If you haven’t visited Ireland’s oldest city yet, then you really are missing out. From Waterford City to Waterford County there are so many things to do and places to visit. Revive your tired mind in the rural charms of the Waterford countryside and coastline and then rejoice in the urban strengths of the city of Waterford with its fascinating historical sites and lively shops, pubs and restaurants. All that’s needed is to base yourself somewhere clean and comfortable like the Travelodge Waterford Hotel and peruse this list of the Top 5 Waterford Attractions and you’re good to go!
1: Waterford Crystal
Waterford’s sparkling attraction and the product most associated with the city has had a stellar reputation since it was founded in 1783. But the quite incredible crafts and arts of the glassmakers are still on display in the 21st century. The tour of the factory is excellent as the visitor watches closely as the beautiful crystal pieces are sculpted with amazing skill right through from a molten gobbet to streamlined and engraved final product. Waterford Crystal also has an impressive exhibition of some the finest pieces made by the factory over its two hundred years of excellence.
2: Waterford’s Viking Triangle
A trio of museums are the heart of historical Waterford. The Viking Triangle in the city centre comprises Reginald’s Tower, the Medieval Museum and the Bishop’s Palace Museum and all three are worth visiting in their own right. Climb Reginald’s Tower, the only monument in Ireland named in honour of a Viking (Ragnall), and get a great view of the city but also gain a sense of the Viking settlement that first put Waterford on the map. Enjoy the beginning of Waterford’s 1,000 years of history in the museum there before moving onto the fascinating Medieval Museum and the treasure trove of Georgian artefacts that make up the Bishop’s Palace.
3: Mount Congreve
Mount Congreve Estate has one of the great gardens of the world in its location just outside Waterford city. Built back in 1760, Mount Congreve’s house and gardens are beautifully maintained across some 70 acres of the estate with a restored wall garden, 3,000 different trees and shrubs, thousands of flowers and 1,500 herbaceous plants. The gardens are easily accessible from Waterford city but feel a world away to the visitor in their calming cultivated surroundings.
4: Christ Church Cathedral
Just inside the Viking Triangle in Waterford, Christ Church Cathedral is only the latest example of a place of worship on this site. There have been buildings celebrating deities here for over a thousand years but this 18th-century version is quite beautiful and the only neo-classical Georgian cathedral in Ireland. Take the time to admire the elaborate stained glass windows and explore the spooky cathedral tombs. Christ Church also hosts concerts, recitals and ongoing exhibitions throughout the year and is noted for the high quality of its acoustics.
5: Spraoi Festival in Waterford
Less of a place to visit than a time, the Waterford Spraoi International Street Arts Festival runs this year from July 29th to 31st and it’s the perfect excuse to visit the city. Spraoi, the Irish for fun, is the biggest festival of the year in Waterford and it’s free to all. As most of the entertainment in the festival takes place on the streets with performers literally around every corner, visitors can’t fail but be pulled into the festivities. Spraoi has a proper community feel to it as well with locals really getting into the spirit of things and spending time and effort dressing up and creating exotic floats for fantastic events like the Spraoi Parade which winds its way through the city’s narrow streets at night attracting over 40,000 fans. Visitors can also enjoy top class live music and street performers from around the world as well as a wonderful fireworks display by the city’s river Suir.