WINE DINE + TRAVEL MAGAZINE WINTER 2018
THREE DAYS IN BUDAPEST
Postcard from Copenhagen | Lobstered out in Maine | Alentejo Portugal | Scotland’s Music Scene
2 WDT MAGAZINE WINTER 2018
WE’RE SERIOUS ABOUT
13 MAJOR AWARDS IN 2018
INCLUDING BEST OF SHOW!
Since our first year, Wine Dine & Travel has earned dozens of awards for everything that
makes a great magazine. We’ve won top awards in every key category, including editorial,
design, humor, photography, and columns. We’re proud of that we continue to receive these
accolades year in and out from the most respected journalism organizations in the nation.
Layout & Design
Cover Design & Website
THANK YOU FOR READING OUR AWARD-WINNING PRINT & DIGITAL MAGAZINE
4 WDT MAGAZINE WINTER 2018
Ron & Mary dining in Bergen with their friends Knut & Johanna Kristiansen.
A NEW WORLD OF FRIENDSHIPS
I t wasn’t that long ago that friends were folks friendships don’t always work out for the long
met in your neighborhood, church, clubs or work. term, though we all promise to stay in touch. Back
Most were local; long-distance relationships home, we all move on with our busy lives, our brief
were rarely forged, except for relatives scattered friendship a lingering, but pleasant, memory.
around the country. Today, social media, cheap
flights and an explosive increase in cruising have Some relationships sustained with social media
radically changed the dynamics of friendships. are renewed in person when travel brings us to-
gether again. We meet “old” friends on a new travel
Most of these new friendships are carried on adventure, join them for lunch or dinner when our
via social media or email . Though Facebook, we paths cross and even act as tour guides for them
feel joy when they feel joy and sad for them when when they visit our home turf.
things go south. In other words, we care about our
travel friends just like we do our neighbors and Because we have traveled extensively over the
work associate friends. last dozen years and met a lot of very nice people,
it is not uncommon for us to reconnect with friends
Some may argue that friendships developed and made on previous trips. On our last trip, we had
maintained in this kind of virtual neighborhood are great visits with friends in England and Norway and
superficial and meaningless. But from our experi- made new friends from the East Coast who recently
ence, our friends really do care when we fall ill, we dined with us when they visited our hometown of
celebrate life events and face danger. San Diego.
There’s a good chance we will never again see Our new friends around the world are one of the
many of these newly made friends again -- at great benefits of our travels, and deserves more
least in person. But we all still remained linked recognition that it gets.
by the shared traveler’s values of curiosity about
the world and a desire to explore it. Shipboard So here’s to our new friends and old. And to the
ones we are sure to make on our next adventure.
Ron & Mary James
Ron & Mary James
Publishers & Editors WDT
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Ron & Mary James
ASSISTANT EDITIOR Cover photo: Ron James exploring the slippery rocks of the Giant’s Causeway. He was
Mia Sellfe most fortunate to have a striking young women wander by to add to the drama of the
ART DIRECTOR UNESCO World Heritage site.
CIRCULATION WDT respects the intellectual property rights of others, and we ask that our readers do the same. We have
Jake Washington adopted a policy in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) and other applicable laws.
Alison DaRosa Wine Dine & Travel Magazine is a Wine Country Interactive Inc. Publication @ 2018
Priscilla Lister Corporate headquarters San Diego, California Contact [email protected]
Jody Jaffe WINEDINEANDTRAVEL.COM
Sharon Whitley Larsen
Wine Country Interactive Inc.
San Diego | New York | London
Ron James is the "wine, food and travel guy." He is a nationally award-winning print
and online journalist, graphic designer, television producer and radio personality.
The native Californian's nationally syndicated wine and food columns have appeared
in newspapers and magazines around the world. Ron is founder and co-publisher of
Wine Dine & Travel Magazine.
Mary Hellman James is an award-winning San Diego journalist and editor. After a
29-year-career with the San Diego Union-Tribune, she currently is a freelance garden
writer and a columnist for San Diego Home-Garden/Lifestyles magazine and co-pub-
lisher and editor of this magazine.
Priscilla Lister is a longtime journalist in her native San Diego. She has covered many
subjects over the years, but travel is her favorite. Her work, including photography,
has appeared in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Alaska Airlines’ magazine
and numerous other publications throughout the U.S. and Canada. She is the author of
“Take a Hike: San Diego County,” a comprehensive hiking guide to 260 trails in amazing
San Diego County.
