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  • HI, I'M RICK STEVES, DIGGING PEAT IN IRELAND.

  • EVEN TODAY, SOME OF THIS STUFF KEEPS THE HOME FIRES BURNING

  • IN A LAND FAMOUS FOR ITS SMILES AND CHARM.

  • IRELAND WAS NEVER CONQUERED BY THE ROMAN EMPIRE,

  • SO EVEN WHEN ROME FELL,

  • DRAGGING THE REST OF EUROPE INTO DARKNESS,

  • IRISH CIVILIZATION WAS ABLE TO FLOURISH.

  • WHILE NICKNAMED THE ISLAND OF SAINTS AND SCHOLARS,

  • IT'S ALSO KNOWN AS THE TERRIBLE BEAUTY

  • FOR ITS BITTERSWEET MIX OF POLITICAL STRUGGLES,

  • HUNGER, FRIENDLY PEOPLE AND GORGEOUS LANDSCAPES.

  • WE VISIT AN ANCIENT MONASTERY,

  • THE FINEST FORMAL GARDEN ON THIS GARDEN ISLAND,

  • AND CUT WATERFORD CRYSTAL.

  • WE'LL EXPLORE THE ULTIMATE- IN-ITS-DAY BRITISH FORTRESS,

  • CLIMB A LEGENDARY LIGHTHOUSE,

  • AND ENJOY SOME GREAT IRISH CUISINE.

  • AND THIS EPISODE IS A FAMILY AFFAIR,

  • AS WE'LL BE JOINED BY JACKIE, ANDY, AND MY WIFE ANNE,

  • WHO'S IRISH AND PROUD.

  • IRELAND IS THE WESTERN-MOST PART OF EUROPE.

  • STARTING IN THE WICKLOW MOUNTAINS,

  • WE'LL VISIT THE MONASTERY AT GLENDALOUGH

  • AND POWERSCOURT GARDENS.

  • THEN ON TO WATERFORD, WHERE I'LL JOIN MY FAMILY,

  • VISIT THE HISTORIC TOWNS OF COBH AND KINSALE,

  • THE ROCK OF CASHEL, AND MUCKROSS HOUSE

  • AS WE WORK OUR WAY TO THE RUGGED RING OF KERRY.

  • HIGH IN THE WICKLOW MOUNTAINS, YOU'LL SEE VAST PEAT BOGS

  • WITH FRESHLY CUT PEAT BRICKS DRYING IN THE WIND.

  • PEAT WAS IRELAND'S STANDARD HEATING FUEL FOR CENTURIES.

  • IT'S MADE FROM DECOMPOSED PLANTS,

  • KIND OF HALFWAY TO COAL, WHICH IS SLICED OUT OF THESE BOGS,

  • STACKED TO DRY,

  • AND THEN BURNED LIKE PRESTO LOGS IN FIREPLACES AND STOVES.

  • IN THE OLD DAYS,

  • FOUR OR FIVE GOOD MEN COULD CUT ENOUGH PEAT IN A DAY

  • TO KEEP A FAMILY WARM THROUGH THE COLD IRISH WINTER.

  • TODAY, A FEW LOCALS,

  • NOSTALGIC FOR THE SMELL OF A GOOD TURF FIRE,

  • STILL COME UP HERE TO CUT THEIR OWN FUEL.

  • THE WICKLOW MOUNTAINS, WHILE ONLY TEN MILES SOUTH OF DUBLIN,

  • FEEL REMOTE, REMOTE ENOUGH TO HAVE BEEN A HANDY REFUGE

  • FOR THE IRISH WHO OPPOSED ENGLISH RULE.

  • 200 YEARS AGO, WHEN THE FRUSTRATED BRITISH

  • BUILT THIS MILITARY ROAD TO FLUSH OUT THOSE REBELS,

  • THE AREA BECAME MORE ACCESSIBLE.

