Waterford is a small city situated in the South East of Ireland. The city lies a few miles inland from the coast and is the principal city of County Waterford. The city is thought to be the oldest city in Ireland and the area has a rich and interesting heritage. The city has a population of around forty five thousand people but it often gets busier as this part of Ireland is very popular with tourists. If you are looking for accommodation in the city then there are a few options when it comes to hotels. Some of the bigger and better known ones include The Ramada Viking Hotel, The Waterford Manor Hotel and The Waterford Marina Hotel. These have very good reputations for good quality rooms and good service. There are also a few smaller bed and breakfasts and guesthouses in the city. There are also quite a few privately owned holiday homes both in the city and in the surrounding area. With Warerford being such an old city it is also very traditional in some places. There are lovely little streets with brightly coloured shops and houses, this can be a really picturesque place to look round. Some of the shops are worth a look as well, there are plenty selling local produce, a few art galleries and lots of places to buy souvenirs from. There are also plenty of practical shops as you would expect in somewhere of this size. The city is very well known for it's music. There is nearly always live music on somewhere in the city, this can range from traditional Irish music to modern rock music. Many of the bars are very friendly and you will always get a warm welcome from the locals. There are also a few nice places to eat, nice restaurants offering a variety of cuisines or just a simple takeaway, there is plenty on offer when it comes to eating out in the city. There are plenty of nice little places to visit around Waterford. The coast is not far and there are some excellent beaches and some really nice cliffs to explore. There are some lovely little coastal towns such as Tramore and Dunmore East, these are both great places to explore and experience the laid back Irish lifestyle. There really is so much to do both in the city itself and also in the surrounding area. If you have never been to the city of Waterford then next time you are in South East Ireland make sure you give it a visit.
Introduction ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Waterford, a small city with a present day population of around 50,000, is one of the principal cities and seaports of the south east of Ireland. This area is Ireland’s very own “Costa Del Sol” region, so nick-named because it invariably gets more sunshine (that is not of the “liquid” variety) than anywhere else in the Republic. History ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ It is a historic city, with a colourful history stretching back over a thousand years. It is believed the city originated around the middle of the 9th century, when either the Norse or the Danes established a settlement here known as “Vadrefjord”. There was much trouble and fighting between this settlement and the indigenous Irish over the next three centuries, until the town was eventually captured by Strongbow and Raymond le Gros in the Anglo-Norman invasion of 1170 AD. The invading Normans were soon assimilated into the indigenous Irish and Danish populations, and over time became even “more Irish than the Irish”. In fact one of the famous Waterford families, the FitzThomas’s, who were Norman in origin, and who exist to the present day, spent the next 800 years or so fighting against the royal authority from London. Modern Day Waterford ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Waterford today is still a thriving and bustling market town and seaport. It has a regional airport, its own technical college, and some light industry, the best known of which is the world famous Waterford Crystal factory. This is by far the most famous of Waterford's attractions and the one that brings the most tourism to the area, and it is located just out of the city centre on the main N25 road. There is a factory shop here, where visitors can both admire and buy examples of the crystal that has become a byword for quality throughout the world. A good t ip is to keep your eyes peeled for “seconds”; goods which have failed the stringent quality control measures employed by the company, but which a lot of the time have flaws so minute in character that they are hardly noticeable. These can often be bought for less than half the price of “perfect” examples of the same product. Be sure to take the guided tour of the factory itself, and see the glassblowers and craftsmen at work. Waterford Crystal provides most of the manufacturing jobs in Waterford City. However, Waterford is fast building itself a reputation as a centre of light industry, and as a major supplier of cable harnesses for computers, electronic parts, and even cookers and stoves. ~ ~ The quayside, based on the River Suir, has tall buildings and towers dotted along its whole length, the most famous of which is called Reginald's Tower, that doubles as the city’s Civic Museum, and that contains an impressive display of artefacts from throughout its long and colourful history. This Tower is actually part of the old original Viking wall that surrounded the city, and much of this fortification still remains today, including a fortified gateway at Spring Garden Alley. Just behind the Tower itself there is not a bad little restaurant called Reginald’s Bar, which is actually built out of the same stone as the Tower itself. In fact, dotted throughout the whole town are many examples of the old walls, some from the Viking period, and others from the time of the later Norman occupation, with many of the old watchtowers in nearly perfect condition. One of the best examples of these is the famous “clock tower”, which is yet another of the city’s famous landmarks. ~ ~ Waterford can also boast of having two Cathedrals, one of which is Roman Catholic and the other Protestant. Both were actually designed and built by the same architect, a Waterford Protestant by the name of John Roberts. The Catholic Cathedral, built in 1796, is probably the more ornate of the two, which stand only a few streets away from each other. It has a very high vaulted roof that stands on a series of pillars, and the interior is lighted by some totally magnificent Waterford Crystal chandeliers donated to the Church by the company. There are also some other churches in the city that warrant a visit, such as St. Olaf’s, which is dedicated to the memory of one of the Vikings most popular saints. And Greyfriars, known locally as the “French Church”, which has a chequered history, having been in its time a Franciscan monastery, later a hospital, and latterly a place of Huguenot worship (thus the name “French”). ~ ~ If you love old architecture, then you are really spoilt for choice here in Waterford. Other buildings that are worth a visit are the City Hall, built in 1788, the Municipal Library, and the Court House. Just inside the front doorway of the City hall is the sword carried by the Irish/American General Thomas Meagher at the Battle of Fredericksburg during the American Civil War, and the Courthouse in Catherine Street has been fully restored to its former glory, having originally been built by Sir Richard Morrison in 1849. ~ ~ Waterford may be an old and ancient city, but it is populated by a young and vigorous population, as indeed is most of Ireland. The Regional Technical College means that there are always plenty of students about the town, and they are well catered for with a wide selection of bars, restaurants and nightclubs. The town is well noted for its music scene, and the variety is endless. As well as many traditional music venues, there is now an annual “Waterford Festival”, when the town is over run for a week each year by classical music buffs from all over Ireland and overseas. There is a modern shopping mall on Georges Street, which along with the older merchants and shops in the town, offers the visitor a wide choice of clothing, jewellery, and food shops. One shop in particular not to miss is a whole food shop in the mall called “Full of Beans”. ~ ~ As well as a plethora of good bed and breakfast establishments, Waterford also has two good hotels of note. The Jury’s Group have a modern hotel here, and on the Quay is the older and more established Granville Hotel. You can get a good, tasty bar lunch here for about £5 to £6, and they also have a vegetarian menu on request. (Don’t miss the totally superb pavlova that they do for dessert!!) ~ ~ Waterford is only 101 miles from Dublin, so can actually be done quite comfortably in a day trip from the Capital, but if you have the time, try to spend at least a couple of days here to take in both the city and the beautiful surrounding countryside.