Maribeth Mellin is an award-winning journalist whose travel articles have appeared
in Endless Vacation Magazine, U-T San Diego and Dallas Morning News among others.
She also travels and writes for several websites including CNN Travel, Concierge.com
and Zagat, and has authored travel books on Peru, Argentina, Costa Rica, Mexico,
Hawaii and California.
London-based writer and photographer Amy Laughinghouse has attempted to over-
come her fears (and sometimes basic common sense) through her adventures in 30
countries around the world. She dishes on the perks and perils of globetrotting for
publications like LonelyPlanet.com, AAA Journey Magazine, Virtuoso Life, and The Dallas
Morning News. Her travel tales can also be found on her website, www.amylaughing-
Jody Jaffe & John Muncie
Jody and John are award-winning journalists and novelists. John is a Lowell Thomas
Award-Winner and was feature editor of the San Diego Union-Tribune, arts editor of
The Baltimore Sun and writer-editor-columnist for the travel department of The Los
Angeles Times. Jody was a journalist at the Charlotte Observer, where she was on a
team that won the Pulitzer Prize. Her articles have been published in many publica-
tions including The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times. They live on a farm in
8 WDT MAGAZINE WINTER 2018
Alison DaRosa is a six-time winner of the Lowell Thomas Gold Award for travel writ-
ing, the most prestigious prize in travel journalism. She served 15 years as Travel
Editor of the San Diego Union-Tribune and was the award-winning editor of the San
Diego News Network Travel Page. Alison writes a monthly Travel Deals column for
the San Diego Union-Tribune and is a regular freelance contributor to the travel sec-
tions of the Los Angeles Times, USA Today and AOL Travel.
Carl H. Larsen
Carl H. Larsen is a veteran journalist based in San Diego. He now focuses on travel
writing, and is summoned to pull out his notebook whenever there’s the plaintive cry
of a steam locomotive nearby. In San Diego, he is a college-extension instructor who
has led courses on the Titanic and the popular TV series “Downton Abbey.”
Judy & Len Garrison
Judy is the editor of Georgia Connector Magazine and Peach State Publications as
well as a freelance writer/photographer/traveler for national/international publica-
tions including Deep South Magazine, Interval Magazine, Simply Buckhead, US Airways
Magazine, Southern Hospitality Traveler and has a bi-monthly blog in Blue Ridge
Country’s online edition. She and Len own Seeing Southern,L.L.C., a documentary
German-born Wibke Carter has lived in New Zealand and New York, and presently
enjoys life, love,and laughter in London. Her work has appeared inT he Globe and Mail,
TheS an Francisco Chronicle, BInspired Magazine,The Independent and more. When not
traveling, she is trying to tame her two cats and improve her DIY skills
Michael Burge is an award-winning journalist who worked for many years as an as-
sistant metro editor and senior writer for The San Diego Union-Tribune. Michael and his
wife, Kathleen, have logged countless miles visiting adult children in Asia and Scotland.
The couple met as Peace Corps volunteers in Kenya, so they have no one to blame
but themselves for their globe-trotting offspring.
Sharon Whitley Larsen
Sharon Whitley Larsen’s work has appeared in numerous publications, including Los
Angeles Times Magazine, U-T San Diego, Reader’s Digest (and 19 international editions),
Creators Syndicate, and several “Chicken Soup for the Soul” editions. She’s been
lucky to attend a private evening champagne reception in Buckingham Palace to
celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, to dine with best-selling author Diana
Gabaldon in the Scottish Highlands, and hike with a barefoot Aborigine in the Austra-
Margie Goldsmith is a NYC-based author, writer and photographer who has explored
134 countries on seven continents. She has won dozens of awards including the pres-
tigious Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Gold Award. She has written over 1,000 ar-
ticles for Robb Report, Travel + Leisure, Business Jet Traveler, American Way, Hemispheres,
Wall Street Journal, Globe and Mail.
DISCOVERING IRELAND SPECIAL EDITION
18 DISCOVERING IRELAND
This Discover Ireland special section is
rich with stories of our land and sea ex-
periences and amazing culinary discov-
eries, along with Irish adventures shared
by other WDT travel writers. It’s a big sec-
tion, but there’s a lot to tell. Enjoy.