  • NOW THIS SAME ROAD TAKES NATURE LOVERS

  • THROUGH SOME OF IRELAND'S RICHEST SCENERY.

  • MY FRIEND AND LOCAL GUIDE DENNIS O'REILLY,

  • WHO LEADS TOURS THROUGH THIS AREA,

  • IS JOINING US AS WE EXPLORE THE WICKLOW MOUNTAINS.

  • GLENDALOUGH, WHICH MEANS VALLEY OF THE TWO LAKES,

  • HIDES IRELAND'S MOST IMPRESSIVE MONASTIC SETTLEMENT.

  • THIS IS ST. KEVIN'S CHURCH, A BEAUTIFUL STRUCTURE.

  • ST. KEVIN CAME HERE IN THE 6th CENTURY

  • AND HE LIVED BY THE UPPER LAKE IN A CAVE.

  • AND THE MONASTERY ST. KEVIN FOUNDED FLOURISHED

  • DESPITE REPEATED VIKINGS RAIDS THROUGHOUT MEDIEVAL TIMES.

  • A THOUSAND YEARS AGO, IN AN IRELAND WITHOUT CITIES,

  • MONASTIC COMMUNITIES LIKE THIS ONE HERE AT GLENDALOUGH

  • WERE MAINSTAYS OF CIVILIZATION.

  • THEY KEPT LITERATE LIFE ALIVE

  • AND PROVIDED A FOUNDATION FOR RURAL IRISH SOCIETY.

  • TODAY, IRELAND IS DOTTED WITH EVOCATIVE REMINDERS

  • FROM THIS AGE OF SAINTS AND SCHOLARS.

  • Dennis: THE AGE OF SAINTS AND SCHOLARS

  • WAS WHEN THE REST OF EUROPE WAS IN THE DARK AGES

  • BUT WE IN IRELAND HAD ALL THE SCHOLARS.

  • Rick: AND THE SAINTS, TOO.

  • Dennis: AND THE SAINTS.

  • AND THEY WERE HERE WORKING AWAY,

  • MAKING THE MANUSCRIPTS THAT WE HAVE NOW IN OUR MUSEUMS.

  • WHILE IT WAS LATER ABANDONED AND RUINED,

  • PILGRIMS KEPT COMING.

  • THIS MIGHT HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE FACT

  • THAT THE POPE SAID SEVEN VISITS TO GLENDALOUGH

  • HAD THE SAME INDULGENCE VALUE AS ONE VISIT TO ROME.

  • ROUND TOWERS WERE STANDARD FEATURES

  • IN EARLY IRISH MONASTIC SETTLEMENTS.

  • THEY FUNCTIONED AS BEACONS FOR PILGRIMS, BELL TOWERS,

  • AND PLACES OF FINAL REFUGE WHEN VIKINGS CAME A-KNOCKIN'.

  • JUST A FEW MILES FROM ALL THIS RUGGED BEAUTY

  • ARE THE METICULOUSLY KEPT GARDENS OF POWERSCOURT,

  • IRELAND'S FINEST.

  • WITH MUCH OF IT CREATED DURING THE VICTORIAN ERA,

  • THE MID-1800s, THE GARDENS OF POWERSCOURT ARE CALLED

  • THE GRAND FINALE OF EUROPE'S FORMAL GARDENING TRADITION,

  • PROBABLY THE LAST GREAT GARDEN OF ITS SIZE AND QUALITY

  • EVER CREATED.

  • FOR 350 YEARS,

  • THE VISCOUNTS OF POWERSCOURT DEVELOPED THIS GARDEN.

  • THE STATUARY WAS COLLECTED FROM PALACES THROUGHOUT EUROPE.

  • A FLYER LAYS OUT A GOOD WALK FOR VISITORS.

  • WITH THE DRAMATIC SUMMIT OF THE GREAT SUGAR LOAF MOUNTAIN

  • AS A BACKDROP,

  • THIS GARDEN IS A WELL-WATERED ARISTOCRATIC FANTASY.

