museum has a nice set-up for their self-guided audio tour perusing through Waterford’s medieval history, especially the importance of the harbor.
Waterford Castle Hotel
Our accommodation for the night was quite lovely and unique! The Waterford Castle Hotel and Golf Resort is located on its own little island not too far from downtown. Each room has a claw-foot tub which was a special touch! We also took advantage of the nature walk around the hotel grounds and their 3 course dinner in the castle dining room. It was quite the treat compared to my day-to-day apartment living!
Upon our return to Cork, we took a couple hours to collect the gift of gab from Blarney Castle’s famed Blarney Stone! The worst part was the climb to the top (I’m really not a fan of old stone spiral staircases) but we all made it and enjoyed some stunning views from the top! The grounds and gardens around Blarney Castle make the castle even more spectacular. You can also tour the Blarney House in the summer months.
Midleton, Cobh, and Dublin will be included in “Meet the Family Part 2!”