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Ireland golf vacation guide :
City and regional guide - Waterford

Cutting in Action
World famous as the home of Waterford Crystal, Waterford is an historic, bustling maritime county, which nestles on Ireland’s sunny southeastern coast. Offering a dazzling coastline, beautiful river valleys, glorious mountains and attractive fishing villages, Waterford is a superb holiday destination. Like most counties, Waterford has suffered from mass emigration during the traumatic and repressive times in Irish history and has a large expatriate population scattered throughout the world.

The diversity of landscape in Waterford is quite remarkable. West of Dungarvan is a wild and beautiful peninsula containing the historic seaside resort of Ardmore and a Gaeltacht area where the Irish language is still spoken. To the southeast of Waterford City is the East Waterford Gaultier Coast, a peninsula of Anglo-Norman character, containing the seaside resort of Dunmore East. The beautiful Comeragh Mountains form the spine of the county, while the county is bordered to the northwest by the Knockmealdown Mountains.

Waterford City itself was founded by the Vikings some 1,100 years ago and is the oldest city in Ireland. Conquered by the Anglo-Normans in 1170, the victorious Norman leader Strongbow, sealed his victory by marrying Aoife, the daughter of the King of Leinster (reputedly in Reginald’s Tower, one of the most venerable buildings in Waterford, originally built at a corner of the city walls in the 12th or 13th century). Waterford was first granted a charter by King John in the year 1215 and in the centuries that followed, prospered as Ireland’s chief port for European trade. The power and wealth of the local merchants was broken by the Cromwellian invasion in the 17th century and the merchants left to form emigrant communities all over Europe. The city was extended along the Quay in 1704 and an important link with Newfoundland was established. This link brought prosperity to Waterford and a Waterford colony to Newfoundland, which still remains today.

The reason why Waterford is known the world over however, is undoubtedly due to its famous crystal industry. The renowned handcrafted cut class of Waterford Crystal has almost become a global institution, with pieces adorning mantelpieces and coffee tables in every continent today. The Waterford Crystal Visitors Centre, which is Waterford's most popular visitor attraction, explains the evolution of glassmaking over the years and traces the history of Waterford Crystal since George and William Penrose first opened their glassmaking factory in the city in 1783. The centre features the world’s largest display of Waterford Crystal and visitors can watch the skilled cutters and blowers in action.

One of Waterford's principal attractions is Waterford Treasures at the Granary, which traces the history of Waterford from its Viking foundations to the 19th century. The exhibition uses modern interpretative techniques to bring the colourful history of the city to life. Other attractions include the Lismore Heritage Centre, which imaginatively recreates the history of the town of Lismore; the Dungarvan Museum, which presents the history of Dungarvan Town through a series of displays; the Edmund Rice Centre, which commemorates the founder of the Christian Brothers; Cappoquin House and Gardens, an 18th century Georgian mansion with fine informal gardens overlooking the River Blackwater; and Ardmore Church and Round Tower, which boasts a beautifully proportioned tower built in the 12th century, rising to a height of almost 100 feet.

The county of Waterford offers many picturesque towns and villages, including Dunmore East and Passage East, both of which are well worth a visit. Dunmore East is a small fishing village with beautifully thatched houses in southeastern Waterford, which was built in the Breton style, while Passage East is an ancient port, now a tranquil fishing village, with close links to some pivotal times in Irish history.


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