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Guide to Waterford
Whether on a weekend break or grand tour of Ireland, Waterford offers visitors a chance to unwind in a beautiful little city with a big historical heart.
Waterford recently completed multi-million euro cultural quarter now showcases the city’s rich heritage while an attractive mix of traditional bars and trendy restaurants ensure the ingredients for a special visit are all in place. There is also the added bonus that Waterford enjoys a sunnier than average climate on Ireland’s South East coast. This, and the closeness of visitor attractions, makes Waterford City a great place to park up your car and do a day’s touring on two feet.
Waterford was founded by Viking seafarers in 914. The new cultural quarter or Viking Triangle is centred around Reginald’s Tower, Ireland’s oldest civic urban building. Reginald’s Tower is still a prominent landmark on The Quay and houses a compact museum with artefacts dating back to its Viking past. There is also an excellent mix of audiovisual displays and the museum is very reasonably priced. The brand new Medieval Museum houses many of Waterford’s treasures and prized exhibits, including a hat and sword belonging to Henry VIII, gifted to Waterford City during his reign as monarch.
The Bishop’s Palace on The Mall is a wonderfully restored 18th century town house and offers the opportunity to experience what life was like at the time for a wealthy family. Costumed guides offer a highly informative tour while there is a chance to enjoy some tea and treats in the Map Room Cafe. The House of Waterford Crystal is another must see attraction and tells the story of the world famous hand-crafted cut glass, which has been produced in the city since 1783. The factory tour offers visitors a chance to see master craftsmen at work while a guide explains the step by step process. It is simply fascinating to watch wokers blowing, shaping, sketching and cutting the raw molten crystal glass into a finished product for display in the showroom. There is also chance to purchase a piece of Waterford Crystal in the gift shop.
Waterford’s Cathedral is another of the city’s beautiful landmarks, dating back to Norman times. It was on this site that the famous Norman warlord, Strongbow, married Aoife, the daughter of the King of Leinster - an event that would change the course of Irish history. The cathedral contains some stunning examples of Waterford Crystal chandeliers. The nearby National Theatre Royal is also worth a visit. This beautiful old Georgian building houses a delightful collection of paintings and admission is free.
Waterford’s commercial centre is within an easy 15 minute walk along narrow, medieval, cobblestone streets. City Square Shopping Centre contains over 30 shops and restaurants. The Front Lounge on John Street is a popular destination with visitors and locals alike, offering regular live music nights and big screen showings of major Irish sporting events. Try out Café Karma on the Quay for really good food at reasonable prices. Waterford is lucky to still have its fair share of traditional style pubs where you are guaranteed a proper pint of Guinness and easy conversation with locals, such as Katty Barrys and Murphys.
There are also some great B&B guesthouse providers in Waterford offering a high standard of accommodation at keen rates. The hospitality and interaction offered by B&B’s hosts can help ensure your visit to the South East is a memorable one.