[waw-ter-ferd, wot-er-]
Waterford (or Windy fjord; ) is a city in Ireland. It is the primary city of the South East region, and the fifth largest in the country. Founded in 914 AD, by the Vikings, it is Ireland's oldest city, and its motto Urbs Intacta Manet Waterfordia ("Waterford remains the untaken city"), that did not capitulate to Cromwell's New Model Army, but surrendered to Henry Ireton on 6 August 1650, .

Waterford is the largest city in Ireland to retain its Viking-derived name, Vedrarfjord. Reginald's Tower is the oldest urban civic building in Ireland, and the oldest monument to retain its Viking name. It is to this day Waterford's most recognisable landmark. The tower is believed to be the first building in Ireland to use mortar.

The population of the city in 2006 was 49,240; of which 45,775 lived within the city limits, and 3,465 lived in the city's suburbs in County Kilkenny.

The River Suir flows through Waterford city and has provided a basis for Waterford's long maritime history. Waterford Port has been one of Ireland's major ports for over a millennium. In the 19th century shipbuilding was a major industry in the city. The owners of the Neptune Shipyard, the Malcomson family, built and operated the largest fleet of iron steamers in the world between the mid-1850s and the late-1860s, including five trans-atlantic passenger liners.

Today, Waterford is synonymous with Waterford Crystal the world over, a legacy of one of the city's most successful and enduring industries, glass making. Glass, or crystal, has been manufactured in the city since 1783. Waterford is the sister city of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador and Rochester, New York.


Main article - History of Waterford

Viking raiders first established a settlement at Waterford in 853. Waterford and all the other longphorts were vacated in 902, the Vikings having been driven out by the native Irish. The Vikings re-established themselves in Ireland at Waterford in 914 and built what would be Ireland's first city. A list of the city's rulers from this date to the mayors of the present day can be found in Rulers of Waterford.

In 1137, Diarmuid MacMorrough, King of Leinster, failed in an attempt to take Waterford. He returned in 1170 with Norman mercenaries under Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke (Strongbow); together they besieged and took Waterford after a desperate defence. This was the introduction of the Anglo-Normans into Ireland. In 1171, Henry II of England landed at Waterford. Waterford and then Dublin were declared royal cities, Dublin was declared capital of Ireland.

Throughout the medieval period, Waterford was Ireland's second city after Dublin. In the 15th century Waterford repelled two pretenders to the English throne: Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck. As a result, King Henry VII gave the city its motto: Urbs Intacta Manet Waterfordia (Waterford remains the untaken city).

After the Protestant Reformation, Waterford remained a Catholic city and participated in the confederation of Kilkenny - an independent Catholic government from 1642-49. This was ended abruptly by Oliver Cromwell, who brought the country back under English rule; his nephew Henry Ireton finally took Waterford in 1650 after a major siege.

The 18th century was a period of huge prosperity for Waterford. Most of the city's best architecture appeared during this time. In the 19th century, great industries such as glass making and ship building thrived in the city.

In 1911, Br. Jerome Foley, Br. Dunstan Drumm and Br. Leopold Loughran left Waterford for Malvern, Australia. Here, they founded a Catholic college which is still in existence today .

In July 1922, Waterford was the scene of fighting between Irish Free State and Irish Republican troops during the Irish Civil War.

Places of interest

The old city of Waterford consists of various cultural quarters. The oldest is what has been referred to as the Viking triangle. This is the part of the city surrounded by the original 10th century fortifications, which is triangular in shape with its apex at Reginald's tower. Though this was once the site of a thriving Viking city, the city centre has shifted to the west over the years, and it is now a quiet and tranquil area, dominated by narrow streets, medieval architecture, and civic spaces. Over the past decade, a number of restaurants have opened in High Street and Henrietta Street, taking advantage of the charming character of the area. Much of Waterford's impressive architecture is to be found in the Viking triangle.

In the 15th century, the city was enlarged with the building of an outer wall on the west side. Today Waterford retains more of its city walls than any other city in Ireland with the exception of Derry, whose walls were built much later. Tours of Waterford's city walls are conducted daily.

