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20 Things to Do in Waterford City

20 Things to Do in Waterford City

 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Waterford

Waterford has recently been voted the best city in Ireland to live in, and as a resident of this historic city, I can certainly agree. Waterford is located in the southeast of Ireland, we call it the Sunny South East, and is full of history. Over the years Waterford has become synonymous with quality Crystal Glass and Waterford Crystal is known around the world. Some of its other historic claims to fame include that it was once the capital of Ireland, Both the Normans and Vikings had influence in the city, the Vikings founded the city in 914, it is Ireland’s oldest city and Waterford is the only city in Ireland where the Catholic and Protestant Cathedrals are designed by the same architect. The city is within reach of many beaches and also mountains, all only about 30 minutes drive from the city center. This post will discuss some of the key / Top-Rated attractions and things to do in Waterford.

Some of the highlights include exploring the Waterford Treasures museums in the Viking Triangle, seeing how Waterford Crystal is made, exploring the city walls, taking a trip to the coastal towns, visiting and exploring the Waterford Greenway, and also perhaps exploring the local gardens of which there are many.

The House of Waterford Crystal

You can actually watch the famous Waterford Crystal start off as a red gooey blob of molten glass and then finish as a beautifully cut and sparkling piece of Waterford Crystal. The House of Waterford Crystal is located on the Mall and it shows you a behind-the-scenes view of the creation process. Waterford Crystal was located on the Cork road but after a troubled few years in the early 2000s, the brand has rebounded and found new success in its current location. Here, you will find the manufacturing facility which can include a guided tour and the visitor center which is now one of the key tourist attractions in Waterford. You can also purchase a finished piece of Waterford Crystal before you leave.

Address: House of Waterford Crystal, 28 The Mall, Waterford, Ireland

Official site: https://www.waterfordvisitorcentre.com

The John Robert’s Cathedrals

Waterford is the only city in Ireland where the protestant and catholic cathedrals are designed by the same architect. The catholic cathedral is called the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity Within and is located on Barronstrand Street near the clock tower. The protestant cathedral is located near the Viking Triangle and you can’t miss it as it has a very tall spire. Both cathedrals are normally free to enter (unless there are special events or concerts taking place) but both are worth seeing for different reasons. The catholic cathedral has a wonderful pipe organ and stained glass windows and the protestant cathedral also has a very impressive pipe organ and many historical features inside.

 

Mount Congreve Gardens

There are many great houses and gardens in Ireland’s Ancient East and one of these is the beautifully landscaped gardens at Mount Congreve, Waterford. These amazing gardens stretch across 75 acres of woodland and landscaped gardens including a beautiful four-acre walled garden. The house and gardens were owned by Mr. Ambrose Congreve, and after his death, the gardens were left to the state so that the public could enjoy the splendour of these amazing gardens. Mount Congreve backs onto the Waterford Greenway which is a walk/cycle way that stretches all the way to Dungarvan. Mr. Ambrose Congreve’s achievements were acknowledged by Queen Elizabeth, who awarded him a CBE, and by Trinity College Dublin, which granted him an honorary doctorate. These gardens are a real joy to explore and are a must-see on your visit to Waterford. In the past month (October 2022) a brand new area called The Stables Café has opened. The Stables Café is set in a beautiful setting for enjoying a coffee, breakfast, or light lunch. In these stunning surroundings, you can enjoy the local produce combined with the fruits, vegetables, and herbs from the Mount Congreve gardens. I know of many people who have stopped going to their usual city center coffee stop and are now coming here. Either way, Mount Congreve should be on your list when visiting Waterford.

Official site: https://mountcongreve.com/  

The Lafcadio Hearn Japanese Gardens

It may be strange to find Japanese Gardens in Waterford but there is a historical reason why these gardens are here. They are dedicated to Victorian writer and Japanese translator and journalist Patrick Lafcadio Hearn who grew up and stayed in Tramore in his early life.

These Japanese gardens pay homage to the fame he attained in Japan through his incomparable literary descriptions of the people, customs, and culture of that country. Here, you can follow Lafcadio Hearn’s life journey, first through the Victorian Garden, then to the American and Greek gardens, until you eventually arrive in the Japanese gardens. Lafcadio Hearn is still known today in modern Japan.

