"Ireland's Oldest City" Top 5 Page for this destination Waterford by SabrinaSummerville
Waterford Travel Guide: 191 reviews and 491 photos
WATERFORD - the City where I was born, grew up, and returned to after seven years away at college. No matter where I now travel in the World, I always come back, because it's HOME and I love it.
WATERFORD is an amazing City - do you know it's the oldest City in what's commonly referred to as the "British Isles"?
We're resilient and accommodating people, responding and irising to every challenge from the invasion of the Normans back in 1170 to the recent industry - wracking closure of the world famous Waterford Crystal Factory and its Phoenix-like rebirth in the stunning new Centre on The Mall.
What did we do when invaded by the Normans - we let them start a massive building project both expanding and protecting our beautiful City. The remains of the original Danish buildings (the pre-Norman City was first constructed by the Danes who are said to have founded the City), walls and towers remain today, beautifully restored for the pleasure of locals and visitors alike.
As for the Crystal factory, no sooner were its doors closed than plans were afoot for a stunning House of Waterford Crystal which now stands proud on Waterford's grand Mall.
Sometimes you just have to give in to change, and thus from change comes progress.
Plans are currently afoot to start construction of the most amazing public park and gardens overlooking the Mall and opposite the House of Waterford Crystal. The gardens will be in the grounds of the existing 18th century Bishop's Palace building, a stunning and imposing structure overlooking the Mall. Designed by Internationally renowned gardener Diarmuid Gavin, the gardens should be open to the public in June 2011 (just before the Tall Ships race is hosted here in July 2011 - but that's another story.....).
In 2007/2008 Waterford was honoured to appoint its first Lady Mayor, Mary O'Halloran. She's a life long friend of the family and I am always so proud to see her name in lights. She has done Waterford proud, and was deservedly nominated as Woman of the Year.
Our current Mayor (in 2010), Mary Roche, is our second Lady Mayor. I know Mary since she was a child and we grew up together on the same street (though I'm maybe a tad older, ahem......). Mary is great - a true woman of the people.
Waterford has something to offer everyone, both as a County and as a City. I would advise you to read my tips in this regard, and I am adding to them daily.
First let me explain that a County is like a Shire in the UK, a Reggio in Italy, or a State in the USA - in other words, a region of the Country. Ireland is divided into 32 Counties.
Ireland has six cities - in order of population size they are Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford, and Kilkenny.
Waterford can be reached easily by air, train, bus, or road (and of course, by ship!).
Waterford has its own airport with direct daily flights to a number of destinations in Ireland, the UK and Eurpoe. It's a small airport right now, but growing fast.
Many visitors come to the City via Rosslare harbour. The road from Rosslare is excellent and you will probably drive from Rosslare Ferry Port to the City in under an hour.
Because Waterford City has so much to offer it's now a very popular destination with the large international cruise lines. I remember going out in a boat to see the QE2 anchored at Dunmore East. What a treat! It would have been even nicer to have been a passenger on board.
So if you're visiting the City for the first time, what would I recommend you to do? I guess it varies very much with your taste. Initially I had prepared suggested itineraries but, as they included lunch and dinner recommendations in restaurants that no longer exist, I decided to change my style here and try something different. Bear with me as this is something that's going to grow without forethought.
Most people visit a town or a place to see something specific. In Waterford it's usually the crystal showrooms and the original Viking ruins and renovations.
Try some of the following alternative adventures:-
Take one of the guided walking tours of the City. They will bring you around Reginald's Tower, the old City walls, the French Church, and of course fill you in on the fascinating history of this City, the oldest one in the Country.
Hire a car and take a drive along the coast. Start at Tramore and walk along the three mile beach as far as the sandhills. Watch the kiteboarders and windsurfers. Play the slot machines at Freddies or take a ride on the hurdy gurdies.
Drive from there along the coast road to Dunmore East. This is a beautiful fishing village with lots of thatched cottages and terrific views. Walk down to the port and have a chat with the fishermen – sometimes they’ll give you fresh fish from their catch. Buy some delectable home made bread in the bakery opposite the Ocean Hotel. Have a seafood lunch in Azzuro, an Irish Meditteranean venture, or head down to The Spinnaker for something more casual.
After lunch drive on to Woodstown and, if the tide is out, pick cockles on the beach.
From there head back to town via Passage East (where you can get a car ferry to Wexford if you want to).
If you are travelling with children and they need to be entertained, why not take them to one of the kids adventure centres such as Run Amuck in Tramore or Kidzone in the Ardkeen area?
Waterford is infamous for its many festivals - particularly the Light Opera festival in late September and the Spraoi arts and music festival in early August.
- Pros:City of Surprises
- Cons:Perhaps (but only perhaps) the Irish weather.
- In a nutshell:A City, a County, a World of its Own.
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