The oldest population center in Ireland, Waterford is a beautiful medieval city with a long, proud history and a world-famous export: crystal. Waterford was founded in the 9th century by the Vikings. It was invaded by the Anglo-Normans in the 12th century and was the site for several religious battles and a civil war before becoming a tourist hot spot.
Waterford Crystal is the city’s long standing claim to fame; the factory was built in 1783. With over two hundred years of experience, it is no surprise that some consider Waterford to be the highest quality crystal in the world. The factory is open daily in the summer (closed weekends November-January) and is easily accessible from the city center. The tour highlights some of the most famous products, such as the Time Square Ball, and explains the history, production process, and other interesting facts about crystal.
Crystal is not the only attraction in Waterford. Be sure to check-out Reginald’s Tower, a fine museum displaying a great historical perspective of the city and surrounding area. But the best treats are just outside the city; head to the Comeragh Mountains for pristine walking trails and scenic natural beauty, including the beautiful Mahon Falls. And don’t miss Dumore East, a charming fishing village with some of the best seafood in Ireland; visitors swear by The Strand Inn.
Discover the stretch of seashore between Dungarvan and Tramore – called the Copper Coast because of the endless expanse of sandy beaches. Although the weather isn’t often suitable for sunbathing, the coast is great for exploring sea caves and cliffs. The harbour in Boastrand/Dunabrattin is a popular stop as is Stradbally, another quaint, medieval village that is a smaller version of Waterford.
Brown’s Townhouse , within walking distance of the center of Waterford, is a great place to stay. Owned by a friendly couple, the Victorian townhouse is warm, spacious, and grandiose without breaking the budget.
To get a sense of the Waterford people, experience Downse’s Pub, the oldest pub and social hub in Waterford. Or try T & H Dollans, a typical Irish destination, complete with authentic, fun music and delicious food.
Waterford, located on the southeast coast of Ireland is accessible by bus from both Cork and Dublin. Rail service operates daily to Limerick and Dublin. It is recommended though, to travel by car in order to have the most flexibility in exploring all of County Waterford.