214 LOBSTERED OUT IN MAINE
When most people think of Maine, they
think of L.L.Bean, duck boots, and blue-
berry or whoopie pies. But for me, Maine
means only one thing: lobster
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220 ALENTEJO, PORTUGAL
The land of cork, clay and cowbells. To visit
the Alentejo, Portugal’s largest but least de-
veloped region, is to travel back in time.
226 SAILING LESSONS
Steaming water bubbled around us in
swanky MSC Seaside’s Aurea Spa. Gary and
I were cruising with nearly 5,000 passengers
on a mega ship complete with zip line and
bowling alley, yet we had the spa’s powerful
whirlpool jets all to ourselves.
234 THREE DAYS IN BUDAPEST
It was a whirlwind romance -- fast-moving and
intense -- but after only three days together,
Budapest stole my heart. I long for the day
when we’re together again.
242 POSTCARD FROM COPENHAGEN
250 THE KEY OF G-LASGOW
256 THE ARCH LONDON
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IrelaSTORYBYRONJAMES|PHOTOGRAPHY BYRON &MARYJAMES
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About Discovering Ireland
Our recent adventure in Ireland was the result of begged the question: What happened to the farm and
converging events. the James family members who stayed in Ireland?
My wife Mary and I had recently had DNA And where did the James family come from in the first
tests, and both of us had a bit of Irish in our results. place?
I dusted off the family tree and, with the help of my
family historian brother, traced the James family line About this time two other events added momentum
directly to a farm on the outskirts of Derry or London- for a visit the Emerald Isle. First, at a presentation by
derry, depending upon your politics. We learned that Tourism Ireland showcasing the beautiful Wild Atlantic
our great-grandfather and one of his brother immigrat- Way, I mentioned my family’s ties there and a desire
ed to the United States in 1852 leaving his father and to learn more. They said they would be glad to help in
their oldest brother Rankin to run the farm. All of this that quest if I traveled to Ireland. The icing on the cake
was that our prefered cruise line, Celebrity, offered
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Panorama photo of the Irish country-
side as we were heading to the coast.
a fascinating itinerary that included England, Ireland, Irish countryside along with visits to verdant resorts
and Iceland on one of our favorite Celebrity ships, the and lively cities in the west of the country. They were
Silhouette. It seemed as if destiny was yelling at us to two very different experiences but both unforgettable.
get our butts to Ireland, so we made it happen.
This Discover Ireland special section is rich with
Our Irish adventure was divided into two parts - one stories of our land and sea experiences and amazing
by sea and the other by land. Both are great ways to culinary discoveries, along with Irish adventures shared
discover the country, but even better when they are by other WDT travel writers. It’s a big section, but
combined. The sea voyage on the Silhouette offered there’s a lot to tell. Enjoy.
the luxury of a floating five-star hotel while visiting
ports on Ireland’s East Coast - Dublin, Cork, Waterford,
and Belfast. The land tour provided the beauty of the
Discovering Ireland bSTORY&PHOTOGRAPHYBYRONJAMES
22 WDT MAGAZINE WINTER 2018
by Land &Sea
When I first visited Ireland more than 30 years ago, I didn’t have the slightest idea
that Irish blood flowed through my veins. Nor did I care since I was there to
party and have fun with a small group of friends celebrating St. Patrick’s Day
in Ireland. In America, then and now, St. Patrick’s Day was an excuse to drink beer, be it
green or not, and generally act stupid. Wearing the only green shirt in my slim wardrobe
at the time, I would jump into a limo with a handful of similarly dressed and motivated
friends and bar hop around Ocean Beach until we could hop no more.
The wind swept grass hug the coastline
with classic coastal villages in the back-
ground. Right: Lively streets of Galway.
In Ireland, as I discovered on our visit, the holiday the gates of Trinity College. As I said, we were there to
didn’t have the same flavor as St. Patrick’s Day in party – it’s who we were at the time.
