Feels like an age since I’ve given a suggestion for an outing but this one is definetly getting my vote. I would even go as far to say it is in my top five places to visit in Ireland. The former president of the United States Bill Clinton even popped in for a visit in March.
I recently took a bus trip to the pretty village of Kildare just outside Dublin to visit the Newbridge Silverwear factory, shop and museum. I heard lots of wonderful things happening in the factory with gorgeous new modern collections being designed by the likes of Amy Huberman and none other then supermodel Naomi Campbell. But I also heard within the visitors centre I would find a museum full of holywood gems and fascinations.
I was not disappointed,pulling up to the visitors centre you see Newbridges distinct blue in the horizon, the building is awash with the colour and even the trees have been decorated to be an eye-catching work of art.
As it is a bit of trek from Belfast, I first stopped to dine in the delicious Cafe Carleton.The award-winning Cafe Carleton opens 7 days a week, serving breakfast and a hot buffet lunch each day, and the dessert counter is something to be drooled over. It has a bright, friendly and relaxed atmosphere, enhanced by the ambience of live piano. All ingredients are locally sourced and delicious.
After eating I was booked in to take a tour of the factory, I learnt how fork handles are made (yes the two ronnies sketch immediately sprung to mind, I blame my dad) and how the jewellery is processed from design to be boxed. It is truly an art. I was shocked to learn this international company actually had quite a small family run workshop, speaking to some of the workers you could hear there dedication to the brand and how the factory was part of their family history.
Seeing the process of making the jewellery and silverware I couldn’t wait to go shopping. Newbridge has a collection for everyone from delicate pieces to modern chunky jewellery and even some little sliver ducks (creatively arranged in a bath time display below).Like the magpie I am I was drawn to the sparkling colourful crystal pieces, oh and the Phlip Tracey Rose of Tralee crown although my limited Irish dancing skills haven’t graced me with this shiney tiara just yet!!
After a little retail therapy I was escorted to the Museum of Modern Icons and wow what a collection!! I don’t even know where to start to describe the wonders that awaited. To me it was like wandering into Aladdins cave. With dresses,props and custom jewellery from my favourite movie starlets right down to Elvis!!!
My favourites; Rhett Butlers cigar case and Scarlett O’Haras Jewels from Gone with the Wind (one of my all-time favourite films). Audrey Hepburn’s little pink dress from Breakfast at Tiffanys and one of her iconic LBDs.Oh and need I mention Liza Minnelli’s Cabaret costume (she had a tiny waist!!)
Not a film fan how about the kings and princesses.From the King of Rock and Roll Elvis Presley’s red jacket to dresses worn by the late Princess of Wales! The collection is immense you can even figure out how big Kim Kardiashans lady lumps really are as a few Kardiashans pieces are also included.
Newbridge Silverware really is the place of dreams, I could have spent all day in and no doubt I will return very soon.
Emer D xx
PS If you are in the North of Ireland some of the iconic pieces of the muse are going on display in the Belfast store, currently they have a collection from Marilyn Monroe but they will be changing on a monthly basis so keep your eyes peeled to the storefront window.