Waterford, Ireland Tourist Attractions
Waterford (Port Lairge, "Lairge's Landing Place"), county town of Waterford county, lies near the southeastern tip of Ireland on the River Suir, some 20mi/30km above its mouth.
The river at this point is broad and deep, and has thus enabled the town to develop into a seaport of considerable importance.The town has a variety of industries, but is particularly known for its glass. Waterford glass was famous in the early 19th C., and since its revival in 1947 again enjoys an international reputation.In 853 the Danes established a settlement here which they called Vadrefjord. In 1170 Strongbow took the town, and it became second in importance only to Dublin among Anglo-Norman strongholds. Waterford remained loyal to England well into the 19th C. and it was in recognition of this loyalty that in 1487 Henry VII granted the town the motto "Urbs intacta manet Waterfordia" because of its support for him in opposing rival claimants to the throne. In 1649 Cromwell was forced to abandon the siege of Waterford, but it was taken by his forces in the following year. Forty years later, after first supporting James II, it surrendered to William III.There are still many houses in the town dating from about 1800, when the glass industry was in its heyday. Particularly in the street called "The Mall" there are a number of Georgian houses and the town has a full complement of hotels, restaurants and pubs.From the bridge over the Suir the street known as the Quay - successively called Merchants' Quay, Meagher's Quay and Parade Quay - runs along the south bank of the river for 0.75mi/1.2km. Most of the principal sights of Waterford can be seen by going down various streets and lanes opening southwards off the Quay.
From the bridge over the Suir in Waterford is the street known as Merchants' Quay. Parallel to Merchants' Quay is O'Connell Street. At the corner of this street and Bridge Street can be seen a church tower, all that remains of an old Dominican house, Blackfriars Priory (1226-1541).
Garter Lane Art Centre
From the bridge over the Suir in Waterford is the street known as Merchants' Quay. Parallel to Merchants' Quay is O'Connell Street. A short distance along O'Connell Street can be found the Garter Lane Arts Centre, where Irish art is displayed.
Waterford Chamber of Commerce
St Patrick's Church
In a lane off Waterford's Broad Street, near the Chamber of Commerce in Great George Street, we reach St Patrick's Church (mid-18th C.) with a charming gallery.
Holy Trinity Cathedral
In a lane off Waterford's Broad Street, near the Chamber of Commerce in Great George Street, we reach St Patrick's Church. Across from St Patrick's, between Parade Quay and High Street, stands Holy Trinity Cathedral, by John Roberts (1793), with a late 19th C. facade.
Going down Waterford's Parade Quay from the Holy Trinity Cathedral, we see on the right the French Church (National Monument), with a 15th C. nave, chancel and tower, all that is left of a monastery founded in 1240. From the 17th to the 19th C. the nave was used as a hospice for paupers, while the choir became a place of worship for Huguenot refugees and the Lady Chapel a place of burial for the leading families of the town.
Waterford Heritage Museum
Going down Waterford's Parade Quay from the Holy Trinity Cathedral, we pass on the right the French Church. In a building near the church finds from excavations in Waterford and district since 1984 are displayed.
At the far end of Waterford's Parade Quay, The Mall, an attractive street with a number of Georgian houses, branches off on the right at a sharp angle. On the corner is an imposing round tower known as Reginald's Tower, with walls 10ft/3m thick. It is reputed to have been a part of the defenses against the Vikings - its date is generally given as 1003 - but in its present form it appears to be a remnant of the Norman times. It now houses the City Museum.
Waterford City Hall
South of Reginald's Tower in The Mall, which lies to the far end of Waterford's Parade Quay, is the City Hall (by John Roberts, 1782), which has been preserved in its original state, and the Theatre Royal, also by Roberts (1788).
Christ Church Cathedral
Waterford's principal Protestant church, Christ Church Cathedral, stands beyond the City Hall and the Theatre Royal, south of Reginald's Tower in The Mall. Christ Church Cathedral (by Roberts, 1779) has a spacious interior and two fine tombs, the Rice monument (1469) and the Fitzgerald monument, of Carrara marble. On the south side of the Cathedral is the Bishop's Palace (18th C, restored 1975).
Waterford Court House
A short distance from Waterford's Christ Church Cathedral, off the Mall to the left, we come to the dignified Court House of 1849, in grounds which are linked to the wooded People's Park to the south by a footbridge over the little John's River.
Cromwell's Rock stands opposite the People's Park on the north side of the Suir, in the Ferrybank district of Waterford. It is from Cromwell's Rock that Cromwell is said to have watched the siege of the town (fine view).
Waterford Glass Factory
1.5mi/2.5km from the Waterford city center on the Cork road (N25), the continuation of the Mall, is the Waterford Glass Factory, famous for its hand cut crystal. On a conducted tour through the works visitors can see the crystal being blown and polished by hand. In the Crystal Gallery adjoining the factory crystal articles can be purchased.
Address: Kilbarry, Ireland
Opening hours: Jan 1 to Feb 28: 9am-5pm
Mar 1 to Oct 31: 8:30am-6pm
Nov 1 to Dec 31: 9am-5pm
Mar 1 to Oct 31: 8:30am-6pm
Nov 1 to Dec 31: 9am-5pm
Entrance fee in EUR: Adult €7.50, Students €3.50, Pensioners (OAP) €3.50, Child 12 & under FREE
Useful tips: Factory tours offered daily March to October 8:30am to 4:15pm; November to February 9am to 3:15pm Mon to Fri.
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Guides: Guided tour included with admission.
Facilities: Gift shop
Waterford International Festival of Light Opera
This annual two-week festival takes place in late September and includes nightly performances by amateur operatic societies from throughout the United Kingdom and the United States. A competition and various fringe events are also incorporated in the festival. The main operas are performed in the Theatre Royal.
Joan Clancy Gallery
Waterford Museum of Treasures at the Granary
Treasures at the Granary feature exhibits of gold, silver, crystal from eras of the Vikings and Norman invasions, as well as King John.
Map of Waterford Attractions