The Quay, once termed by historian Mark Girouard 'the noblest quay in Europe', is a mile long from Grattan Quay to Adelphi Quay, though Adelphi Quay is now a residential area. It is still a major focal point for Waterford, commercially and socially, and the face that Waterford presents to those traveling into the city from the north. Near Reginald's Tower is the William Vincent Wallace Plaza, a monument and amenity built around the time of the millennium that commemorates the Waterford born composer.

John Roberts Square is a pedestrianised area that is one of the main focal points of Waterford's modern day commercial centre. It was named after the city's most celebrated architect, John Roberts, and was formed from the junction of Barronstrand Street, Broad Street and George's Street. It is often referred to locally as Red Square, due to the red paving that was used when the area was first pedestrianised. A short distance to the east of John Roberts Square is Arundel Square, another square with a fine commercial tradition, which the City Square shopping centre opens onto.

Ballybricken, in the west, just outside the city walls, is thought to have been Waterford's Irishtown, a type of settlement that often formed outside Irish cities to house the Vikings and Irish that had been expelled during the Norman conquest of Ireland. Ballybricken is an inner city neighbourhood with a long tradition, centred around Ballybricken hill, which was a large, open market-square. Today it has been converted into a green, civic space, but the Bull Post, where livestock was once bought and sold, still stands as a remnant of the hill's past.

The Mall is a fine Georgian thoroughfare, built by the Wide Streets Commission in order to extend the city southwards. It contains some of the city's finest Georgian architecture. The People's Park, Waterford's largest and finest park, is located nearby.

Ferrybank is Waterford city's only suburb north of the river. It contains a village centre of its own.

In April 2003 an important site combining a 5th century Iron Age and 9th century Viking settlement was discovered at Woodstown near the city, which appears to have been a Viking town that predates all such settlements in Ireland.


Official statistics show that Waterford's serious crime figures are on a par with other urban areas in Ireland i.e. Cork, Limerick & Galway but are significantly lower than the Dublin Metropolitan area. Nevertheless, there has been significant disquiet in recent years over anti-social behaviour and violent assaults. In 2006, there were two murders recorded in Waterford city the most high profile being the murder of Meg Walsh. Other murders occurred in 2007 with the most prominent being when a 21 year old male was stabbed to death.

Drug abuse has also been a factor in Waterford, with two deaths of two young males in 2007 from cocaine abuse.



Poet Seán Dunne was born in Waterford in 1956 and grew up in St John's Park. He attended Mount Sion CBS in Barrack Street and wrote with affection of the city in his memoir "My Father's House".


Waterford Museum of Treasures, in the Granary on Merchant's Quay, is the city's foremost museum, housing a collection spanning over 1,000 years of the city's history. Reginald's Tower, the oldest urban civic building in the country, has performed numerous functions over the years. Today it is a civic museum.

Art galleries

The Waterford Municipal Art Gallery has been housed in Greyfriars since 2001. It is the permanent home for the Municipal Art Collection, "A Gem Among Municipal Collections", over 200 paintings by Irish and International artists, including pieces from renowned artists such as Jack B Yeats, Paul Henry, Charles Lamb and Louis Le Brocquy.

Situated in Dyehouse Lane, the Dyehouse Gallery is the home of an art gallery and pottery works operated by the renowned Waterford potter Liz McKay.

Manifesto Gallery & Retail Emporium is located in the historic "Port of Waterford" building in Georges Street. This landmark building was finished at the end of the 18th century for William Morris and was designed by celebrated local architect John Roberts. Manifesto occupies the ground floor of the building and features original work from national and international artists, sculptors, jewellers, ceramacists & wood turners.


The Theatre Royal, on The Mall, was built in 1876, as part of a remodelled section of City Hall. It is a U-shaped, Victorian theatre, seating about 600 people.

Garter Lane Arts Centre is housed in two conserved 18th century buildings on O'Connell Street. Garter Lane Gallery, the 18th century townhouse of Samuel Barker contains the gallery and the Bausch & Lomb Dance Studio, and Garter Lane Theatre is based in the beautiful Quaker Meeting House, built in 1792. The theatre was renovated and restored in 2006 and now contains a 164 seat auditorium.