  • WATERFORD, STRETCHING ALONG ITS RIVER,

  • IS THE MAIN CITY OF SOUTHEAST IRELAND.

  • IT CLAIMS TO BE THE OLDEST CITY IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY.

  • TO SAVE TIME AND KEEP MY LUGGAGE SAFE AS POSSIBLE,

  • I PARK IN A SECURE AND CENTRAL PAY LOT.

  • WATERFORD WAS ONCE MORE IMPORTANT THAN DUBLIN.

  • BUT TODAY, IT'S A PLAIN, GRAY, WORK-A-DAY TOWN.

  • THE VIKINGS LANDED HERE IN 850

  • AND ESTABLISHED THE TOWN AS A BASE FOR PIRACY.

  • THEY BUILT REGINALD'S TOWER,

  • NAMED AFTER THE FIRST VIKING LEADER.

  • IT WAS A STOUT CORNER OF THE ORIGINAL TOWN WALL.

  • THIS TOWER IS CONSIDERED

  • THE FIRST BUILDING IN IRELAND MADE WITH MORTAR

  • AND ONE OF THIS COUNTRY'S OLDEST SURVIVING STRUCTURES.

  • THE VIKINGS CHOSE TO BUILD THEIR BASE HERE

  • BECAUSE IT'S LOCATED AT THE MOUTH OF A SERIES OF RIVERS

  • WHICH MAKE UP THE LARGEST NATURAL NAVIGATION SYSTEM

  • WITHIN IRELAND.

  • THEIR BOATS COULD SAIL 50 MILES INTO IRELAND FROM HERE.

  • AND BACK THEN,

  • IRELAND WAS MADE TO ORDER FOR VIKING PILLAGE AND PLUNDER:

  • JUST SCATTERED MONASTIC SETTLEMENTS

  • AND SMALL GATHERINGS OF CLANS.

  • AND, SPEAKING OF CLANS, MY WIFE ANNE AND OUR TWO CHILDREN,

  • ANDY AND JACKIE, ARE JOINING US HERE

  • AS WE SET OFF FOR A SOUTH IRELAND ADVENTURE.

  • B&Bs, LIKE LES BROWN'S TOWNHOUSE, ARE AN IRISH FORTE

  • AND GREAT FOR FAMILY TRAVEL.

  • EVEN WITH A CAR TAKING US RIGHT TO THE DOORSTEP OF OUR B&Bs,

  • WE PACK LIGHT.

  • JACKIE AND ANDY EACH CARRY THEIR OWN GEAR,

  • ONE CARRY-ON-THE-AIRPLANE-SIZE BAG STORED IN THE TRUNK

  • AND A DAY BAG WITH THEIR MUSIC, GAMES, BOOKS,

  • AND WHATEVER THEY'LL NEED TO PASS THE TIME BETWEEN STOPS.

  • WE'RE HEADING OUT TO HOOK HEAD,

  • WITH A LIGHTHOUSE THAT MARKS THE ENTRANCE

  • TO WATERFORD'S IMPORTANT HARBOR.

  • HOOK HEAD HAS ONE OF THE OLDEST OPERATING LIGHTHOUSES

  • IN THIS PART OF EUROPE, AND AS WITH MOST IRISH SITES,

  • IT COMES WITH A GREAT GUIDED TOUR.

  • ON THIS ISLAND SO SATURATED IN LEGEND,

  • IT'S SAID THAT A SAINT AND HIS MONKS

  • CAME HERE IN THE 6th CENTURY.

  • THEY DISCOVERED THE BODIES OF SHIPWRECKED SAILORS.

  • DISMAYED, THEY BUILT A FIRE HERE TO WARN FUTURE MARINERS.

  • THIS BUILDING ACTUALLY DATES FROM THE 13th CENTURY,

  • BUILT BY THE ANGLO-NORMANS AS A COMMERCIAL BEACHHEAD

  • FOR THE RICH IRISH COUNTRYSIDE THEY PLANNED TO CONQUER.