Official site: https://www.lafcadiohearngardens.com/

The Lismore Heritage Centre & Castle Gardens

Lismore Heritage Centre was opened in 1992 with the aim to document and exhibit the history of Lismore and its surroundings. Lismore is most famous for the magnificent Lismore Castle which was built in 1185 and the castle itself can be visited separately through the Lismore Castle Experience.

The castle has beautiful gardens both within the castle walls and comprise 7 acres and boast spectacular views of Lismore Castle, the River Blackwater, and the surrounding countryside.

Official site: https://www.discoverlismore.com/

Waterford Treasures Medieval Museum

The Waterford Treasures Medieval Museum is Ireland’s only purpose-built medieval museum and the only building on the island to incorporate two medieval chambers, the 13th-century Choristers’ Hall and the 15th-century Mayor’s Wine Vault. Waterford Treasures is located near Christ Church Cathedral (the previously mentioned protestant cathedral. Some of the stunning historical artifacts which are exhibited here at Waterford Treasures include a fantastic array of ancient vestments, period artworks, The oldest wine vault in Ireland, a Relic of the True Cross, Pilgrim badges, the earliest gold ring brooch in Europe, The Great Charter Roll of Waterford, the Sword of Edward IV, King Henry VIII’s Cap of Maintenance and much more.

Official site: www.waterfordtreasures.com/medieval-museum

Waterford Museum of Treasures

Waterford Museum of Treasures

Reginald’s Tower

Sitting on the corner of the mall and the quay is the formidable Reginald’s Tower. The tower has been used for many different purposes over the centuries, originally part of the medieval urban defense system, Reginald’s Tower is the oldest civic building in Ireland and it is the only urban monument in Ireland to retain a Norse or Viking name.

Construction began in 1253 on the site of the original Viking fort named after Ragnall who founded the City in 914, and the walls are about 3 meters thick. At one point someone fired a cannonball at the tower and it did no damage, but is still stuck in the wall to this day.

This building in the past was used as a prison, a mint, and a military store and is now a museum, namely the Viking Museum, and part of Waterford Treasures. 

Here you can take a journey through time and discover historical and archaeological artifacts showing Waterford’s Viking heritage, many reproductions of items from this time, Viking warrior’s weapons, the exquisite 12th-century Waterford Kite Brooch, even pieces from ‘hnefatafl’, a Viking board game similar to chess, a model of what Waterford looked like hundreds of years ago and a replica Viking longship which sits next to Reginald’s tower. 

Official site: www.waterfordtreasures.com/reginalds-tower

Reginalds Tower Waterford

Reginalds Tower Waterford

Experience the Suir Valley Railway

The Waterford Suir Valley Railway which is located close to the village of Kilmeaden is a very popular tourist attraction in Waterford and is an ideal activity if you are travelling with children (even though it is enjoyable at any age due to the scenery along the river). The Waterford Suir Valley Railway is a community heritage project which brought back to life locomotive activity along 10 kilometers of the abandoned Waterford Dungarvan line but now on narrow gauge lines.

The current train on this line in its past life worked in industrial capacities across the UK and at one time even moved excavated debris during the construction of the UK-France Channel Tunnel. 

The hopes for this line are that the railway will eventually extend all the way into Waterford City and will also end up operating with a steam engine. Works are already underway to extend the platform into Waterford for the Greenway.

Address: Train Station, Kilmeadan, Kilmeaden, Co. Waterford, Ireland

Official site: www.wsvrailway.ie

Waterford Suir Valley Railway

Waterford Suir Valley Railway

Dunmore East

Dunmore east is about 25 minute’s drive from Waterford and is the quintessential fishing village. Dunmore East is certainly one of Waterford’s hidden gems – certainly a lot less crowded than Tramore but still remains a very popular place for tourists, especially during the summer months. 