San Diego. We arrived in time for Dublin’s big parade,
which seemed to be more a family affair as with folks Fast forward to 2018, when I arrived in Ireland again,
not dressed in green politely applauding parade par- this time as a different person. Oh, I still love a good
ticipants sponsored by the city’s merchants. We only time, but this time my wife and I would be curious
spent a few days in Dublin and managed to visit a good travelers who would explore Ireland seeking to discover
number of pubs and even a lively Irish folk show one the country ’s history, culture, natural beauty and, oh
evening. Our sightseeing was limited to a peek inside yes, its cuisine. I also hoped to learn more about my
Irish roots – an urge that afflicts a lot of Americans as
24 WDT MAGAZINE WINTER 2018
“The so-called Irish temperament is a mixture of flaming ego,
hot temper, stubbornness, great personal charm and warmth, and a wit that shines
through adversity. An irrepressible buoyancy, a vivacious spirit, a kindliness and
tolerance for the common frailties of man and a feeling that ‘it is time enough to bid
the devil good morning when you meet him’ are character traits which Americans
have associated with their Irish neighbors for more than a century.”
~ Historian, Carl Wittke.
they get on in years. excursions to world-class nightly entertainment.
Our journey began in Southampton, England, where An example of the high caliber of performers on the
Mary and I boarded the Celebrity Silhouette, a beautiful Silhouette is singer Ray Brown Jr. and his jazz trio who
ship we had the pleasure of sailing on two other times. played in various venues around the ship every day.
Traveling on a cruise liner offers more than a five-star When I first heard him on a Transatlantic cruise on
hotel experience. It’s an immersion in a resort lifestyle this same ship, I marveled at his fantastic voice, tell-
or, as Mary says, a fantasy life with no beds to make, ing friends “he sounds like a male Ella Fitzgerald.” Lo
meals to cook or rooms to clean. Practically every and behold, we find out that his mother is Ella and his
whim and desire is taken care of – from your shore father is the iconic Ray Brown, the legendary bassist
who helped define modern Jazz. Now Ray Jr. is con-
sidered one of great jazz vocalist of our generation.
We began cruising to see a lot of the world in short
order in comfort and style. Admittedly you can’t fully
explore a city or country in a one or two-day port
stop. But, we’ve found that you get a taste of a place
relatively quickly and know if you want to return for a
more extended stay. In the last few years, we’ve been
combining a one or two-week land tour to along with a
cruise. This trip is an excellent example of that style -
the best of both travel worlds.
Our first port stop on this trip was St. Peter Port on
the Island of Guernsey, known to most Americans for
its cows, and the setting for the marvelous book, “The
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society,” a fic-
tional account of the area’s World War II traumas. The
island has more than its share of natural beauty and
fascinating history, but we’ll save that for another story.
Ray Brown Jr. and his trio wows
the passengers with classic jazz.
Left: Passengers line the rails of
three decks to see and hear one
of the ship’s regular entertainers.
Right: The Silhouette anchored
off of St. Peter Port, our next stop
would be Ireland.
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CORK & COBH
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Next up was our first Irish port with the odd name of
Cobh (pronounced Cove), which serves as the port for
nearby Cork. On a beautiful sunny day, we docked con-
veniently in the center of town, we made the short walk
to the train station. We were fortunate to run into a
young man in an official greeter green vest who helped
us get tickets to Cork on the next train, which would fill
up quickly with our fellow cruise passengers. We took
our place on the station platform and watched the
crowd grow for the train due in about 30 minutes.
After a short ride, we and dozens of other ship’s pas-
sengers and crew poured out of Cork’s Kent Station
and into the streets. We didn’t have a tour planned;
instead, the day was open to a bit of serendipity, some-
thing we try to include in our travels. So we followed
the long snake-like a line of fellow visitors walking to
the town center.
Cobh, formerly called
Queenstown, looks much
as it did a hundred years
ago as our ship pulls into
Busy streets of Cork and
the English Market.
The so-called 15-minute walk seemed longer, and lish Market founded in 1788, one of the oldest markets
our impression of the town along the way was ho-hum of its kind in the world. The market is the social and
as we passed through a mostly aging neighborhood culinary hub of the city, servicing many nearby nota-
with small retail with an occasional Mom and Pop eat- ble restaurants in the city’s exciting dining and local
ery. But, as we’ve discovered many times in our travels, craft beer scene. This was a foodie’s paradise, and
the first impressions can be very deceiving. we wanted to spend as much time as possible before
catching the train back to the port.
