Welcome to Waterford, the oldest city of the Emerald Isle, where Vikings once strode and fierce battles were fought. Waterford is a harbor town which was originally settled back in 914 AD by the Vikings. The city is packed to the brim with attractions for visitors including the ancient Viking Triangle, where you can explore prime historic attractions like Reginald’s Tower, the Bishop’s Palace and the Medieval Museum. The city is possibly best known for being home to Waterford Crystal which was established here in 1783 – no visit to the city could be complete without touring the factory to see the craftsmen in action. Waterford is also at the forefront of fine Irish food and there are many sea-to-table and farm-to-fork restaurants to tempt you. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
A prominent city landmark and the oldest civil building in all of Ireland, Reginald’s Tower is a must-see attraction on your Waterford itinerary. The original tower was built by the Vikings around 914, and the building was in continual use for over 800 years. This original tower formed the apex of a triangle of constructions which are still known as the Viking Triangle and include the Medieval Museum and the Bishop’s Palace. For many centuries the tower was the mainstay of Waterford’s defensive medieval walls. When you visit the tower you can admire a wealth of medieval Viking artifacts and an exhibition which tells the fascinating story of Viking Waterford.
Reginald’s Tower, The Quay, Waterford, Ireland, Phone: +353-51-30-42-20
2.Garter Lane Arts Center
© Garter Lane Arts Center
The Garter Lane Arts Center is Waterford’s thriving home of the performing arts. Offering a year-round calendar of performances, including dance, comedy, music, visual arts and film, the center showcases the talents of a wide range of local and international artists and performers. Most of the shows are only on for a few nights, so you should try and plan your visit to coincide with your favorite artistic genres. The center also hosts regular art exhibitions and has an outreach program where workshops are held to foster a love of the performing arts and encourage participation in young adults, children, babies and seniors citizens.
Garter Lane Arts Center, 5 O’Connell St, Waterford, Ireland, X91 DX57, Phone: +353-51-85-50-38
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3.The House of Waterford Crystal
© The House of Waterford Crystal
Famous for producing some of the finest Crystal glassware in the world, the House of Waterford Crystal was established in Waterford in 1783. The company has gone from strength to strength and fine examples of Waterford Crystal adorn palaces and castles throughout the world. A tour of the factory is a wonderful experience which will take you through all the stages in the production process of a fine piece of Waterford crystal. Along the way you will learn about the history of the company and the many myths and legends which have sprung up over the last 200+ years of production. The factory shop is the ideal place to buy beautiful gifts to take back home with you.
The House of Waterford Crystal, 28 The Mall, Waterford, Ireland, Phone: +335-51-31-70-00
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© Waterford Treasures
Forming part of the Viking Triangle, the Medieval Museum invites visitors to come and see some of Ireland’s oldest treasures. The museum is housed in a striking modern butter-yellow building which was purpose-built to showcase the priceless collections, and within the curved façade you will find two medieval chambers dating to the 13th and 15th centuries. One of the highlights of your tour will be the amazing Cloth of Gold vestments, which date back to 1460 and are the only remaining complete set of their kind in Europe. There are three audio-visual presentations which tell the story of life in Medieval Waterford and guided tours are available.
Medieval Museum, Cathedral Square, Viking Triangle, Waterford, Ireland, Phone: +335-761-10-25-01
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When you need a short break from all the historic attractions which surround you in Waterford you can head to the People’s Park for a breath of fresh air. The park is over a century old and is the largest green space within Waterford city. The park is a great place to visit with children – there is plenty of room to run around and let off some steam in the playground, baby playground and the skateboarding park. If you feel like a cycle you can rent a bike and explore the Goff Cycle Track. The park is a popular place for people to just have a pleasant outdoor walk or to sit and read a book.
People’s Park, Corner of Park Rd & Williams Street, Waterford, Ireland
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6.Jack Burtchaell’s Waterford Walking Tours
© Madrugada Verde/stock.adobe.com
Those who have joined one of Jack’s Waterford Walking Tours describe him as being part story-teller, part tour guide, part actor and part comedian. With an extensive educational background in history and the arts, Jack Burtchaell is the ideal guide to show you around the wonderful city of Waterford, which he knows like the back of his hand. Jack offers a wide variety of walking tours to suit all tastes in interests, including longer hikes through some of the surrounding beautiful countryside and his most popular tour, the one-hour Historic Walking Tour of Waterford, which takes in all the most popular attractions.