While there enjoy a stroll around the park, before walking down to the working harbor if you fancy a swim there are 2 bathing areas available. There are also many restaurants in the area including the Haven Hotel, the Strand, and also a variety of smaller shops and takeaways – you have to stop at East-Pier fish for freshly cooked fish and chips.  There is also an adventure center in Dunmore East if you like water sports and this is ideal for all ages.

Address: Dunmore East, Co. Waterford, Ireland

Dunmore East Waterford

Dunmore East Waterford

Tramore

Tramore is located 10km away from Waterford city and will take you about 20 minutes to drive. Tramore is a holiday location for many and one of the main places for the people of Waterford to head to during the summer. Tramore has everything you will need for an enjoyable holiday stay or visit. There are a variety of Hotels, Guest Houses, B&Bs, and self-catering options and there are leisure activities such as Splashworld, which is the largest indoor aqua adventure playground in the South East, as well as surfing, fishing, hiking, horse riding, golf, mini-golf and large Amusement Park which is ideal to amuse all ages. In relation to Surfing, Tramore has a number of surf and sup schools available and the surfing activity takes place all year. Along the section of the beach where the surfing takes place, there are many cafes and restaurants such as Moes, Mollys, and The Sandcastle Café. There is also a very good park area, unofficially called Lark Park, where birds like skylarks, egrets, and curlews can be observed from the park and the nearby bird hide.  The beach is very long and there is a looped walk (just watch the tides) down the beach, around the headland (The Sandhills), and back along the back strand. This walk should take you about 2 hours. Tramore also has Guillamene and Newtown Coves (well signposted in Tramore) and these are ideal for strong swimmers who want to do some sea swimming. Carparking is available but unfortunately, the toilets can end up being locked in the Winter months (which makes no sense to me). But Tramore is a wonderful place and I normally take the drive from Waterford to Tramore for a walk at least once a week.

Newtown Cove Waterford

Newtown Cove Waterford

10 More Things to Do in Waterford

  • The Irish Silver Museum
    This museum explores the story of Ireland told through the medium of silver.
    https://www.waterfordtreasures.com/irish-silver-museum
  • The Irish Museum of Time
    If you like timepieces or horology then you will love the Irish Museum of Time. The museum features the oldest Irish-made grandfather clocks, table clocks, and watches in the world.
    https://www.waterfordtreasures.com/irish-museum-of-time
  • The Bishops Palace
    A wonderful museum set in a beautiful building along the Mall.
    https://www.waterfordtreasures.com/bishops-palace
  • The Comeragh Mountains
    Located about 45 minutes away from Waterford. Take the N25 towards Dungarvan and follow directions to Comeragh Drive.
  • The Waterford Greenway
    A 45 km route ideal for walkers and cyclists with stunning views of the countryside. My only dislike of this attraction is the many ‘sports cyclists’ who are in the Tour-de-France lycra who decided to use this as a raceway. (I almost got flattened one day by a cyclist who must have been trying to do a personal best along the route). But early morning you can enjoy the views and the fresh air and it is certainly worth a visit. Carparking is available in many of the areas along the route.
  • The Spraoi Festival
    A city-wide event which takes place in the August Bank Holiday Weekend with music, street performers, and outdoor art installations. A must-see.
    https://www.spraoi.com
  • Waterford Nature Park
    The former location of the Waterford City Refuse landfill has been transformed into a wonderful area with looped walks, trees, and great views of the city.
  • The People’s Park
    The People’s Park is located not far from the Mall and is the largest public park in Waterford City. This 16-acre park was laid out around 1860 when the marshy land around the John River was drained. The park contains a Victorian-era bandstand, a skateboarding park, a children’s playground, and a separate baby playground. The old caretaker’s house has been converted into the Park Lodge café (well worth stopping off for a coffee)
  • The Viking Sword
    Located behind the Munster Bar just off the quays – you will be amazed by the size.
  • Jack Burtchaell Waterford Walking Tours
    If you want to get to know a city, then you have to walk it. The Jack Burtchaell Waterford Walking Tours are very good and Jack will bring you on a 1-hour walk that covers over 1,000 years of history, and includes four National Monuments, two Cathedrals, and historical figures who dominated the city’s history.
    https://www.jackswalkingtours.com

 I hope you enjoyed this article on the Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Waterford. If you have any questions or comments please leave them below.