Waterford also has three theatre companies: Red Kettle, Spraoi and Waterford Youth Arts.

Red Kettle is a professional theatre company based in Waterford that regularly performs in Garter Lane Theatre.

Spraoi is a street theatre company based in Waterford. It produces the Spraoi festival, and has participated regularly in the Waterford and Dublin St. Patrick's day parades, often winning best float. In January 2005 the company staged its biggest and most prestigious production to date, "Awakening", the Opening Show for Cork 2005 European Capital of Culture.

Waterford Youth Arts (WYA), formerly known as Waterford Youth Drama, was established in August 1985. WYA has grown from the voluntary efforts of two individuals and 25 young people, to a fully-structured youth arts organisation with a paid staff and 400 young people taking part each week.


The Spraoi festival, organised by the Spraoi theatre company, is held in Waterford during the summer each year. It attracts crowds in the region of anywhere up to 80,000 people.

The Waterford International Festival of Light Opera is an annual event that has been held in the Theatre Royal since 1959.

The Tall Ships festival, held in Waterford in 2005, marked the start of the Tall Ships race of that year. The Suir river provided a perfect berthing location for the numerous tall ships that lined the north and south quays, for almost a week. The festival attracted in the region of 450,000 people to the city in what was the biggest event ever held in Waterford or the south east. On the 27th March, 2007, it was confirmed that Waterford will host the start of the Tall Ships race again in 2011.


Waterford Film For All (WFFA) is a non-profit film society whose aim is to offer an alternative to the cineplex experience in Waterford. WFFA conduct much of its activities on the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) campus.

Waterford city has two cinemas. The older of the two is the 5-screen Waterford Cineplex on Patrick St., which was the city's only cinema for many years. The other is the 8-screen Storm Cinema in the Railway Square complex.


There are three public libraries in the city, all operated by Waterford City Council: Central Library, in Lady Lane; Ardkeen Library, in the Ardkeen shopping centre on the Dunmore Road; and Brown's Road Library, on Paddy Brown's Road.

Central Library, or Waterford City Library, opened in 1905. It was the first of many Irish libraries funded by businessman Andrew Carnegie (Carnegie funded 2,509 libraries across the world). It was renovated in 2004 for its centenary.



Waterford United is a team in the FAI First Division. Waterford United's origins are as Waterford Football Club which was formed in 1930 and joined the Football League of Ireland the same year. The Club which changed its name to United in 1982 played its games in the city's greyhound racing stadium at Kilcohan Park. At the end of the 1992/93 season, the Club were granted the use of the Regional Sports Centre, due to the absence of owning their own pitch. The Club has had mixed fortunes through its history, success peaking in a near decade spell of domination of the domestic game between 1965 and 1973 which led to games being played at European level against teams that included Manchester United and Celtic. The club's last trophy win was the Football League of Ireland Cup in 1985. Since then Waterford United has bounced between the two League of Ireland divisions changing managers frequently. The Blues were relegated last season and will start the 2008-09 season in the First Division.


Mount Sion GAA is a local Gaelic Athletic Association club. Successful Waterford born or raised football players include Jim Beglin, John O'Shea, Daryl Murphy and Noel Hunt. There is a common misconception that Stephen Hunt was born in Waterford but he was actually born in Co Laois.


The skate scene in Waterford has grown substantially in the past about 15 years. Two skate parks have been built recently, one in Tramore and one in the Peoples Park.


Waterford Boat Club is the oldest active sports club in Waterford established in 1878. Located on Scotch Quay the club has had great success in recent years with several national championships and numerous medals in Europe. Several Waterford rowers have been selected to row for Ireland recently.


Waterford City has 15 elected representatives (councillors) who sit on Waterford City Council. The city is divided into 3 "wards" (or areas) and residents in these areas are restricted to voting for candidates located in their ward for local elections. A mayor is then elected by the councillors every year. The current Mayor of Waterford is Cllr Jack Walsh.

