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Waterford is Ireland’s oldest city, dating back to Viking times over 1,100 years ago. It holds on to its Viking and Norman roots with its narrow winding streets, and even its name – vedrarfjord ("winter haven" or "windy harbour").
We've compiled a short list of suggestions to help you get the most out of 48 hours in the Viking City – with so many great things waiting for you in Waterford, there's no better time to visit and explore it for yourself.
Home to medieval Lismore Castle and St Declan’s Cathedral (built in the 12th century), Waterford is steeped in history. However the city's highlights centre around the Viking Triangle and Reginald’s Tower, the oldest civic building in the country – and the only urban monument in Ireland to keep its Norse or Viking name.
If that’s not enough to entice you to visit, Waterford is also renowned for some of the most spectacular beaches along this coastline. Tramore, Dungarvan, Dunmore East and the Copper Coast are just some of the gems to investigate, and though the miles of sand or surf will draw you in, the scenery and the surroundings will be what keeps you here.
If you time it right, you might just catch one of Waterford's famous annual festivals. Enjoy Waterford Spraoi International Street Arts Festival in August, the Waterford Harvest Festival in September, or get into the Christmas spirit at Winterval. There are many more fun events and festivals on offer throughout the year too.
All that entertainment will leave you hungry, but fear not – Waterford is home to some of Ireland's great restaurants, including The Tannery in Dungarvan, The Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore and Azzuro in Dunmore East.
Waterford City's Viking Triangle is the cultural and heritage quarter of the city. It's a tranquil place, characterised by narrow streets, atmospheric public spaces and an array of cultural and heritage experiences. Here you can connect with Ireland's Viking roots, discover virtual reality attractions and explore the history of the world-famous Waterford Crystal. Visit the Bishop's Palace, Waterford Medieval Museum and Reginald's Tower, all part of the Waterford Treasures attractions to discover more about this fascinating city.
Spend the morning touring the stunning Mount Congreve Gardens just outside Waterford City. Explore the estate (built in 1760) as you wander through what's been described as one of "the great gardens of the world".
Take a trip to the coast to visit this picturesque seaside spot. While there, get active with some surfing sessions, take a leisurely walk along Ireland’s longest beach, or explore the Lafcadio Hearn Japanese Gardens, – built as a tribute to Irish writer Patrick Lafcadio Hearn. No day at the beach is complete without some fish and chips; the place to go is Dooly's. From here you can enjoy wonderful views of The Metal Man (a colourful cast iron statue near Newtown Cove) and the Guillamine Cove.
People in Waterford will tell you that the Metal Man (who stands pointing out to sea) chants in bad weather: "Keep out, keep out, good ships from me, for I am the rock of misery." They'll also say that if you hop around the Metal Man three times, you'll be married before the year is out.
The Waterford Copper Coast is now a UNESCO Global Geopark, one of three in Ireland, it extends along the ...
Garvan Cummins being a qualified teacher and local historian, he is the Greenway Man offering wonderful W...
Experience the magic of rail at Ireland’s longest narrow gauge railway! Board the train at Kilmeadan Sta...
Delve into the precious artefacts of the Waterford Treasures museums.
Waterford Greenway Cycle Tours & Bike Hire company offers a bike hire service along the Waterford Greenwa...
Pól O’Conghaile roadtests the beautiful new Waterford Greenway route for National Geographic Travel.
This easy to access mountain range offers wonderful vistas across the county and down to the sea. Describ...
And that’s just a sample – there’s so much to do in Waterford, you'll find it hard to fit it all into only two days.
Enjoy your escape in Ireland’s Ancient East!
For more attractions and activities
check out the See & Do section