Things looked up as we strolled across the River
Lee into the heart of Cork. Here we found a vibrant city We wandered the market’s crowded aisles in sen-
center bustling with locals and visitors alike, shopping, sory overload. The sweet scent of fresh bread perme-
dining, listening to the many street musicians or just ated the air as we passed dozens of family-run stalls
taking a stroll on a beautiful Irish day. Like other Irish with artistically stacked loaves. Blemish free ripe
cities we would visit, Cork had a broad and long shop- vegetables, artisan cheeses from local producers, lo-
ping street filled with both familiar international retail- cally smoked fish and meats and eye-popping displays
ers and local specialty stores featuring Irish products. of handcrafted chocolates tempted us, but it was the
Within a short walk, we window-shopped quaint pubs, bread, the most basic and beautiful of foods, that
coffee shops, and bakeries, as well as art galleries and caught my attention. The shopkeeper looked amused
museums. as I shot picture after picture of these bakers’ world-
One attraction we didn’t want to miss was the Eng-
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So instead of dining in one of the notable hotspots,
we decided to feast at one of the stalls, The Sandwich
Stall, that featured the fresh bread I had been admiring
along with Toon’s Bridge creamy cheese made in-
house in the shop’s dairy. Our sandwich was finished
with slices of sweet vine ripe tomatoes, homemade
pickles and crowned with a thin slice of locally cured
ham. We sat on small bench seats adjacent to the
stall and enjoyed the best Ireland can offer. It would
have taken excellent restaurant fare to beat the satis-
faction that simple sandwich gave us.
Afterward, we hopped back on the train for what
would be a memorable experience of another kind in
Cobh. In minutes the train pulled into the postcard-
pretty village by the sea, Cobh, and the current home
of our ship, which dwarfed everything around it.
Everything’s fresh at the Cork Eng-
lish Market. We enjoyed a tasty Irish
sandwich at Toon’s Sandwich Stall.
Cobh sits on Great Island in Cork Harbor, sur-
prisingly the second largest natural harbor in
the world. The port was renamed Queenstown
from the period of 1849-1921 in honor of Queen Victo-
ria’s visit to Cobh in 1849. Its name changed back the
early 1920s with the establishment of the Irish Free
State. The bittersweet history of this Cobh/Queens-
town is both fascinating on heartbreaking beginning
as the exit port for 2.5 million of the six million Irish
people who immigrated to North America between
1848 and 1950.
We couldn’t help but feel the painful goodbyes as
we viewed the bronze statue of Annie Moore and her
brothers Anthony and Phillip. The trio was from County
Cork and was celebrated for being the first immigrants
to pass through Ellis Island in New York on January
1892. There’s a duplicate statue of Annie and her two
brothers at Ellis Island. The mass exodus from Ireland
gave birth to the Irish wake, where family and friends
would throw a wake for the living who leaving their
homeland and most likely would not, like the dead, be
It took us just a few minutes to arrive at our desti-
nation, The Titanic Experience Cobh is located in the
original White Star Line ticket office on Casement
Square in the heart of the town. The building was the
departing point for thousands of passengers. When
you arrive, check-in with us at reception and let us tell
you the story of the 123 passengers who boarded the
Titanic from this port.
The Celebrity Silhouette at the Cobh
dock. Right: Passengers admire the
town as we pull into port. Opposite:
the charming main street of Cobh.
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The powerful memorial to the
Lusitania. Above: Cobh street
scene, Right: Memmorial to
the first Irish immigrants to
arrive at Ellis Island, New York.
Below: Kennedy Park in cen-
36 WDT MAGAZINE WINTER 2018
We had an appointment, which was a good thing be-
cause it’s a top-rated attraction especially when cruise
ships are docked a couple of blocks away. We checked
in at the old fashion ticket booth and received souvenir
boarding cards. Each boarding card the details of one
of the 123 passengers who came to the White Star
Line Ticket Office on Thursday, April 11th, 1912– the
question was did you survive. We would find out at the
conclusion of the tour.
The experience itself is a combination of a personal
tour and high-tech interactivity. Our guide took us on a
virtual journey just as if we were boarding the tenders
on the pier just outside the building that would take
us to the Titanic for her maiden voyage to New York.
The original dock is known as Heartbreak Pier, the last
point of land contact for the Queenstown passengers.
Through exhibits and cabin recreations we experi-
enced life aboard Titanic and learned about the diverse
conditions between third and first class passengers.
Of course, we experienced the disaster itself including
the band playing and the heartbreaking screams of the
passengers on and off the lifeboats.