Mary O'Halloran who was mayor during 2007/2008 was the first woman to hold the post.

The office of the Mayor of Waterford was established 1377. Each major is elected for a 1 year term, and there is no limit to the number of terms an individual may serve. See rulers of Waterford.

For general elections, the city is part of the Waterford constituency, which covers the whole county and has been allocated 4 seats in Dáil Éireann. There are no such ward restrictions for these elections and voters are entitled to vote for any candidate throughout the city and county.



Waterford Local Radio (WLR FM) is available on 94.8FM on the Coast, 95.1FM in the County and on 97.5FM in Waterford City WLR FM is Waterford's local radio station. It serves a potential audience of 170,000 people, and 75% of all adults in Waterford tune in weekly.

Beat 102-103 is a regional youth radio station broadcasting across the South East of Ireland, it is based at "The Broadcast Centre" in Ardkeen, along with sister station WLR FM . It serves a population of about 450,000, and in August 2006 it had a 49% share of the south east market.


Radio Telefís Éireann's south eastern studio is located in the City Square shopping centre, in the city. The local correspondents are Damien Tiernan (South East Correspondent) and Helen McInerny (South East Reporter).

Waterford Report is a once weekly television programme on City Channel covering local news in Waterford. It is now presented by Mark Staunton. It is available only on cable and mmds from NTL (Channel 107). The programme is repeated twice every day. The service began on 1 November 2006, and broadcasts to homes across Waterford City and County. Previous presenters include: Aoibhin Fallon (WLR FM), Mary O'Neill and Janice Corrigan (Beat 102 103, WLR FM).

Print media

The Munster Express is Waterford's only remaining broadsheet format newspaper. It has its office on the Quay in Waterford City and covers stories from across the city and county.

The Waterford News & Star is based on Michael Street in Waterford City. It covers Waterford city and county. It is now published in tabloid format.

The Waterford People is located at the Cleaboy Business Park and covers Waterford City exclusively. Its sister paper the Dungarvan People covers West Waterford news and has a sales office on T.F. Meagher Street in Dungarvan. Both were first published on Tuesday 5 February 2008.

Waterford Today is an advertising supported free newspaper. It is delivered to most homes in the Waterford city area and is also available in many shops across the east of the county. Its newly refurbished offices are at the Mayors Walk in the city.

The Munster Express, Waterford News and Star and Waterford Today are in the shops on Wednesdays. The Munster Express "Late Edition" comes out on Fridays. The Waterford and Dungarvan People newspapers are available on Tuesdays.


The city is served by 21 primary schools and 9 secondary schools.

There are 2 third level institutions in Waterford: Waterford Institute of Technology, which is currently being considered for university status and the Waterford College of Further Education.

The Quaker co-educational boarding school, Newtown School is situated in Waterford, east of the city centre.

Waterpark College is a secondary school in the city of Waterford, Ireland. The school was established in 1892 on the banks of the River Suir, and still provides a secondary education to boys from Waterford City, County and the surrounding area.

Transport and infrastructure

Waterford currently provides access to five primary means of transport; Road, Rail, Bus, Air and Sea.


Waterford is connected to other major centres via the N9 to Dublin, the N25 to Cork (west) and Rosslare (east) and the N24 to Limerick.

In and around the city itself, the N25 is soon to be re-routed to include the Waterford City Bypass, currently under construction, which will feature a second river crossing for the city. This project will include the Western Link road that will connect the bypass to the Outer Ring Road. The Outer Ring Road (R710), is a major road that encircles the south of the city. When the bypass and Western Link are finished by 2010, it will be possible to travel in a circle almost the entire way around the city, from the Dunmore Road to Slieverue in County Kilkenny.


The main railway station servicing Waterford city is Plunkett (named in honour of nationalist leader Joseph Plunkett). It is located across Edmund Rice bridge on the north side of the Suir. Waterford railway station opened on 26 August 1864.

