County Waterford Information
Waterford is the smallest county in the province of Munster. However, in spite of its small size and population, Waterford is rich in history and natural beauty, with high mountains and numerous rivers, including one of the longest in Ireland: the Suir. The county´s name comes from the Old Norse Vedrarfjord, which means Windy Harbour; Waterford city´s Viking name. Surfing is a popular sport in the county and there are excellent beaches along its coast.
The county is still identified as "The Déise," a name that refers to an ancient Gaelic tribe that settled in the area between the 4th and 8th centuries. In fact, Waterford has a rich history that goes back thousands of years, and it preserves many landmarks that bear testimony to it, such as Reginald´s Tower and the remnants of Woodstown, once a Viking settlement.
Prehistoric tombs and Anglo-Norman ruins complete the county´s rich cultural and architectural heritage. Waterford people are especially proud of their Viking heritage. As a tribute to it, Waterford city is currently building a replica of a Viking longboat.
Bus Éireann has a station at Merchant’s Quay in Waterford city, which connects it to Dublin, Carlow, Killarney, Cork and Dungarvan. Euro Lines offers daily services to London. Finally, Suirway connects Waterford with Dunmore East and Passage East.
Plunkett train station has rail services to Dublin via Kilkenny. The city is only one hour away from the Rosslare ferryport.
Waterford Airport is located only 7 km from the city, and it offers daily flights to London’s Luton airport, plus flights to Birmingham, Manchester, France, Portugal and Spain. Cork Airport, which offers a wider variety of national and international flights is only 123 km away, while Dublin airport is located at a 182 km distance and Shannon airport at 158 kms.
With a coastline spanning almost 150 kms, with 49 different beaches and two distinct mountain ranges, Waterford is a perfect destination for the nature enthusiast.
The county features lush woods on the hills of the Comeragh and Knockmealdon mountains, quiet river valleys, majestic cliffs and relaxing sandy beaches.
To enjoy Waterford nature to the fullest, outdoor types shouldn´t miss a visit to the Dunmore East Adventure Centre in Dunmore East. Located in a beautiful fishing village on Ireland´s sunny coast, the Centre offers a wide range of activities from canoeing to archery, climbing, powerboating and much more. The Centre offers visitor accommodation in its charming cottages.
Waterford is the oldest city in Ireland. Founded by the Vikings, Waterford is now a modern city of seafaring people, with lots of fishing, boat racing and water sport events.
Attractions include the Waterford Museum of Treasures, which will be a delight for those interested in the city´s history.
Waterford Crystal, the main local attraction, is one of the world´s top producers of fine hand-crafted crystal, and it features a modern visitor centre and gallery which attracts 350,000 people every year. The Factory tour, which explains the history and process of crystal creations, is one of the best-rated guided tours in the area.
Reginald's Tower is worth a visit because of the remarkable beauty of the buildings, rather than for the exhibitions, which have been dwindling in number of objects and displays over the years. However, this 13th century circular tower, which once housed a prison and a mint, is a must see for people traveling around the Waterford City area.
The Edmund Rice Heritage Centre at Mount Sinai pays tribute to the Christian and Presentation Brothers, and the work of Edmund Rice in particular. Dedicated to religious education and social work, the Centre includes a monastery, built by Rice, and a number of displays related to his life and work.
Built in 1793, the Waterford Cathedral is the oldest Catholic cathedral in all of Ireland. A haven of beautiful architecture where religious gatherings featuring live choir performances are not rare, the cathedral will delight visitors of every religious faith.
Around Waterford County
Waterford´s administrative capital, Dungarvan, is located in the very heart of the county, over a beautiful bay. One of its main attractions, the Waterford County Museum offers exhibitions that celebrate the history of Waterford County, and admission is free of charge.
Tramore is one of the top seaside resorts in Waterford, and it also features a racecourse with regular horse racing events, often including live music. Tramore is also home to one of the top surf schools in the region, namely the Oceanics Surfing School
Bunmahon Beach also features a professional surf school with scenic views and very favorable surfing conditions.
Mount Melleray Abbey on the slopes of the Knockmealdown mountains, is a perfect retreat for those wishing to find a solace, away from the hustle and bustle of modern life. A jewel of architecture surrounded by a breathtaking natural environment, the Mount Melleray Abbey in Cappoquin dates back to the times of the French revolution and the persecution of Cistercian monks. The guesthouse offers accommodation for visitors, though it was recently undergoing renovations, so, if you are planning a stay, it is best to check first.
The Copper Coast Geopark is an open access geological treasure. The stretch of accessible coastline is part of Ireland´s Copper Coast, between Tramore and Dungarvan, owes its name to the area´s historical copper mines. The 25 kilometres of beaches, coves and geological landmarks, remnants of volcanoes, glaciers, etc, are best explored by securing a walking card and directions at the Park´s office in Bunmahon´s Church of Ireland.
Kilmeadan offers one of the most entertaining experiences in Waterford, namely, the Waterford & Suir Valley Railway. The whole family can go back to the golden age of railroads by riding one of the open period carriages across the beautiful Suir Valley, enjoying enchanting vistas of the river and the surrounding farmland.
Once a monastic settlement, Lismore dates back to the 7th Century, and it used to be an important seat of religious power. The town´s rich history and traditions will be best experienced through a visit of Lismore Heritage Centre
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"A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles" - Tim Cahill