Modern travelers know Ireland for a couple of things – busy pubs with delicious dark stout and whiskey, distinct Irish music, world-class literature, historic castles, jawdropping natural landscapes,
You can get a slice of Irish culture when you visit Dublin; it’s bustling capital. if you want to dig even deeper to learn more about Ireland’s rich culture, history, and roots, you might need to visit the city the Vikings established in AD 914: Waterford City.
Here are 10 places you’ll love in Waterford, Ireland’s oldest city.
1. The House of Waterford Crystal
Located in a mall in the heart of Waterford, this attraction provides an amusing glimpse into the workings behind the city’s famous glassworks. The House of Waterford Crystal is both a manufacturing facility and a visitor center. It showcases some showstopper crystal pieces from big statues and trophies to small accessories.
You may sign up for a one-hour guided tour which provides a close-up view of the intricate crystal-making process and an opportunity to talk to the crystal makers and glassblowers themselves. Should you want to take home some Waterford Crystal, you can buy some from its retail outlet.
2. Waterford Treasures
A trip to Ireland’s oldest city is not without a glimpse of the medieval and religious artifacts associated with its rich 1100 years of history. “Waterford treasures” is a collective of the three museums in the Viking Triangle namely Medieval Museum, Reginald’s Tower, and Bishop’s Palace.
These three different museums within a few paces of each other tell the old story of Waterford, from its foundation by Viking sea pirates in 914 to the late 20th century. make sure your hotel accommodation is located in the heart of the city.
3. Medieval Museum
Medieval Museum showcases the treasures of Medieval Waterford and is the only museum in Ireland that’s devoted solely to medieval times.
This museum preserves medieval chambers such as the Choristers’ Hall from 1270 and the Mayor’s Wine Vault from the 15th century. It’s also home to the Cloth of Gold vestments, the only complete set of Medieval vestments in Northern Europe, as well as Henry VIII’s Cap of Maintenance and a ceremonial sword in 1536.
4. Reginald’s Tower
This round, stumpy structure, which happens to be the oldest civic building in Ireland, is one of the most iconic landmarks of Waterford. The Reginald’s Tower was once a part of the defenses used against the Vikings, but also served as a prison, a military warehouse, and a mint over the years. Now, it’s home to the Viking Museum, one of the top attractions in the city.
The museum highlights include historical and archaeological artifacts from the Viking heritage such as swords, ship nails, silver ingots, and Byzantine coins. It also features a tight spiral staircase called the “stumble steps”, a replica of a Viking longship, and a model of what the town would’ve looked like during the Viking era.
5. Bishop’s Palace
This refined neo-classical museum built-in 1743 is the home of the Georgian treasures dating from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. You can also find the last surviving “mourning cross”, one of the 12 that was built to commemorate Napoleon Bonaparte’s death.
Aside from its Georgian artifacts, the museum also takes guests on an amazing journey from the early 1700s to the 1970s with exhibits showcasing the city’s population through the centuries.
6. Christ Church Cathedral
This church is Waterford’s principal Protestant place of worship. Why is this structure significant to the Irish? This is where the legendary Norman Warrior, Strongbow, married Aoife MacMurrough, the famous Gaelic princess and the daughter of Diarmait Mac Murchada, King of Leinster. It is also known for its two fine tombs: the Fitzerald monument made of Carrara marble and the Rice monument from 1469.
7. Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity
This 220-year old church is the oldest Roman Catholic Cathedral in Ireland. The Neoclassical cathedral has an elegant and spacious interior. It also houses a historic pipe organ fitted in 1848 by English firm William Hill & Son and ten stunning original Waterford Crystal chandeliers.
8. King of the Vikings
Can’t get enough of the Vikings? If you want to see, hear, and feel how it’s actually like back in the olden days, head to Bailey’s New Street in the Viking Triangle and sign yourself up at King of the Vikings. The VR experience which lasts 30 minutes is dubbed as the “first Viking virtual reality adventure in the world.” It’s also facilitated by guides in period costumes.
9. Waterford Greenway
An old scenic railway line linking Waterford and Dungarvan has been resurfaced into a public greenway with asphalt for walkers and cyclists. Here, you can walk or cycle your way through the 50km greenway to have classic panoramas of Ireland’s rolling hills, mountains, and farmlands. You’ll also see lush gorges and charming ruined stations, and the Ballyvoyle tunnel. Along the way, you can find a plethora of stops for a drink or ice cream.
10. Dunmore East
If you love eating seafood and sightseeing along the coastline, you’ll have an unforgettable experience in Dunmore East which is just over 20 minutes’ drive from the heart of Waterford.
This charming old fishing village is a popular spot for tourists and day-trippers during the summer. You can take a stroll around the picturesque working harbor and the adjacent beach area, and have lunch at any of their excellent fish and seafood restaurants. If you’re in the mood for a brisk swim or fun activities like kayaking, caving, and paddleboarding, you can go to the six protected coves in the village.