There are seven daily connections to Dublin; four daily connections to Limerick Junction; and one direct daily connection each way to Rosslare Europort and onwards to Wexford & Enniscorthy. There are no direct passenger services between Waterford and Cork since the Waterford to Mallow line closed to passengers in 1967. A change at Limerick Junction allows passengers to join the Dublin-Cork line. There is a direct line between Waterford and Limerick, but passengers must change at Limerick Junction on all services. There is also a direct line to Rosslare Europort. The Waterford to Ballinacourty railway, part of the Mallow branch, was preserved to allow for freight to be transported from Quigley Magnesite. The line shut in 1982 with the shock closure of Quigley Magnesite and the line was finally lifted in 1993.

The line to New Ross closed to passengers in 1964 and to freight rail in 1976. The Waterford to Tramore Railway closed in 1961.

The Waterford & Suir Valley Railway follows 6 km of the old Waterford to Dungarvan/Cork route on a narrow gauge line. It is a heritage route that runs between Waterford and Kilmeaden. The panoramic views from this line are considered to be exceptional.


Bus services are provided by Bus Éireann to all major Irish centres, and by J.J. Kavanagh & Sons to locations such as Dublin and Carlow. The Bus Éireann station is located on the quays opposite Dooleys Hotel and J.J. Kavanagh & Sons stop at both the Bus Éireann station and on Parnell Street. Bus Éireann have ten daily services to Dublin Monday to Saturday with five on a Sunday. J.J. Kavanagh & Sons have ten daily departures to Dublin Monday to Saturday and nine on a Sunday.

City bus services are provided by Bus Éireann and by J.J. Kavanagh & Sons.


Waterford Airport, serves Waterford and the south east region. Aer Arann is currently the only carrier operating out of the airport. It is currently possible to fly between Waterford and Birmingham, London Luton and Manchester in the UK. From 1 May 2008, Summer flights will resume to Lorient (France), Bordeaux (France), Faro (Portugal), Malaga (Spain) and Amsterdam. All users of the airport are subject to a €5 tax which must be paid in cash.

There is an air sea rescue service operating out of Waterford Airport from a dedicated Irish Coastguard base . This operation is currently contracted to a private operator, CHC Ireland. Rescue cover is provided by a Sikorsky S-61. A reserve S-61 helicopter is also based here. Waterford airport is also the base of the Pilot Training College, which trains pilots up to and including commercial pilot rating.


The Port of Waterford is a major Irish port, and the closest one to mainland Europe. The port is on the River Suir, at Belview, County Kilkenny, 16 km (10 miles) from the open sea. It handles lo-lo, bulk liquid, bulk solid and breakbulk/general cargoes. It is the fastest growing port in Ireland. In 2005, 776 vessels called at the port carrying a total of 2.6 million tonnes of cargo. Container throughput in 2005 was 137,453 laden 6m (20ft) equivalent units. Waterford is also a port of call for many cruise liners. The famous Queen Elizabeth2 has visited while many small liners can make it up river to the inner port in the heart of the city. The port hosted the Tall Ships race in 2005 and will do so again in 2011.

The closest passenger port is Rosslare Europort (72 km (45 miles) away by road), which has services to Fishguard, Pembroke Dock, Cherbourg, Roscoff and Le Havre.


Climate Table
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average daily maximum temperature (°C) 8 8 10 13 16 18 20 20 18 14 10 8 14
Average daily minimum temperature (°C) 3 3 4 5 7 10 12 12 10 7 5 4 7
Mean total rainfall (cm) 5.34 4.29 3.84 3.98 3.40 3.72 3.38 4.22 4.33 6.35 5.07 5.03 52.95

Sister cities

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St. John's
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Newfoundland and Labrador
United States
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New York
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Saint-Herblain ! style="background: #FFFFEF; color: #000000" ! | Pays de la Loire

See also



Additional reading

  • Shipbuilding in Waterford 1820-1882, by Bill Irish, ISBN 1 86985791 7
  • History of Waterford, by Joseph Hansard, ISBN 0 9532022 0 8
  • The Déise Dictionary of Waterford Slang boy!, by Cian Foley ISBN 0 9554755 0 3


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