Best Things to do in Prague

Best Things to do in Prague

Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, is a wonderful city to visit.  If you are visiting, you will want to know what to do in Prague? This guide will bring you through the best the amazing city of Prague has to offer, where to eat and where to stay.

Prague’s has a long and interresting history going back over a millennia. Prague is up there with other cities like Paris and Vienna when it comes to culture, architecture and history. The Vlatava River runs through the city and with Prague’smany world-class museums and baroque style churches and bridges you will cross the river a few times on your trip.

The ideal amount of time to spend in Prague would be 3 to 4 full days. If you enjoy walking you can certainly get all these 20 sights visited in 2 days. Bring good walking shoes and if you are visiting from October to March, check the weather and dress accordingly. I visited in mid-February and it was 8C but feeling like 3C with a slight wind chill factor – scarf, hat and gloves very much required.

The Czech Republic does not use the Euro and has the Czech Koruna as the unit of currency. It is located about 2.5 hours from Ireland and about 2 hours from the UK. Most budget airlines fly directly to Pragues Václav Havel Airport about 12km west of Prague. Connections to the city are available by bus and taxi or private car transfer. 

Top Things to do in Prague

This is my list of the best things to do and see in Prague. Prague has a lot to offer and in my view gives Paris a run for its money as it has tons of history, and architecture and has great food and is wonderful value for money.

The Astronomical Clock

The Prague astronomical clock, or Prague orloj, is a medieval astronomical clock that is over 600 years old and it is located in the Old Town Square in Prague. you will often find tours of the area and you can get guided tours around Prague which explain the history and the mechanism of this 600-year-old piece of medieval engineering.

Old Town Square

Old Town Square, in Czech known as Staroměstské náměstí, is the main central square of the historic part of Prague. Old Town Square is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Prague, along with Charles Bridge and Prague Castle. It is almost impossible to miss it if you’re coming to Prague as a tourist.
Franz Kafka, a German-speaking Bohemian novelist, and short-story writer was born very near here.

Astronomical Clock Prague
Charles Bridge Prague

Charles Bridge

Known as Karlův Most in Czech, Charles Bridge, is a medieval stone arch bridge that crosses the Vltava river in Prague. Construction of the bridge began in 1357 under the order of King Charles IV, and construction finished in the early 15th century. Because King Charles ordered its construction, the bridge has his name.

This was the only means of crossing the river Vltava River until 1841 as it was an important connection between Prague Castle and the city’s Old Town. You can actually go into the Powder Tower and you get great views of the city, giving the best Sunset Views.

The Palace and Cathedral Grounds

The castle and palace grounds are visible from the river. Simply head up the hill from Charles Bridge you can enter the castle grounds and enjoy the area. You may also see the changing of the guard. At night, don’t forget to say hello to the ghost (I got a spooky and unexplainable picture here many years ago).

St. Vitus Cathedral Prague is situated entirely within the Prague Castle complex.

Wenceslas Square

Wenceslas Square is the main square in the center of Prague. However, it is not actually square but more like a 700m long boulevard with many shops and restaurants along the length of it, Wenceslas Square reminds rather of a boulevard full of shops, focusing on various products from fashion to technologies. The square has been the place where many of the most famous demonstrations have taken place in Czech history. The focal point for Wenceslas Square is the National Museum which was founded in 1818 and was built in the neo-renaissance style. When I was here in 2002 the building was quite dull and ravaged by the elements but on my return in 2020 the building had been cleaned and sandblasted and looked amazing.

Some other of the Best places to visit Prague – in short

If you are in Stare Mesto take a look up as you are walking the street and you may just see the Golden Statue of Sigmund Freud. You can also get a great view of the city if you take the Petrin Hill Funicular. Finally, if you are interested in literature then you just have to visit the Franz Kafka Museum.