Jack Burtchaell’s Waterford Walking Tours, Waterford Tourist Services, Jenkin’s Lane, Waterford, Ireland, Phone: +353-51-87-37-11
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Waterford Cathedral is also known as Christ Church Cathedral and is arguably the finest 18th century religious building in Ireland. Art and architecture enthusiasts will appreciate the elegant neo-classic symmetry, which has been artfully combined with decorative rococo elements. Visitors are very welcome to step inside and admire the beautiful interior of the cathedral. Before your visit you can download an audio-guide which will guide you through your tour of the most pertinent points of interest. If you would like to attend a devotional service at the cathedral you are very welcome to join the 8.00am or 10.00am services each Sunday.
Waterford Cathedral, Cathedral Square, Waterford, Ireland, Phone: +353-51-85-89-58
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© Theatre Royal
Ireland’s oldest continually operating live-performance venue, Theatre Royal first opened its doors to the public in 1785. Since then, the theatre has been reinvented, enlarged and restored many times as it continues to bring wonderful entertainment to the residents and visitors of Waterford. Diverse performances ranging from opera to Shakespeare to modern classics like Starlight Express have all received rave reviews at the Theatre Royal. The graceful old building forms part of the Viking Triangle and visitors are invited to come and enjoy a performance in what is now a state-of-the-art live-performance venue. Before the show (and during the interval) you can visit the Theatre Royal Bar for a drink.
Theatre Royal, The Mall, Waterford, Ireland, Phone: +353-51-87-44-02
© Mount Congreve
Widely acknowledged to be one of the “Great Gardens of the World”, Mount Congreve is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting the Ancient East of Ireland. The Mount Congreve House and Gardens are situated on seventy acres of land, which includes over 16km of walkways – visitors are urged to wear comfortable walking shoes. Within this beautiful estate you will find an amazing woodland which is home to thousands of beautiful plants including Rhododendrons, Camellias, Acers and Conifers. Highlights of the gardens include the Chinese Pagoda, the classic stone temple, the rock waterfalls and the enormous Georgian Glasshouse. There is also a seasonal nature trial for children and a café and shop.
Mount Congreve, Kilmeaden Co., Waterford X91 PX05, Ireland, Phone: +353-51-38-41-15
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10.The Bishop’s Palace Museum
© Waterford Treasures
Over 250 years after it was built, the beautiful Georgian building which was once the Bishop’s Palace continues to delight visitors to The Mall. The elegant interiors of the museum are furnished much as they would have been back in the 18th century, and showcase hundreds of treasures from Georgian and Victorian Waterford, including the oldest known surviving piece of Waterford Glass, the Penrose Decanter. You can admire priceless paintings, antiques and silverware as well as watching a demonstration of the ancient art of copper wheel engraving and a 4D “Masterpieces in Glass” experience. Joining a 45-minute guided tour is definitely advised to fully appreciate the museum.
The Bishop’s Palace Museum, The Mall, The Viking Triangle, Waterford, Ireland, Phone: +353-761-10-26-50
11.La Boheme Restaurant and Wine Bar
© La Boheme Restaurant and Wine Bar
When Chef Eric Theze decided to fulfill a lifelong dream to open his own restaurant, he found the perfect Georgian building, which reminded him of the olde world charm of a Chateau in his home country, France. The menus change with the seasons, to reflect whatever produce is fresh and local. Using the finest ingredients, Chef Eric indulges his passion for great cooking and sumptuous fine dining. You can look forward to choosing delicious and inventive starters, mains and desserts, all cooked with care and beautifully presented. Like the food, the wine list is also constantly updated to showcase new varietals and innovative blends to perfectly accompany your meal.
La Boheme Restaurant and Wine Bar, 2 St. Georges Street, Waterford, Ireland, Phone: +353-51-87-56-45
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As the name suggests, this small French bistro and wine bar is loaded with atmosphere and provides an ideal setting to enjoy authentic French cuisine in the heart of Waterford. The restaurant is located close to the Viking Triangle, making it an ideal choice for lunch or dinner. You can choose from a selection of great-value 2 or 3 course set menus or opt to explore their a la carte menu. Expect to find all your favorite French dishes represented including snails (of course!), confit duck, delicious creamy casseroles and delicately flavored fish and seafood dishes. You can accompany your meal with a carafe of house wine or your choice from the Wine List.
