You’d be forgiven for thinking that Dublin, Cork or even Galway is Ireland’s oldest city, and while they are the three largest by population, and among the most popular among tourists, the oldest city in Ireland is actually the city of Waterford. A bit of a hidden gem, Waterford’s history dates back to 914 when the city was established as a Viking settlement in Ireland. 1100 years later, and the city is throwing one of the biggest parties of the year, and if you’re keen to find out more about the history and culture of the beautiful country of Ireland, here’s 5 reasons to make Waterford your destination in 2014.
5 Reasons to visit the city of Waterford in 2014
1) Enjoy the history of Ireland’s oldest city
Top of the list of reasons to visit Waterford City this year is a simple one – it’s Ireland’s oldest city! Waterford city has enjoyed a bit of a resurgence in recent years and is now one of Ireland’s most vibrant and up and coming cities, and 2014 will mark the rebirth of this historic city. From enjoying a pint of Guinness in one of the many city bars, to hitting the shops or visiting the historic Waterford Castle, there’ll be lots for you to see and do in “The Crystal County”.
2) Visit the home of Waterford Crystal
It didn’t earn the nickname “The Crystal County” for nothing, and when you think of Waterford, you almost certainly think of crystal as well, and in recent years this has been celebrated with the launch of the House of Waterford Crystal. Here you can get a tour of the factory and see firsthand the different areas involved in the crystal creation. The house is also home to the world’s largest selection of Waterford Crystal; so for those fans of this magnificent, decorative crystal, a trip to Waterford and the House of Waterford Crystal is a must.
(House of Waterford Crystal)
3) Enjoy one of the many museums
Where better to sample the history and heritage of Ireland’s oldest city than a visit to a museum, and Waterford has two museums that are well worth visiting. First up is the Waterford County Museum which is free to visit and full of historical artifacts, connected to both the city and county of Waterford. Next is the award winning Waterford Museum of Treasures which has been split into 3 unique areas; Bishop’s Palace, Medieval Museum and Reginald’s Tower. This museum is located in the Viking Triangle area of the city and tells the story of the 1100 year history of Waterford; a great place to visit if you want to get engrossed in the story of Ireland’s oldest city.
(Medieval Museum, Waterford Museum of Treasures)
4) Viking Triangle
The Viking Triangle has quickly become one of the most popular areas in Waterford City and is a mix of the Viking heritage of the city, merged with modern Ireland. The Viking Triangle is packed with lots to see and do including some great bars, restaurants, shops and markets (including the city market), and it is also located along the wonderful Waterford Harbour. The Viking Triangle is home to the popular Waterford Christmas Market and regardless of when you visit Waterford, be sure to get yourself down to the Triangle!
(The Viking Triangle, Waterford City)
5) Waterford 1100 party – time to celebrate
Finally, a last reason to visit Waterford this year is to join the biggest party of the year. With events planned throughout the year around various venues in the city, there are two dates in particular to keep in the diary. First up is a time to celebrate on Friday 6th June, which is a celebration of song composed by Julie Quinlan and comprising of 150+ strong choir. The choir will be joined by 1100 children to celebrate the 1100th birthday of the city. Then it’s time for the main event with a 2 day family festival on the 21st and 22nd June. This promises to be one of the biggest parties of the year in Ireland, so be sure to get yourself along to the Crystal City and join in the celebrations.
(Street Party in Waterford City Centre)
Plan your trip to Waterford and join the Waterford 1100 celebrations this year by flying into Waterford Airport and booking your hotel or hostel in the city centre. There is lots of great accommodation in Waterford to suit all budgets so visit Expedia Ireland to find the best travel plan for you.