Food in Prague

The Food in Prague is amazing. If you want to try the local delicacies then you have to try Knedlíky, or Czech Dumplings and the best place to find these is Deminka at Škrétova 1, 120 00 Nové Město, Czechia – wonderful service and you have to pair the food with a Pilsner Urequel. If you are looking for a snack then try the Grand cafe orient for its strudel and coffee.

Prague is a wonderful city and I have traveled there about 4 times now, each time I found something new to enjoy. The food and the friendliness of the people are real selling points of the city.

A view of Prague from the Palace side of Prague taken at Dusk
Inside Loftus Hall. The Loftus Hall Tour – Visit Irelands Most Haunted House

Inside Loftus Hall. The Loftus Hall Tour – Visit Irelands Most Haunted House

Do you believe in ghosts? Do you believe that the devil himself visited Loftus Hall? Did you know the Devil exited through the roof of Loftus hall and that hole in the roof cannot be repaired?

Loftus Hall – Ireland’s Most Haunted House?

If not, (or even if you do) then a visit to Loftus Hall in Co. Wexford, Ireland just might change your mind. Ireland’s Most Haunted House, Loftus Hall is open and running very well organised hour-long tours which bring you through the history, and horrors of the haunted house. You may even catch a glimpse of the ghostly Lady Anna or one of the other ghostly demons.

I had known of Loftus hall for many years. As a child living in Waterford, you get told the stories of the devil and how he left the building. Loftus Hall is visible from Dunmore East so it was always in the focus of the young inquiring mind. At one point in the mid-90s it reopened as a bar, and I remember visiting it. The place had an unease about it, not just an old abandoned building but a sense that it lacked peace. It could very well be Ireland’s most haunted house even from across the bay.

Even with my previous visit in mind, older and wiser, I was a small bit sceptical. I wasn’t sure how this old house could be the setting for a tour. However, I was proved very wrong within the first 5 minutes. The tour guides are very well prepared and give you a lot of history and facts to digest. I’m not going to give anything away are there are a few interactive elements to the tour also. For me, the highlight (if you can call it that) was the visit to the tapestry room which is the most haunted room in the house, as I felt a real drop in temperature in this room, apparently associated with spirits. One story of what a child on the tour said to her mum, brought chills to my being.

It was a very well run tour and I might even be tempted to return for the more sinister adult only tour which is a lot darker and guided only by candlelight (which often goes out I was informed). Shortly after writing this post, one person took an unexplained photo with a potential ghost. The news story hit national press and went viral online so if you are interested in the paranormal, Loftus Hall is certainly one for you.

Admission to Loftus Hall

Tickets are €5 for children (who must be accompanied by at least 1 adult) and €9 for adults.

A great tour, my only gripe is that if you do the tour, your parking should be validated as it is €2 to exit the car park otherwise. (at the time of my visit, maybe this has changed now)

Website: https://www.loftushall.ie

Location of Loftus Hall – Ireland’s Most Haunted House

Loftus Hall, Hook Peninsula, Co. Wexford

Lanzarote Airport Transfer Service

Lanzarote Arrecife Airport Transfer Service – My Experiences

Imagine landing at an airport and finding out your travel agent never booked airport transfers for you. This happened to me when visiting Lanzarote Airport. At this stage, I had no way of getting to my hotel and I was quite annoyed with the agent. The travel agent said I never asked for transfers however how was I to know Arrecife Airport was so far away from my Lanzarote hotel.

Having got a few prices from each transfer services at the airport, some of which were quite expensive and obviously trying their luck, I chose one. I ended up finding an excellent airport transfer service from a company called ‘Canal Travel’ which brought us from Arrecife Airport to Los Farriones Hotel.

The transfer service to our hotel was polite and well run, plus, it was good value. I found them to provide a very reliable service the owner Rafael was excellent in helping us on our arrival. On departure back to Arrecife Airport a week later, they were right on time (they were actually there in advance) at our hotel, and took our bags from the lobby. This level of service helped make a departure from the hotel that bit easier.

I was well impressed and certainly recommend them if you are travelling to Lanzarote they are the ideal Lanzarote / Arrecife Airport Transfer Service.

Canal Travel
Website: www.canaltransfers.com