Henry VII called Waterford the ‘untaken city’ because of its refusal to surrender to medieval pretenders to the throne, Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck (with names like that you can’t blame Waterford for not believing them). So, it was down to Oliver Cromwell – busy as ever - to bring the country back under English rule in 1650.
Waterford is the seventh largest city in Ireland and the oldest and is even home to Ireland’s oldest building, Reginald’s Tower. But unlike Cork or Dublin, Waterford is not generally overrun by tourists – unless one of the top festivals is on - meaning you can take in all the attractions without having to jostle for position.
Waterford Port has been one of Ireland’s most important for over a millennium, and a fleet of trans-Atlantic passenger liners steamed out of here for America in Victorian times. Waterford Quay, once termed the ‘noblest quay in Europe’, is a mile in length and still a focal point in the city.
During a trip here you are bound to buy a sample of what Waterford does best - Waterford Crystal – from the House of Waterford Crystal, a reminder of the glass making industry which once flourished here.
WATERFORD’S TOP 10
10. T & H Doolin’s Pub Prop up the bar with a pint of the black stuff, whilst listening to bands.
5. Waterford Crystal Visitor Centre Don’t just head for the shop, take the tour.
9. Tramore is around 7 miles from Waterford - take a bracing constitutional along the beach promenade.
4. William Vincent Wallace Plaza has a monument commemorating the Waterford-born composer.
8. Garter Lane Arts Centre is an 18th century building where you can take in art-house films, exhibitions, dance, music and plays.
3. The Theatre Royal was built in 1876 can seat up to 600 people.
7. Christ Church Cathedral. James Rice former lord mayor of Waterford has a tomb here, complete with sculpted worms and frogs crawling out a statue of his decaying body. Tasteful.
2. The Waterford Municipal Art Gallery features work by Irish and International artists.
6. The French Church was home Franciscan monks in the 13th Century, until Henry VIII dissoluted it.
1. Waterford Museum of Treasures is an excellent museum spanning over 1000 years of the city’s history. Get all interactive with the exhibits.
The St Patrick Day Parade takes place in Waterford, naturally, on 17th March without fail every year.
The SPRAOI festival is pronounced ‘Spree’ is organised by a street arts organisation and held in Waterford each summer, attracting huge crowds of up to 80,000.
The Waterford International Festival of Light Opera is a yearly event which is held in the Theatre Royal, and has been since 1959.
The Waterford International Festival of Music takes place in November at the Theatre Royal.
The Tall Ships Festival is held in Waterford with Waterford’s Suir River capable of berthing up to 90 ships. The festival marks the start of the Tall Ships Race but get your place early because last time 450,000 people turned up.
The Waterford Harvest Food Festival is an annual September event at the Quays with a free concert and demonstrations and tastings.
The Imagine Arts Festival takes place in Waterford in October where everyone is invited to partake in a range of art forms with workshops, and an exhibition of upcoming talent.
The Golden Years Festival takes place in the Tower Hotel, Waterford during November and promises an exciting programme of events.
Trad in the Triangle is a new event and a free outdoor concert in Waterford’s Viking Triangle. In Cathedral Square to be exact, during July.
From the 1st to the 31st of December Waterford hosts as range of seasonal Xmas events and activities including carol singing, Christmas markets and the red coated jolly gentleman himself!
WHEN TO GO
· Waterford is, in common with the rest of Ireland has a temperate maritime climate, which means the weather is mild with no real extremes in temperatures. The warmest months in the year are July and August when Waterford gets more sunny days than the rest of Ireland.
· Temperatures during the summer months reach average highs of around 20°C and lows of 12°C, with winter temperatures dropping to 3°C in January. Colder weather can be expected however with frosts a not uncommon occurrence.
· Waterford gets rain all year round, with the wettest months being October, November, December and January. Always pack a brolly when you come to Ireland.
· Waterford is located in the South East of Ireland, easily accessible by air, road or boat. Waterford city is less than two hours’ drive from Dublin on the N7/N9, M50 and N25. The city is also only an hour and a half away from Cork by road. Ferry ports of Cork, Roasslare, Dun Laoghaire and Dublin are also an easy distance from Waterford.
· Waterford has excellent rail connections to Dublin with eight services a day. Plunkett Train station is centrally located too. Waterford City Bus station is in the centre of the city where a number of bus companies operate intercity connecting services, including Bus Eireann.
· By air, Waterford has its own airport which is 20 minutes from the centre from where there are flights to Galway, London, Birmingham, and Manchester.
Waterford was a Viking settlement as far back as 914 AD and as a result, is Ireland's first city. That historic distinction suggests that Waterford is flush with tourist charm and indeed, the town with 50,000 inhabitants delivers in spades. Famous the world over as the home of Waterford Crystal, the jewel on the River Suir is the premier city in the South East region of Ireland.
Points of interest include traces of original 10th century city fortifications, in addition to defensive walls that were built later in the 15th century to ward off invasion. The Quay and Mall areas contain some of the most remarkable architecture in Waterford. The Waterford Museum of Treasures is housed in the oldest civic building in Ireland and contains phenomenal exhibits that cover the city's long history. Waterford's arts and culture scene is notably vibrant as well, with myriad galleries and theaters for visitors to enjoy.
- Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity
- The Quay
- Waterford Museum of Treasures
- Manifesto Gallery
- The Mall
- Spraoi Festival
- Tall Ships Festival
- Waterford International Festival of Light Opera
- Waterford United Football
- The People's Park
- McAlpin's Suir Inn
- Chez K's
Restaurants and Nightlife
- The Bowery
- El Vino
Waterford has a climate rather typical of Ireland, with mild weather throughout the year.
- Winter (December to February) 3-8°C
- Spring (March to May) 4-16°C
- Summer (June to September) 10-20°C
- Fall (October to November) 5-14°C
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