We have arrived by train in Waterford Ireland, the oldest city in Ireland and the 5th largest in the Republic with a population of approximately 54,000. It was founded as a Viking settlement in 914 and became a heavily fortified stronghold with a medieval wall surrounding the city that measured approximately 1.5 km. Reginald’s Tower, constructed in the 13th Century was once a part of those defenses and still stands today within the area known as the Viking Triangle.
Excavations in and around the old fortifications have revealed a trove of relics from the founding period. The city is proud of this heritage and presents a number of symbols of that time including an accurate reproduction of a Viking longboat, a Viking dwelling, and a remarkable 30 minute virtual reality presentation on Viking lore and history. The host of the production was an actor who took his role quite seriously.
The virtual reality glasses and headphones caused Christine, who was seated next to me in the Viking house, to “disappear” and be replaced by very real looking and acting people from the past. It was IMAX on steroids!
Our friends, Huw and Nina, arrived from Wales. It has been 11 years since we last saw them. The years melted away with the first embraces. This evening we shared dinner and hoisted a pint. We will tour the Waterford Crystal factory with them tomorrow before beginning our multi-day driving trek about Southern Ireland.
One pub here in town proudly displays license plates from each of the 50 US States, including our home State of Missouri!
Peace Everyone. Pete