  • THE LIGHTHOUSE WAS COMPLETELY AUTOMATED IN 1996

  • AND IS CONTROLLED BY A CENTRAL COMPUTER.

  • BUT WHILE MODERNIZED, IT LOOKS MUCH AS IT DID

  • WHEN THE MONKS LAST MANNED IT IN THE 16th CENTURY.

  • THE MONKS CAME HERE FOR SOLITUDE AND TO SAVE SOULS.

  • IT WOULD HAVE BEEN THEIR ORIGINAL TASK, I SUPPOSE.

  • BUT THEY ENDED UP SAVING LIVES.

  • AND THIS PROBABLY BECAME A BIGGER GOAL FOR THEM

  • THAN TRYING TO SAVE SOULS.

  • IRELAND, OFTEN CALLED THE TERRIBLE BEAUTY,

  • COMES WITH A SAD STORY.

  • THE ORIGINAL ENGLISH COLONY,

  • IN SOME WAYS, IT'S THE LAST ENGLISH COLONY.

  • AND ITS FEISTY SPIRIT

  • PITTED AGAINST THE POWER OF ITS MIGHTY OVERLORD

  • MEANT CENTURIES OF SUFFERING, COMPOUNDED BY A POTATO FAMINE.

  • MOORED IN THE TOWN OF NEW ROSS IS A REMINDER

  • OF THOSE HARD TIMES, THE "DUNBRODY" FAMINE SHIP,

  • A MEMORIAL TO THE COUNTLESS STARVING IRISH

  • WHO SAILED TO AMERICA ON SHIPS LIKE THIS.

  • SO WELCOME ABOARD THE "DUNBRODY."

  • YOU'RE STANDING, OF COURSE, ON THE DECKS.

  • AND THIS IS A REPLICA OF THE ORIGINAL "DUNBRODY"

  • BUILT IN QUEBEC, CANADA, BACK IN 1845.

  • THE FAMINE STARTED IN THE 1800s, ABOUT 1840.

  • IT WAS A VERY BLACK PERIOD IN IRELAND.

  • AND THIS IS WHERE THE POTATO CROP,

  • THE ONLY CROP THAT THE IRISH HAD AS FOOD,

  • WAS CAUGHT BY A BLIGHT.

  • AND THAT TOOK OVER THE POTATO CROP

  • AND DESTROYED IT FOR ALL THE IRISH.

  • A LOT OF PEOPLE GOT STARVATION

  • AND AS THEY WERE FARM LABORERS BACK THEN

  • THEY HAD NO OTHER WAY OF LIVING, NO OTHER PROFESSIONS.

  • SO THESE SHIPS CAME ALONG

  • AND THEY TOOK ALL THESE IRISH IMMIGRANTS OVER TO AMERICA

  • AS THEY HAD BETTER LIVES OVER THERE.

  • THIS SHIP WAS A GOOD SHIP.

  • SHE WAS NOT TERMED A COFFIN SHIP.

  • NOW, COFFIN SHIPS WERE SAILING BACK IN THE FAMINE TIMES.

  • AND THESE WERE HORRIBLE SHIPS

  • WHERE UP TO 50% OF YOUR PASSENGERS DIED ON THE VOYAGE.

  • TERRIBLE CONDITIONS ON BOARD, MUCH TOO OVERCROWDED,

  • LACK OF FRESH AIR AND FOOD.

  • DOWN BELOW, IN WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN STEERAGE QUARTERS,

  • ACTORS DRAMATIZE THE HARDSHIPS FAMINE EMIGRANTS FACED.

  • THIS IS WHAT WE HAVE TO EAT FOR THE WEEK,

  • FOR THE SIX OF US.

  • I WORRY THAT THE CHILDREN WILL BE HUNGRY.

  • AND DAVID, ME POOR HUSBAND, IS SICK WITH THE FEVER.