Visitors learn about the
Titanic and the passengers
who boarded the ship from
Cobh. Right: The remains
of the original pier where
passengers were shuttled to
the Titanic anchored outside
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Our guide tour lasted 30 minutes after which we ex- scarred this port and its people. The Lusitania was
plored the exhibition area where we interacted with an sunk in 1915 off the Cork coast by German U-boat tor-
interactive audio-visual presentation that explained the pedo -- 1,198 passengers perished. Cobh was trauma
events leading up to
sinking. And finally, and heartbreak
we learned that both central as the dead,
of the passengers survivors and grief-
printed on our board- stricken families ar-
ing cards survived rived in the small port.
the disaster. What 169 of the 298 dead
made this Titanic were buried in the Old
experience a most Church Cemetery just
remarkable one, was outside the town in
that we were walking three mass graves.
in the same build-
ing and walked the same town as the 123 passengers It was a most
who boarded the Titanic in Queensland. strange feeling as we
walked down the beautiful promenade at the water’s
On our way back to the ship we walked through the edge. Cobh, despite its association with two of the
small but beautiful Kennedy Park, named after John most well, know maritime disasters in history is now a
Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. We also stopped and genuinely energetic, and happy place filled with music
reflected at the Lusitania, another local disaster that and charm.
One of the great joys of travel is discovering a of being just OK, Waterford became one of our favorite
fantastic new destination – especially when you cities in Ireland, good enough to get me to look at real
didn’t have high expectations. I gave Waterford estate ads, something I do when I really like a location.
a big mental shrug when I saw it on the cruise itinerary, I may not move there, but it definitely is on my must
thinking that it would be one uninteresting visit to a return and stay much longer lists.
glass factory – and I’m not a fan of cut glass. Instead
We were fortunate to have three guides for Water-
40 WDT MAGAZINE WINTER 2018
ford; one to tour the historic heart of the city, the next and people you are visiting. I roll my eyes when some-
from the tourism office who showed us the vibrant one doesn’t fork over a few bucks for a tour or a guide
and artful downtown and last to walks us through the when they’ve spent thousands to get there. Water-
Waterford glass factory. For most destinations in any ford’s most interesting, juicy historical tidbits deal with
local in the world, it’s best to get a guide. Otherwise, the Vikings as we discovered during our tours around
you wander around clueless about the history, culture, the city.
The Vikings in Ireland
St. Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland in the 4th
century, spawning distinctively Celtic monasticism.
Monasteries and monastic settlements replaced the
Roman occupation and became centers of religion
and learning. It was considered the golden age of Ire-
land; for nearly 400 years the island was not invaded,
and it thrived as a center of scholarship and crafts-
manship. Discord at the time was between rival clan
chieftains who were endlessly fighting and competing
for the kingship.
This was all to change at the end of the 8th century
with the coming of the Vikings who, in small mobile
groups, plundered and looted artifacts, gold, and
silver from the monasteries and thriving monastic
settlements up and down the coast. Eventually, they
set aside their raping and pillaging ways, settled in
the Viking Triangle of counties Waterford, Wexford,
42 WDT MAGAZINE WINTER 2018
and Kilkenny, known as Ireland’s Ancient East, and Clockwise: Mary poses in front of a
founded the cities of Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Wexford replica Viking ship. Ron is Reginald
and the first city in Waterford in 914. The former the Viking who founded Waterford
invaders lived and fought alongside the Irish clans, in- and the circular Viking stone building
termarried, and allied themselves with Irish chieftains known as Reginald’s Tower.
endlessly fighting each other for power.
The influence of the Vikings in Ireland decreased
with their assimilation and the increasing power of
the southern Irish clans. The Battle of Clontarf in
1014 signaled the end of Viking power in Ireland with
a victory for the Irish legend, Brian Boru which ended
any Viking threat to the clans and the rule of Ireland.
On our tour of Waterford, we saw the Vikings’
legacy everywhere, from the names of bars and
nightclubs to the buildings and treasures they left
behind. The most striking was Waterford’s impressive
Reginald’s Tower, the oldest civic building in Ireland, in
continuous use for more than 800 years. The mas-
sive circular stone fortress is named the Viking who
founded the city.
