"Waterford City" Top 5 Page for this destination Waterford by pure1942

Waterford Travel Guide: 169 reviews and 420 photos

Viking City

Waterford doesn’t hit the tourist radar as often as Dublin, Cork, Kilkenny or Galway but maybe for this reason alone it is worth a visit.
I have lived in Dungarvan, County Waterford for the past 4 years and have visited the city of Waterford many, many times but it is only recently I decided to make the short 30 minute drive to the city to view it from a visitor’s perspective and took a pleasant stroll around the centre of the city, taking time to actually examine the city in more detail. I find a common fault in many travellers, who travel far and wide all over this planet without fully exploring their back door and I can be as guilty as anybody for this. In fact it is only as I travel more I begin to appreciate what my own beautiful country has to offer. It was upon realising this, that I decided to make a conscious effort to explore more of the beautiful natural landscapes of Ireland and creating more VT pages on the places which I often visit but can be guilty of ignoring.

Waterford City is Ireland’s oldest city having been founded by the Vikings in the 8th century. This Viking influence is still string in Waterford today, with the city’s strong Maritime and Naval traditions still continuing today. Even the name Waterford (Port Láirge in Irish) comes from the Viking name for the city, Vadrafjord. The city’s location at the mouth of the River Suir in the south of the country quickly made the city a significant trading centre in Western Europe and the city quickly grew both physically and economically.
The Vikings of Waterford as elsewhere in other Irish Viking strongholds, such as Wexford, Limerick and Dublin, quickly assimilated into the native population and took on many of the country’s traditions and cultural influences. Even in Irish schools today, it is common to make reference to the fact that the Vikings ‘became more Irish than the Irish themselves.’ After the initial resentment of the Vikings and their occupation of the country, the Irish natives came to accept their Nordic neighbours. This was especially evident in Waterford, where the indigenous Irish and Vikings together joined forces to battle the invading Anglo-Norman forces in the 12th century. Unfortunately, this combined force was still not strong enough to withstand Strongbow’s forces who took the city after a desperate fight.
Despite the occupation of the city, Waterford grew even more and soon became Ireland’s most powerful city and the extension and expansion of the City Walls, begun by the Vikings, continued under King John. There followed centuries of growth intermingled with episodes of turmoil, when various invaders tried to wrestle Waterford from the Normans. Eventually it was Cromwell (who else!!!!!!) who managed to take Waterford with his nephew Henry Ireton and together they implemented Cromwell’s trade mark, brutal regime, murdering or deporting thousands of Irish Catholics. However, Waterford continued to prosper under English control and continued to grow and remain one of Ireland’s most important trade and shipping centres.

After Irish independence, Waterford began to slip into decline which continued late into the 20th century. Unemployment and other social and economic problems blighted the city, with its shipping importance beginning to wane. The only bright spark was from one of Waterford’s and Ireland’s most famous exports, Waterford Crystal, which began producing its world famous crystal in the 1970’s. Unfortunately the down trun of the world’s economy in recent yers has hit the crystal factory hard and it has now closed down with production moving overseas...a tragic outcome for the city and its population who have not only suffered in terms of job loss but have lost a little piece of their soul with the closing of the factory.
Apart from this terrible and morale sapping loss, Waterford has largely recovered from the decline of the previous century and the once drab and neglected city centre is now a vibrant, clean and largely pedestrian area. The city has come a long way in the last decade and visitors are making the trip down to the centre of Ireland’s sunny south-east in ever increasing numbers and even cruise ships are making regular stops at Waterford...whether welcome or not ;) If you like your cities with a little bit of a rough edge, with enough architectural and cultural sights and activities to keep you entertained, then Waterford is a wonderful city to visit, especially of looking for a break in a trip between Dublin/Wicklow and Cork/Kerry. Oh...and did I mention the spectacular coastal landscapes and blue flag beaches within 15 minutes drive!

  • Intro Updated Jun 24, 2009
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Reviews (12)

Comments (4)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Dec 17, 2009 at 8:50 PM

    What a lovely page, full of interest! Would have to visit the Granary to see the items from the Norman & Vikings days, plus the beautiful Dunmore East, that is picture perfect!

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Dec 6, 2009 at 10:06 PM

    I like your detailed nice pictures interesting stories with lots of background information! ><><>><

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Jul 4, 2009 at 8:02 AM

    Brian, lovely little page about Waterford which I visited for a few days in the 1990's. I haven't been to the Granary Museum. But of course I went on sidetrips to both Tramore and Dumore East, the latter one was my favourite as well.

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    Jul 2, 2009 at 9:03 PM

    I know I have been to Waterford as I have been both to Rosslare and Dungarvan but do not remember much of it. Ireland has so much to offer to the visitor that it is not possible to visit everywhere. Thanks for sharing and showing what I have missed.

pure1942

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