Part 21: Dublin to Glasha Farmhouse


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The Trip

We left Dublin in our new rental car with Steve at the wheel.  We traveled south to Waterford and then north to Glash Farmhouse, our residence for the next few days.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

Coming into Waterford we spotted this modern suspension bridge.

Our route never took us close enough to get a clear shot of the bridge; this was the best I could do from the back seat of the car.

Waterford had a big church steeple in the center of town.

We stopped for lunch at a small pub near the Waterford Crystal Factory.  After we finished lunch, we decided to take their tour.  The tour was clearly a shill for the gift shop, but we did learn some interesting fact.

Interestingly they still use wooden molds for their specialty items and one-off trophies.

The molds can be use a few times before the heat of the molten glass damage them beyond further use.

The new molds are made in their mold shop out of Irish beechwood.

The molds are damaged with each use, but they are usually only used once.

A large portion of the actions done at the factory are manual.  Above, this fellow has removed glass from the furnace and is preparing to blow it through the long pipe.

The glass is spun on the pipe and shaped with a heat-proof pad while being rolled.

This piece was completed and is now cooling.

The glass is blown while being spun to maintain symmetry.

The now-bigger piece is dropped into a shaping mold.

He continues to blow, forcing the bottom of the glass into the shape of the mold.

The mold is the cast iron container below.  Note that the blow pipe has a funnel-shaped end to hold the glass.

He continues to work the glass while it is still pliable.

The piece is separated from the blowpipe and is being returned to the kiln to anneal and re-heat for additional forming.

A different piece is fresh out of the furnace and is being shaped while being spun.

The rotation while blowing insures symmetry.

Once the pieces have fully cooled they are moved on to the cutting stations.  Craftsmen make each cut by hand using diamond blades.

Note the guide lines to assist in the cutting.

The really complex patterns that have curves are done by a robot.  The robot has a shape measuring tool and first measures the outline of the piece to account for any eccentricities.  Then the cutting tool is rotated into position and the cutting begins using water as the coolant.

The cutting scars the glass and leaves it with a milky finish.  To restore the bright clear luster, the pieces are bathed in a combination of hydroflouric and sulpheric acids.  The hydroflouric acid eats away the surface of the glass.

On some pieces, the milky color from the cutting process is desired.

Here a copper wheel coated with diamond dust is used to produce the surface abrasion patterns.

This trophy is hand crafted and made of a number of components that have been attached to one another.

Like every other tour, it ends in the gift shop.  But, they had some very nice stuff.

From Waterford, we headed north toward our destination at Glasha.  Along the road we spotted an old watchtower that has fallen into disrepair.  We arrived a the Glasha Farmhouse around sundown and had to hustle into the nearest town to find some food before the restaurants closed.

A big portion of our trip was along Ireland's equivalent of an American freeway.  There was plenty to see, but at some level all freeways look alike independent of what country they are in.  Waterford is worth a visit if you are in the area, but I am not sure I could suggest it as a destination.  The crystal factory is worth a stop if you happen to be in Waterford.  They make nice products, albeit quite pricey.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2015, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.