Monday, October 20, 2014


I like a nice glass. A drinking glass I mean. Even a mug for that matter. It has to feel good in my hand. It has to look nice. If I drink out of a nice glass, whatever I am drinking taste better. There's been studies on this.
No there hasn't, not that I know of anyway. 

But I know what I like. For instance. Coffee. Drinking coffee out of a paper cup is like.....well it's just awful. Put that same coffee in a nice mug, preferably a hand made coffee mug from a potter like 
Silver Fox Pottery and it's a whole new experience.

On the boat I use a coffee mug, the likes of which have been portrayed in every movie ever made that has a ship in it with people drinking coffee. It's also the same mug as seen in every shiney diner that was in operation in the 1920's. The mug is a plain white thick object that is sturdy. It pairs nicely with the Blue Plate Special. It screams "BORING." But it will do in a pinch.

Take a glass of Guinness for example. Served in a glass "pint". It makes a difference. Have you ever had a guinness in the States out of a can? Don't. That actually should be outlawed.

I can't drink water out of a plastic water bottle like those you see people using in your local fitness center. It just doesn't take good. At home I use a canning jar, without the lid. Tastes great.

When we were recently in Ireland, ( oh, you didn't know?) I wanted to take a trip to the town of Waterford. It was very doable. It was close. Hell, every town in Ireland is close.

If you have had the good fortune of holding a Waterford wine glass in your hand, you get what I mean when I say, "It just feels good in your hand." Especially, I wanted to "take the tour" of the factory to see how these beautiful items are made.

Are you familiar with Waterford Crystal? Just let me say this. In the words of Martin Luther King,
"I have been to the mountain top."

The town of Waterford, a river front community that was all a buzz back in the day because of it's location, is a mere memory of what it was when the ship traffic in and out of the port of Waterford was none stop. 

 In the car with me on our way to Waterford were my wife as well as daughter Erin and son-in-law Matt. When I mentioned to them how great this tour was sure to be, well, let's just say they were less than really really enthusiastic. But they appeased ole Dad, and in we went.

It only took those less than enthusiastic about 15 minutes to be quite enthralled with what they were seeing.

I mean really, watching these artisans doing their thing was mind blowing to me. Hot globs of hot globby stuff.......

...spinning it.....

and blowing into it....

Well, all I can say is you'd have to be damn numb not to be excited watching these guys at work.

Below,  Erin holds a copy of the NCAA College Football Championship trophy that was presented to Alabama a couple of years ago. ( The original trophy was dropped and damaged at some point in the celebratory craziness that followed their win, so Waterford sent them a new one. )

Pictured below is Matt, not showing the proper amount of awe, as I would have liked as he held the Alabama trophy. I didn't get to hold it but if I did I would have cradled it in my arms like a new born baby and cushioned it with a blanket of fine Irish wool to protect it.

Each piece of their crystal is etched by hand. No, wait, excuse me, I don't think you heard me.

 If you're still with me at this point, let me tell you what one of these artists has to do to be accepted as a glass blower at Waterford Crystal. I found this most interesting.
  They are given a piece of crystal. The tour guide showed this piece to us. ( not the one pictured above ) It is a bowl, maybe a fruit or soup bowl. It's quite big. Supposedly it has every "cut" that Waterford uses, and there are 250 different cuts. The hopeful job seeker is handed this bowl and he is told he has 5 years to make one just like it. Upon completion of his piece, it is inspected by some obviously real hard ass, because if one of the cuts happen to be wrong, the inspector drops it on the floor where years of this apprentices work get shattered. At that point he has 3 more years to try to make another one. If he succeeds, he is allowed to work at Waterford Crystal.
I thought getting a Chiefs job on a tug was hard.

A favorite of mine pictured below.

Now I understand why this stuff is so expensive.

I have no explanation for the shoe on the building. None.


Jerral Miles said...

Fantastic Blog Post, Mark... better than the best TV travel show. Wow! Your writing and pictures took me there.

Donna said...

Stunning - both the town and the glasswork! Such craftsmanship.

Denise at Autumn Sky said...

I would find that very interesting to see. I've always loved art glass, crystal, and such pretty things. I've watched glass blowing and find it quite amazing.

Joey said...

First of all - I get a LAUGH OUT LOUD out of almost all your posts! Just saying'

Second - I actually found this post FASCINATING! I am putting Waterford on my Ireland Buck List!

Busy Bee Suz said...

I love this….I would have loved the tour myself.
My MIL and FIL went to Ireland several years ago and they brought me back some lovely waterford wine glasses; they are exquisite and I use them on special occasions….you know, NOT daily. :)
When we were in Venice years ago we watched the glass blowers---such an art!