44 WDT MAGAZINE WINTER 2018
At the base of the structure, there was a replica of Waterford gets its name from the Norse word
a wooden Viking longboat and a plaster sculptured “Veðrafjorðr,” meaning “windy fjord.” The small Viking
caricature of Reginald with a hole where his face would village grew to become a flourishing medieval port
be. I’m a sucker for these things and poked my head in. that dominated trade between Ireland and Europe for
Now I was a Viking – my graying mustache matching centuries. One stop on our tour was cellars that stored
the plastered hair of Reginald. It’s one of my favorite wine - and lots of it. In fact, Waterford was Ireland’s
personal photos from the trip. wine capital in the 13th century, with a virtual lock on
The tower and Viking ship wouldn’t have come to
life if it wasn’t for our animated guide who entertained Even before the Anglo-Norman invasion of 1170,
us with stories and yarns. Our little group followed her wine became very popular in Ireland and one of Water-
through bustling narrow streets, medieval walls, cafés, ford’s major imports supplying monasteries since the
and pubs to the Viking Triangle, where three excellent 5th century following the conversion of the country to
museums tell the story of Ireland’s Middle Ages. Christianity. Even the Vikings, converted to Christianity
46 WDT MAGAZINE WINTER 2018
Our guide takes our small
group on an exploration of
the past, including the bi-
zarre crypt of James Rice.
began to import wine. The trade linked Waterford with man-made wine storage caverns we visited at one of
a host of European cities especially Bristol, Bordeaux, the museums. Evidently, rats loved to eat the corks in
and Bruges. clay jugs and barrels. The builders decided to coat the
cavern ceiling with a mix of straw, clay and cat pee to
In the late 12th century and for the entire very pros- discourage the destructive and likely inebriated rats.
perous 13th century, one by-product of the wine trade It worked, but no one knows how or where the smart
was the importation of wine jugs used to store and wine keepers of the wine obtained vast amounts of cat
serve wine in taverns and homes. A vast number of pee.
these jugs was found in the excavations of the cen-
tral city and is now are display in the city’s Medieval One museum in Waterford’s Viking Triangle is the
Museum. stately Bishop’s Palace Museum directly across the
street from the Waterford Crystal factory and show-
Here’s an interesting tidbit we learned about the
48 WDT MAGAZINE WINTER 2018
room. There are many treasures exhibited here in-
cluding the oldest known surviving piece of Waterford
Crystal. And there are artifacts and collections owned
by the town’s most famous or infamous citizens in-
cluding letters, personal items, and memorabilia from
a man named Thomas Francis Meagher (pronounced
Of course, none of us had ever heard of the man,
but after our guide explained his amazing adventures,
we were more than impressed. Our introduction to
him began on the steps of the museum, as our guide
pointed to a building down the street with an Irish
tricolor flag waving from a pole on the second floor.
“That is where the first Irish tricolor flag was flown,”
our guide explained. “ It was put there by Thomas
Francis Meagher, the son of the mayor of Waterford.
And that would be enough for most men to make
their mark on history, but no other Irishman this side
of St. Patrick led a more colorful life than Thomas
Scenes from the Viking Tri-
angle. Tour goers explore the
original wine caves in Water-
ford. The ruins of the monas-
tery built before the Vikings
occupied the city.
As the son of Waterford’s successful and wealthy independence in 1921. The three colors were green
mayor, Meagher was educated in England winning for the Gaelic/Catholic natives, orange for the English/
accolades for his writing and debating. His infatuation Protestant planters who had been in Ireland since the
with Irish nationalism led him to join the radical Young 1600s, and a white “lasting truce and heroic brother-
Irelander movement which denounced the non-violent hood between the two communities.”
approach to gaining independence from Britain. He
was nicknamed “Meagher of the sword” because of On March 7, 1848, Meagher flew the flag from the
his fiery speeches advocating armed insurrection to Wolfe Tone Confederate Club in Waterford. Unfortu-
end British rule in Ireland. nately, the country was too weak from starvation to
care much for any additional misery. After an abbrevi-
In 1845 Meagher blamed the potato famine that ated armed skirmish in County Tipperary, known as
crippled Ireland on the continued food exports to the “Battle for Widow McCormack’s cabbage patch,”
Britain. In France, as a delegate for the Young Ireland- Meagher and a few friends were sentenced to be
ers, the French gave him the first Irish tricolor flag hanged. The good news is that Queen Victoria com-
which became the official national flag upon Irish muted the death sentences, the bad news is she
50 WDT MAGAZINE WINTER 2018