The oldest city in Ireland, Waterford was founded by Vikings on the banks of the River Suir in 914 AD. In addition to its crystal ware, it’s renowned for its cultural heritage sites and museums of the Waterford Viking Triangle, once enclosed by 1,000-year-old walls.
Things to do in Waterford
Watch as master craftsmen hand-blow Waterford Crystal on a behind-the-scenes factory tour of the House of Waterford Crystal. Everything from glass tumblers to chandeliers are produced in collaboration with world-renowned designers and there’s a retail store where you can purchase intricate pieces.
Spend a day hopping between the Waterford Treasures, which are three museums that showcase the city throughout its 1,100 years of history. Begin in the stone fortress of Reginald’s Tower, named after the Viking leader who founded Waterford, to see 9th-century weaponry and a replica longship.
A short walk leads to the Medieval Museum where artefacts from the Middle Ages are showcased, including the 15th-century Cloth of Gold vestments that were woven in Florence. Waterford’s 18th to 20th-century history can be explored in the elegant Georgian residence of the Bishop’s Palace, which boasts the oldest surviving piece of Waterford Crystal in the world.
Also within the Viking Triangle is a 19th-century Gothic revival church that now houses the Greyfriars Municipal Art Gallery. Works by renowned Irish artists, such as Charles Lamb, Louis Le Brocquy and Jack B Yeats, are showcased, together with changing exhibits of emerging regional artists.
Getting around Waterford
Waterford is around two hours’ drive from Dublin, while Waterford Airport is 15 minutes away. There are regular trains to destinations across Ireland from Plunkett Railway Station, while the pedestrianised centre of Waterford can only be explored on foot.