waterfordWhen certain people hear the word “Waterford,” they will no doubt immediately think of the incredibly high quality lead crystal which bears that name. But this city in Ireland is famous for more than just the crystal it produces, and in fact you can enjoy a visit to Waterford without ever having heard of the pretty cut glass.

Waterford is Ireland’s oldest city, having been first built by the Vikings in the early 10th century. Tthe city’s landmark building is also Ireland’s oldest urban civic building, Reginald’s Tower. Waterford is split by the River Suir, and was once one of the most important ports in Europe. In addition to the city’s fame in the glass-making department and its obvious attractions for history buffs, Waterford has a laid back feel which many travelers appreciate, not to mention lots of great Irish pubs.

Some of the things to do in Waterford are:

  • Reginald’s Tower – While Ireland’s oldest civic building has been used for many things, today it is a civic museum.
  • Waterford Museum of Treasures – Located on Merchant’s Quay, it is the city’s primary museum which features artifacts from 1,000 years of Waterford’s history.
  • South Quay – This quay was once called the “noblest quay in Europe,” and stretches about a mile along the River Suir. It is a lovely introduction to the city.
  • Waterford Crystal Factory – The crystal factory is about ten minutes from central Waterford, but the tour is worth the trip if you have any interest in glass-making or art in general, or if you are shopping for a special gift for someone back home.
  • Ballybricken – The neighborhood of Ballybricken is just outside the old city walls and is full of great public squares and well-known for its many food shops.

Although Waterford is easily explored on foot, do note that it is a hilly city so even though the distance covered may not be great you may very well get a bit tired from all the up and down climbing. The city has thoughtfully placed benches along many public routes, which are ideal places for sitting and catching your breath every now and again. Of course, the many pubs in Waterford are also perfect places to rest – because even if the weather is lovely and the bench looks inviting, you will not get the bench to serve you up a pint.