  • I'M VERY WORRIED HE MAY NOT LAST THE VOYAGE.

  • 50 DAYS WE'LL BE ON THIS SHIP I HEARD THE CAPTAIN SAY.

  • 50 DAYS!

  • THE "DUNBRODY" IS A MEMORIAL TO THE VICTIMS OF THE FAMINE.

  • BEFORE THE 1840s, IRELAND HAD 8 MILLION PEOPLE.

  • ABOUT A QUARTER OF THEM STARVED OR EMIGRATED.

  • THE ECONOMY AND POPULATION DIDN'T RECOVER

  • FOR OVER A CENTURY.

  • TODAY IRELAND'S POPULATION IS STILL ONLY 5 MILLION.

  • BEFORE HEADING OFF TO OTHER DESTINATIONS

  • ALONG THE SOUTHERN COAST,

  • WE'RE STOPPING AT THE NEARBY WATERFORD CRYSTAL FACTORY,

  • POPULAR FOR ITS GREAT TOURS.

  • SO I'LL WELCOME YOU TO THE BLOWING ROOM.

  • AND THE TECHNIQUES YOU SEE HERE TODAY

  • HAVE REMAINED UNCHANGED FOR CENTURIES.

  • NOW, THAT STRUCTURE IN THE CENTER OF THE PLATFORM,

  • THAT IS OUR FURNACE

  • AND IT BURNS AT A TEMPERATURE OF 1400 DEGREES CENTIGRADE.

  • NOW, THIS FURNACE HAS BEEN BURNING FOR 30 YEARS

  • AND WE KEEP IT GOING ON A CONTINUOUS BASIS.

  • WITH A TRADITION DATING BACK TO THE 1700s,

  • WATERFORD IS THE LARGEST

  • AND ONE OF THE MOST RESPECTED GLASSWORKS IN THE WORLD.

  • TOURS GIVE VISITORS A LOOK AT THE ENTIRE PRODUCTION PROCESS

  • AND A CHANCE TO SEE MANY OF THE PLANT'S 1600 EMPLOYEES

  • HARD AT WORK.

  • WATERFORD CRYSTAL IS BEST KNOWN

  • FOR THE BEAUTY OF ITS CUT GLASS.

  • NOW, YOU ALSO REMEMBER I TOLD YOU A FEW MOMENTS AGO,

  • IN ORDER TO BECOME A CUTTER, YOU REQUIRE EIGHT YEARS OF TRAINING.

  • HOWEVER, IN ORDER TO CUT THESE SPECIAL PIECES OR TROPHIES,

  • YOU'D ACTUALLY REQUIRE AROUND 20 YEARS' EXPERIENCE.

  • THE CUTTING ROOM PRODUCES MANY CUSTOM DESIGNS,

  • INCLUDING TROPHIES FOR A WIDE RANGE OF SPORTS.

  • THIS IS ONE OF OUR SPORTING TROPHIES, FOR TEN-PIN BOWLING,

  • SURPRISE, SURPRISE.

  • THE TOUR COMES WITH AN OPPORTUNITY TO ACTUALLY

  • MEET A CUTTER, SEE HIS DIAMOND-BLADED WHEEL IN ACTION

  • AND ASK QUESTIONS.

  • IT'S MUCH EASIER TO UNDERSTAND IF I SHOW IT TO YOU

  • RATHER THAN JUST LISTEN TO ME TALK.

  • YOU SEE?

  • SIX EVEN CUTS, SAME HEIGHT, SAME DEPTH.

  • WE ONLY GET PAID FOR DOING THE GOOD ONES

  • AND I'M SERIOUS WHEN I SAY THAT, OKAY?

  • YOU FINISH IN THE GLITTERING SALESROOM,

  • SURROUNDED BY TEMPTATIONS THAT ARE HARD TO PACK,

  • BUT EASY TO SHIP.

  • PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION HERE HAS IMPROVED A LOT

  • SINCE VIKING TIMES,