Ireland's Ancient East
Ireland’s Ancient East will take you on a journey through time to discover 5,000 years of history. Take a walk through the narrow streets and medieval walls in the famous Viking Triangle which consists of the Medieval Museum that holds the iconic Cloth of Gold Vestments, famous in Northern Europe plus hundreds of other historical artefacts and treasures.
Reginald’s Tower was built in the 13th century and was the city’s defence watchtower that looked over the river Suir to detect enemies attempting to invade the city. It is famous as it is the first meeting point of the Anglo-Norman knight Strongbow and the Irish Princess Aoife. A stone’s throw away is the Georgian Christ Church Cathedral where Strongbow and Aoife famously married, which would change the course of Irish history forever.
Bishops Palace contains a wealth of fascinating artefacts, period furniture, beautiful fireplaces, and a collection of rare and important paintings. It also holds the Penrose decanter, the oldest surviving piece of Waterford Crystal, which dates back to 1789.Opposite The Bishop’s Palace is The House of Waterford Crystal where visitors can witness the creation of crystal masterpieces right before their eyes. A minute’s walk away from Waterford Crystal is where the Irish Tricolour was first unveiled by Waterford man Thomas Francis Meagher at 33 The Mall, in 1848. This historical moment was celebrated in March 2016 as part of the 2016 Commemorations Programme.
Waterford City has an abundance of historical features and attractions that will keep the history enthusiasts busy revelling in all the heritage and ancient discoveries being made. This enchanting city is a bottomless pit of historical reference, and Treacys Hotel is right in the centre of it all.
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Experienced guides will lead you through the atmospheric streets and historic pathways while revealing intriguing characters and stores that shaped its history.
Waterford City offers guests a number of tour options with various times and locations to suit every individual.
Historical Walking Tours
Interesting, funny and charismatic, Jack Burtchaell is the perfect guide to Waterford City. This multi-award winning tour, which has been running for over 24 years, takes you through the narrow streets of Waterford where Jack is on hand to point out all the places of interest and importance in the city. The tours commence twice daily, meeting at the tourist office at 11.45am and 1.45pm. The tour lasts one hour and there is no need to book. Group tours can also be arranged. The tours run seven days a week from mid-March to mid-October.
The Epic Tour of Waterfords Viking Triangle is a theatrical journey through Waterfords fascinating history, complete with costumes, props, dancing and plenty of craic! Led by Joe Meagher, Waterfords Epic Tours are an interactive and fun way to discover the citys mesmerising history. The tour itself is family-friendly and no booking is required. These seasonal tours run at 12pm, 2.30pm and 5pm and tickets can be bought at Bishop’s Place or the Medieval Museum.
Here in Waterford we take pride in the beauty of our region and the spectacular views it has to offer. As Irelands oldest tourist destination, no trip to County Waterford would be complete without a tour of the many scenic drives. In Waterford’s sunny southeast you’ll be spoilt for choice with a 147km coastline, 49 stunning beaches and coves, glittering valley rivers and lakes, two accessible mountain ranges, and an abundance of wildlife. Experience all the panoramic seascapes, dramatic coastlines, striking cliff sides and peaceful bays and coves on one of Waterfords four scenic drives..
Cooper Coast Drive & Geopark
The Copper Coast Drive is the best scenic drive in County Waterford and one of the best coastal stretches in Ireland. It embraces the magnificent cliffs, bays, panoramic seascapes and coves dotted along Waterfords extensive coastline. This glorious drive takes you from Tramore Bay to Dungarvan town in west Waterford.
In September 2011, this stretch of coastline was awarded the European Geopark status under UNESCO because of its historical and geological significance. The Copper Coast derives its name from the booming copper mining industry famous to the area during the 18th/19th Century with Bunmahon at the forefront of the industry. Lead and silver were also mined in the area during the same period. The Copper Coast Drive includes a visit to six of Irelands more intimate holiday resorts including Fenor, Annestown, Dunhill, Boatstand, Bunmahon and Stradbally.
Noteworthy attractions along the route consist of Kilfarrasy Beach which has some of the best views on the drive, Ballyscanlon Forest, Copper Coast Mini-farm, stone-age remains in Annestown, Dunhill Castle and Dunabrattin Head near Boatstrand.
The River Suir borders the counties of Waterford and Tipperary. This magnificent drive includes all the delights and charms of both counties. The scenic drive encompasses all the beauty and history from Clonmel, Carrick-on-Suir and Waterford.
Start your journey in the picturesque town of Carrick-on-Suir and visit Irelands only Tudor Manor and the ruins of Ormonde Castle. A castle has been present in Carrick-on-Suir since early 14th Century with the addition of the Tudor Manor House in the 1560’s. It is the best example of an Elizabethan manor house in Ireland. The long gallery, the most impressive room in the house, contains the finest plasterwork to ever be seen in this country with portraits of Thomas Butler, its former owner and his cousin Queen Elizabeth I. Carrick-on-Suir Heritage Centre is also a must-see.
