Touring the House of Waterford Crystal Factory in Waterford, Ireland

by Janis on August 11, 2017

House of Waterford Crystal tour, Waterford, IrelandWhen in Waterford, Ireland — like we were during our 14-day Celtic Explorer cruise on Holland America’s ms Prinsendamthe number one thing to do is to take the House of Waterford Crystal Factory Tour.

This very knowledgeable gentleman, pictured above, led our 1-hour tour.

House of Waterford Crystal, Waterford, IrelandThe tour begins with a video tracing the history of Waterford Crystal from its beginning in 1793 in its namesake Irish city.

Blowing room - House of Waterford Crystal tour, Waterford, IrelandWhile there are many impressive things to see during the tour, we were most amazed in the blowing room, where you get an up-close view as craftsmen transform glowing balls of molten crystal into elegant shapes.

Blowing crystal, House of Waterford Crystal tour, Waterford, IrelandBlowing — we learned — is the best way to make a hollow in the crystal to hold water, wine, ice or anything else.

blowing process - House of Waterford Crystal tour, Waterford, IrelandAfter blowing, the craftsman shapes the hot glass.

marking crystal for cuts, House of Waterford Crystal tour, Waterford, Ireland Another interesting part of the Waterford factory tour is the hand marking area, where the crystal is hand-marked to assist the Master Cutter in cutting the pattern onto the crystal.

While tour participants have to stay behind the yellow line, everyone gets an up-close view of each stage of the crystal-making process.

cutting department, House of Waterford Crystal tour, Waterford, Ireland In the cutting department, master craftsmen use industrial diamond-tipped wheels to cut the crystal. The cutters have learned and memorized each pattern during their training years.

After cutting, the marker guidelines are removed during the cleaning process.

showing the process, House of Waterford Crystal tour, Waterford, Ireland In this area, we saw some of the complicated planning that goes into the creation of each unique crystal piece, such as these awards for the People’s Choice Awards.

examples of work, House of Waterford Crystal tour, Waterford, Ireland

During the tour, we saw hundreds of examples of the vast variety of Waterford creations.

sculpting and engraving, Waterford Crystal factory tour, Waterford, IrelandWe also witnessed the last two stages in the creation of a piece of Waterford Crystal — the precision processes involving sculpting and engraving each piece of crystal.

display in retail shop, House of Waterford Crystal, Waterford, Ireland The tour ends with a visit to the retail shop, where you’ll see the see the world’s largest display of Waterford Crystal.

the bear in the retail shop, House of Waterford Crystal, Waterford, IrelandMr. Jones posed by the giant Waterford Crystal Bear on display.

While we did not make any purchases at the House of Waterford Crystal, the tour made us even more appreciative of the Waterford Crystal Millennium Collection “Love” Toasting Flutes that were given to us as wedding gifts in 1999.

You can book your House of Waterford Crystal Factory Tour here from Get Your Guide.

Have you visited Waterford, Ireland? 

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We used this book to help plan our day in Waterford, as well as our days in other Irish ports:

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Ireland

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