9/11 and Waterford Crystal

Today, we are remembering 9/11, the heroes, the victims, the surreal dark cloud that engulfed the world. It didn’t matter where we lived, who we had sex with, what box we checked at the voting booth, we all came together for a brief moment in tragedy, changed forever by the horrific terrorist act. 

Last week on our travels we toured the Waterford Crystal factory. I was blown away, (pun intended). My appreciation for what goes into creating the glass pieces grew exponentially. Five years of apprenticeship, another two years to become a master craftsman, another two years at art school if you want to tackle designs. 

The glass is heated to 2500˚F. I do have to mention there is only one woman studying to be a master craftsman. The tour guide said he gets asked that question a lot .

On the tour we saw a large engraved glass image of Fr Michael Judge, New York City Fire Department’s Chaplain, being carried out of the rubble of the World Trade Centre. We learned the piece was a passion project that took over 200 hours to complete.

After leaving the factory we wandered around town and into a small museum tucked back on the Viking Triangle. In a side room a man was bent over a small machine, making fine cuts onto a glass bowl. He didn’t look up. I noticed a smaller version of the 9/11 tribute on a shelf beside him and asked if he was the artist. He was indeed. His name is Sean Egan For the next half hour he entertained us with his Story. It encapsulates what it means to persevere and not give up doing what you love.

His tribute to 9 / 11 may have remained private except for a NYC fireman who came to Waterford on holiday. He worked in the same department as the men in the 9/11 photo Sean Egan used for his design. The next thing you know, Sean is being commissioned by the Fire Department to do a larger sculpture and was invited to New York to present it to the Fire Department. His work of art is now displayed in the 9/11 Ground Zero Museum. He donated this masterpiece, not wanting to profit from a disaster. 

There is so much to write about Sean, but I’ve added a link on his name instead and a link on his story if you want to learn more. But better yet it is worth a trip to Waterford to meet this modest man in person. He loves what he does and expresses it seamlessly with his art. I could have sat down and talked with him for hours. Especially after I learned he was traveling to Toronto next week to visit his son. So we talked about my city for a bit. After awhile, I could see he wanted to get back to work and probably tiring of my 100 questions 😜 so we moved on.

Sean Egan

Sean Egan is one of the people I mentioned in my previous post who has enriched our travel experience. He’s the living one. The historical man that captured my interest and I want to write about, had a short life that took him from Ireland to Australia to The United States. His accomplishments during major times of unrest were huge and I had to travel to Waterford to learn about him.

It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to learn so many new things. Classes at school were wasted on me. Travel is my school, always has been. “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” -Benjamin Franklin

6 thoughts on “9/11 and Waterford Crystal

  1. Beautiful story, Chris…. and I can just imagine your 100 questions :). Sean sounds amazing, what an incredible man and how lucky you are to have met him!

    1. Thank you! I am always happily amazed how when asked a question so many people don’t hold back. And then as it happens one questions leads to another and then another. 🙂

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