Next, visit Curraghmore Estate in the village of Portlaw. The estate boasts a 2,500 acre of formal gardens, fields and woodland. It is the historic home of the 8th Marquis of Waterford.
The quaint town of Kilmeaden is next on the agenda with visits to the breath-taking Mount Congreve Gardens, a 70-acre intensively planted woodland garden with over eight thousand different flowers and plants and The Waterford & Suir Valley Railway.
East Waterford Gaultier Coast Drive
The East Waterford Gaultier Coast Drive is a delightful peninsular drive from Waterford Harbour to the southeasts leading seaside resort of Tramore. Along the drive, stop in the fishing village of Cheekpoint, rich in maritime history thanks to the meeting point of the River Suir with its river sisters The Nore and The Barrow. Enjoy some of the towns seafood cuisine before setting off to the estuary car ferry in Passage East.
Next, it’s time to sample the delights of the dramatic seaside resort of Dunmore East, stopping at the protected, peaceful beach of Woodstown and the Harrison Megalithic Tomb. Dunmore East is a beautifully charming fishing and seaside resort, famous for its prominent red sandstone cliffs and action-packed adventure centre. Lastly, soak up the scenery as you embark on a final trip to Tramore Bay.
The Nire Valley Drive displays Waterfords natural beauty and splendor. Starting in Dungarvan, your journey will take you through spectacular scenery all the way from the Comeragh Drive to Mahon Valley. Mahon Falls, a natural 80m waterfall, will certainly make the trip worthwhile. Mahon Valley is a glaciated valley bursting with ancient corrie lakes, Coumshingaun Lake being the most famous and most impressive in Europe. For the experienced hillwalker, an ascent of 700m will bring you to the top of the Comeraghs with an awe-inspiring view of Lake Coumshingaun and the entire plateau with West Waterford visible in the distance.
When you’ve had your fill of the spectacular mountain grandeur, continue around the Comeraghs towards Cappoquin, famous for its charming gardens. Highlights here are Cappoquin House & Gardens, Tourin House and Gardens and Mount Melleray Abbey.
Lastly, enjoy the rest of your trip in the historic town of Lismore. Lismore Castle always goes down a treat with tourists. Although the castle is not open to the public as it is still to this day a family home, the castle grounds offer exquisite formal and informal gardens. The gardens here in Lismore Castle are open to the public during the summer months of April-September.
Beaches in County Waterford – With an impressive 147km of rugged coastline that includes 49 picturesque beaches, no trip to Waterfords sunny southeast would be complete without a drive to at least one of its stunning beaches. Waterford is privileged to have been awarded 2 An Taisce blue flags in Tramore and Clonea this year and a massive 5 An Taisce green flags in Guillamene, Curragh, Newtown Cove, Ballyquin and Goat Island. Waterfords dramatic coastline is the result of The Celtic Sea which formed 2 peninsulas on each side of the county.
To the west of the county, the natural and beautiful peninsula is home to the historic seaside town of Ardmore and the Gaeltacht, a unique Native Irish-speaking region. Waterfords second peninsula, known as the East Waterford Gaultier Coast lies to the south-east of the city and contains the popular resort of Dunmore East. For those who live for dramatic coastlines and breath-taking scenery, the South East Coastal Drive, which begins at Wexford Town and finishes in Ardmore, ensures you can experience as many of these spectacular locations as possible.
Tramore Beach Resort is the leading seaside resort in the south East. The areas wide variety of amenities means this resort is one of the most popular in the regions. Tourists can enjoy activities such as swimming, sailing, surfing, rock fishing, sea kayaking, walking Irelands highest sand dunes, horse riding and beach angling.
There is also an amusement park with children friendly rides and an indoor water park complete with a heated swimming pool and two giant water slides at Splashworld.
Located just 16km from Waterford City, Dunmore East is a beautifully charming fishing and seaside resort, famous for its prominent red sandstone cliffs. Dunmore East offers a variety of activities including golfing, fishing, cliff walking and water sports.
For the thrill-seeking tourist, the Dunmore East Adventure Centre offers both water and land-based activities appropriate for families, groups and individuals. All the activities on offer such as wind surfing, power boating, archery and orienteering, are suitable for beginners and experts alike.
During the summer months, Dunmore plays host to a number of popular festivals including the Festival of Food, Fish and Fun and The Waterford Triathlon both of which take place in June and the extremely popular Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival which takes place in August.
The historic mining village of Bunmahon, located only 30 minutes from Waterford City, lies in the heart of the Copper Coast European Geopark. The Geopark gets its name from the thriving copper industry which was mined in Bunmahon, along with lead and silver, during the 1900s.
Bunmahon Beach is extremely popular with holidaymakers due to its picturesque golden beach and is in use all year round by surfers. Bunmahon’s Mining Heritage Centre opened in 1999 and provides a history of the villages mining background and the surrounding areas.
Other popular beaches include Ardmore, Clonea, Stradbally, Annestown and Boatstrand plus many, many more.