By Caitlin Hornik
History and culture await you in Waterford. From the medieval city to the beautiful countryside and shoreline, there is something for everyone in this beautiful region of Ireland!
Waterford City and the Vikings
If you’re looking for a medieval city with plenty of history and culture, then Waterford will enchant you! Ireland’s oldest city was heavily influenced by Vikings. In fact, Reginald’s Tower is the only monument in Ireland to be named after an invader. Climb the 13th-century tower to the second floor and learn about how it was used to defend the city from attacks. When you’ve finished, continue your exploration of the city. Discover rare artifacts dating back to the 1400s, including King Henry VIII’s Cap of Maintenance!
Home of the World-Famous Waterford Crystal
Perhaps you’ve eaten off of a Waterford Crystal plate or sipped wine from a glass, but have you seen how it’s made?! Pay a visit to the House of Waterford Crystal Visitor Centre and get up close and personal with how the crystal is crafted.
Waterford is home to a number of beautiful beaches worth visiting, but the Copper Coast should be at the top of your list. Boasting 15 miles of shoreline including cliffs and coves, the Copper Coast was declared a UNESCO Global Geopark as of 2014. It traces back to the Ice Age and is believed to have formed when two volcanoes exploded over the ocean 360 million years ago!
Held every August, the family-friendly Spraoi Festival takes the city of Waterford by storm. Live performances, music in the streets, and fireworks make for an exciting three days. The festival culminates with a massive parade through the heart of the city. Spraoi is the Irish word for fun, so it’s no surprise that this is one of Ireland’s biggest and most colorful festivals!
It tastes better than it sounds, we promise! A Waterford hidden gem, the blaa is a soft, floury bread roll. Its well-kept recipe makes it that much more intriguing to those who have tried it! In fact, the blaa is so well-protected and beloved that it has been given Protected Geographical Indication status by the European Commission! The Saturday morning Farmer’s Market on Jenkins Lane is a great place to try a blaa.
Located in the Comeragh Mountains, Crotty’s Rock is named after the infamous highwayman William Crotty. Legend has it that he hid treasure here in the 18th century. It wasn’t until 2015 that a group of schoolchildren discovered millions worth of gold. Locals claim that most of Crotty’s remaining treasures are hidden high in the mountains. Perhaps a stroll through the Comeragh Mountains just jumped to the top of your priorities list!