Restaurant L’Atmosphere, 19 Henrietta Street, Waterford, Ireland, Phone: +353-51-85-84-26
Over the years Bodega Restaurant has won numerous awards for their delicious and innovative food and their inviting, warm atmosphere. Chef Sebastian Lajoya celebrates the amazing wealth of fresh local produce available to him in Waterford – fish and seafood are sourced from Dunmore East and Kilmore Quay, while local organic and free range meats feature throughout the menu. Bodega offers a daily set menu or your choice from their seasonal a la carte selections. The drinks menu includes fun specialty cocktails, local craft beers and wines from around the world. If you are planning a picnic or get-together you can order a Bodega Sharing Box to enjoy with friends and family.
Bodega Waterford, 54 John Street, Waterford, Ireland, Phone: +353-51-84-41-77
14.The Granary Cafe
© The Granary Café
Housed in a charming quay-side granary which dates back to 1870, the Granary Café is a popular meeting place for Waterford locals and visitors in the know. When the Granary Café opened in 2006, the team’s vision was to provide fresh and delicious home-style food served in a relaxing atmosphere. The fact that they have accumulated 7 McKenna awards is testimony to their success story. On the menu you will find tasty breakfasts and a daily choice of two hot dishes as well as a selection of made-to-order sandwiches, Panini’s, salads and quiches. The café is open for breakfast, lunch and supper and there is a brilliant outdoor terrace for sunny days.
The Granary Café, Hanover Street, Waterford City, Ireland, Phone: +353-51-85-44-28
© McLeary’s Restaurant
At McLeary’s Restaurant you can be assured of a warm welcome and a delicious meal prepared from freshly sourced local produce. The restaurant is located in a beautifully restored building on the Quay, which offers both indoor and outdoor seating and wonderful views of the river. On sunny days and warm evenings you can dine alfresco on their spacious outdoor terrace. Mc Leary’s have always strived to offer their guests great value for money by serving the best quality local produce at an affordable price, and offer a daily 2-course Value Menu, as well as a more extensive a la carte selection.
McLeary’s Restaurant, 122 Parade Quay, Waterford, Ireland, Phone: +353-51-85-34-44
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16. Olive Tree Tapas and Wine Bar
© Olive Tree Tapas and Wine Bar
When you need a break from sight-seeing, or at the end of a busy day of exploring Waterford’s ancient heritage, the Olive Tree Tapas and Wine Bar is an ideal option for a relaxed lunch or dinner. In addition to their extensive a la carte tapas menu, there is also a very good value Early Bird menu which includes three plates of tempting Spanish tapas accompanied by a glass of wine. The experienced team is on hand to offer suggestions if you need help with pairing your food choices with the perfect wine from the Wine Bar. Gluten free and vegan choices are available and there is also a children’s menu.
Olive Tree Tapas and Wine Bar, No 8, The Mall, Waterford, Ireland, Phone: +353-51-58-55-55
16 Best Things to Do in Waterford, Ireland
- Reginald’s Tower, Photo: chrisdorney/stock.adobe.com
- Garter Lane Arts Center, Photo: Garter Lane Arts Center
- The House of Waterford Crystal, Photo: The House of Waterford Crystal
- Medieval Museum, Photo: Waterford Treasures
- People’s Park, Photo: Carlos Neto/stock.adobe.com
- Jack Burtchaell’s Waterford Walking Tours, Photo: Madrugada Verde/stock.adobe.com
- Waterford Cathedral, Photo: pixssell/stock.adobe.com
- Theatre Royal, Photo: Theatre Royal
- Mount Congreve, Photo: Mount Congreve
- The Bishop’s Palace Museum, Photo: Waterford Treasures
- La Boheme Restaurant and Wine Bar, Photo: La Boheme Restaurant and Wine Bar
- Restaurant L’Atmosphere, Photo: Kzenon/stock.adobe.com
- Bodega, Photo: Bodega
- The Granary Cafe, Photo: The Granary Café
- McLeary’s Restaurant, Photo: McLeary’s Restaurant
- Olive Tree Tapas and Wine Bar, Photo: Olive Tree Tapas and Wine Bar
- Cover Photo: Zach/stock.adobe.com
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