THE VIKING TRIANGLE
Viking stories, buildings dating back to 914, exhibitions and museums, 13th century Franciscan Friary, 18th Century Cathedral, City Hall, restaurants, bars with good food, coffee shops and an amazing atmosphere….all in a triangle on the east side of this old city. Not forgetting the opportunity on your walk to drop into the Home of Waterford Crystal for a tour of the factory to witness the creation of pieces of this world renowned hand blown, hand cut glassware.
Waterford City, Ireland’s oldest city, was established as a base in 914 by the great Viking adventurer, Reginald, a grandson of Ivor the Boneless, as a ships haven. Over the years, Waterford, located on the River Suir with deep sea access from the Irish Sea, has been a seafaring City for cargo as well as Cruise Ships.
The quayside has been developed for modern use but the old Gothic Revival clock tower erected in 1863 and is now a renowned landmark and an attractive feature in the quays landscape. To the east end is the William Vincent Wallace Plaza, a modern open air sculpture and seating area. An old crane, remains of the commercial days, was used to crane on goods to the ships and this lone crane has been preserved to represent the past activities that were carried out on the quays.
I ventured into the Tourist Office (located opposite the William Vincent Wallace Plaza) to find out what I should look at. I spoke to a very friendly and enthusiastic young man who gave me guidance and suggested the “Viking Triangle” and a pop into the renowned Waterford Crystal Factory on the way.
Off I wet. A few hundred yards to the right of the tourist office brought me to “Reginald’s Tower”. Dating back to 914, it houses an exciting Viking exhibition with something to enthuse all ages. Outside is a replica of a Viking Longboat, so slick and beautiful, it is hard to visualize them as a warring machine.
Further on I called into House of Waterford Crystal and went on the tour of the factory. Waterford Crystal has been hand making and cutting fine glass in Waterford City for 200 years. Their glass is world famous and greatly sought after. At the start of the tour, an informative vocal briefing outlining the history of the glass and its production and moving on into a fantastic audio visual presentation of the products utilizing mirrors. We then moved on into the production area to see first hand the making of these stunning glass pieces. We were shown the wooden moulds which are used to create the blank shape, the firing and the blowing of the glass and on to the glass cutting, an increasable skill passed down to the apprentices by their piers. This is really worth a visit and should not be left out of a visit to the City.
Across the road is the City Hall, dating back to 1783, now a museum. To the right is the Theatre Royal and sandwiched between these two buildings, in what I would consider to be a magnificent architectural development in such an incredibly old area, is the Mediaeval Museum. This brand new facility brings you back in Waterford’s history to the 13th Century. The 13th Century Franciscan Friary, Greyfriars”, a ruin now but flanked by 18th Century Christ Church Cathedral in Cathedral Square, one of Irelands most celebrated ecclesiastical buildings, was the site of the marriage of Strongbow and Aoife, a marriage that changed the course if Irish History.
What an increasable area of the City to wonder around for a couple of hours; all in easy walking distance, plenty of coffee shops and bars serving good foods, art galleries and restaurants.
Discover Ireland Center
Waterford Tourist Office
Custom House Quay (On corner Greyfriars Road)
Tel: 051 875823
“Walking Tours of Historic Waterford” (Commencing from Waterford Tourist Office)
Contact: Jack Burtchael
Tel: 051 873711
Mid March to Mid October. 7 days / week. Duration 1 hour.
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