Top 5 attractions in Waterford

photo by Philip Halling

Waterford is the oldest city in Ireland, and one of the country’s busiest port, even today. Like most Irish cities, Waterford flourished during the Celtic Tiger, and some parts of the city are sleek and modern. And yet, there are entire chunks of Waterford that feel positively medieval, and not in the negative sense. Waterford has a special charm, something between the rural appeal of small Irish towns, and the historic, almost grand feel of very old and dignified cities. If you want a relaxed Irish city that offers the perfect mix of Irish culture, history, art and pubs, then Waterford is the perfect choice. Here are top 5 attractions in Waterford, but these are just the tip of the iceberg.

Reginald’s Tower

photo by David Kinney

History buffs will be happy to know that Reginald’s Tower is considered to be the oldest building in Ireland and the first to use actual mortar. The tower dates back to the 12th century and it is a great example of defensive of medieval defensive architecture. It was built by Normans on the site of older wooden fortifications, and it’s walls are 4 meters thick in some parts of the tower.

The Waterford Treasures Museum

Countless archaeological artifacts have been found in Waterford, and most of them are displayed at the highly informative Waterford Treasures Museum. The museum is located in the old Granary building, but the museum itself is one of the most hi-tech in Ireland. The collection is incredibly varied and comprehensive, with many interactive displays.

Waterford Crystal Visitor Center

Waterford Crystal Visitor Center, photo by Eirian Evans

Waterford Crystal is one of the world’s leading crystal manufacturers, and has been active in Waterford since the 18th century. The factory was moved to a new location in 2010 and it created tours for people interested in the inner workings of the crystal melting trade. The one hour factory tour is interesting, and the shop displays the largest collection of Waterford crystal found anywhere in the world.

French Church

The ruins of this old church date back the the 13th century at least, and even if the building is in bad shape, it’s former elegance is easy to glimpse. The church was given to Franciscans in 1240, and then became a hospital, but its name is connected to the time in the 17th and 18th centuries when the church was occupied by French Huguenot refugees.

Bishop’s Palace

If you liked the Treasures Museum, you will also enjoy the Bishop’s Palace, a 18th century building hosting an interactive museum on Waterford’s history from the beginning of the 18th century until the seventies. There are several artifacts and treasures from the times of the Viking and Norman occupations as well. If you love history, this  museums is a must-see among the top 5 attractions in Waterford.

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