After leaving Dublin, our bus driver was a real trooper in accepting to do a little detour to Cushendale Wollen Mills. Well, actually it was more than the bus driver who was a bit inconvenienced. Imagine the mill owner receiving a call at about 4:55pm to warn him that a bus load of Canadian knitters was on its way for a visit...when he generally closes at 5:30!
I bought some of this interesting fibre. It's cut from the edges of the woven mohair blanket/shawls from Cushendale's. I'm not sure what anyone else would do with it, but I made a scarf in literally 10 minutes by making an open chain stitch of the entire 140g of it, then I cut the chain in 3 equal lengths and tied the ends in to a large knot and braided it very loosely. Voila!
In Waterford, we toured the showroom of the Waterford Crystal factory. When I first saw the details of the tour that our travel agent, Pam had put together for us, I was thrilled to see that rather than being a retreat, exclusively for knitters, there were many quintessentially Irish attractions that had been built in that would appeal to anyone, the tour of the crystal factory being one of these activities. Consequently we have enjoyed the company of 4 non-knitting spouses and a non-kniiting sister, all of whom seem to be enjoying themselves tremendously.
Here is a picture of one of the prototypes of pieces being worked on at the Waterford plant, which will be used as gifts during the 2012 Olympics in London.
At Blarney Castle a good number of our stalwart gang actually climbed the 140+ stairs up to the top of the castle to hang upside-down over the side in order to position themselves to do the requisite kissing. I took pictures from below looking up at their gymnastic efforts but they didn't turn out very well. I decided to share instead this nice picture of the castle (which, through the magic of digital photography and photoshop, I was able to straighten the towers so that they would be perpendicular to the ground, and not leaning as they seem to do in real life. )
This beautiful garden on the grounds is deceptively peaceful looking. In fact it is the Poison Garden with signs like the one below posted everywhere describing the poisonous properties of each of the plants featured, including Mandrake of Harry Potter fame.
My favourite part of the Poison Garden was the giant iron web which enclosed but 2 little poppy plants. I was confused, especially when I read the horticultural sign, which identified the exhibit as cannibis. Then I read the other sign that said that the marijuana plants had been confiscated by the Garda (police) and they were hoping to replant the exhibit next season when the licensing issues had been taken care of.