The county of Waterford is about its coast and beaches, the city of Waterford, and the mountains. In the north are the Monavullagh and Comeragh mountain ranges, while the Knockmealdown mountains cross the border into neighbouring Tipperary. Rivers flowing through the county include the Suir, Blackwater, and Bride. Waterford Attractions
The county’s largest city, Waterford, is synonymous with Waterford crystal. Tours of the factory are offered, and crystal is on sale at the Visitor Centre. Guided walking tours of the city start from the Granary on the quay.
The Waterford Treasures Museum at the Granary on the quay has artefacts and AV presentations related to the city’s history. Another exhibition, also at the quay, is in12th century Reginald’s Tower. It was constructed as part of Waterford’s defences and was later used as a prison and military store.
Waterford has two cathedrals: Christchurch, and the Most Holy Trinity in Barronstrand Street, the earliest post-Reformation Roman Catholic cathedral in Ireland. Christchurch cathedral contains a base of a Norman pillar and a 16th century warrior’s tomb. Ferrybank Gardens is a large historic garden with unusual plants, a water garden, and a woodland area.
Leaving Waterford and heading south down the coast brings you to Dunmore East, a traditional fishing village set out around a stone harbour and overlooked by a 19th century Doric lighthouse. Tramore’s three miles of sandy beach make it a popular resort with the usual resort attractions. At Tramore House and Gardens are woodlands, a stone grotto, rose beds, and a herbaceous border. Cliff walks in the area provide far-reaching views. The route from here to Annestown along the coastal road brings more scenic spots into view.
Inland from Tramore near Fennor is a national monument, Matthewstown passage grave, a wedge-shaped tomb dating from BC c2000. Ballyscanlan forest in same area, has walking trails, a lake, a bog with an information/picnic area, and a boardwalk. Eastward, a narrow road leads to Kilfarrasy with island views and sea stacks by a cove and beach.
Bunmahon sits on the coastal stretch west of Tramore known as the “copper coast” where sandy coves, caves, and cliffs are abundant. Bunmahon has an outstanding white beach, a heritage centre, a cliff top mining trail, and a geological park. Nicknamed the “giant’s causeway of Waterford” is a spot called “the pipes of Baidhb”.
Stradbally, also on the “copper coast” drive, shows off its thatched and slated cottages. It’s a national tidy town award winner and town square heritage award winner. Two coves, one with a sandy beach, make it a popular seaside resort. Here the Church of Ireland church has, in its grounds, the ruin of the largest medieval church in rural Ireland. Drumlohan ogham stone, a national monument, is also found here along with standing stones and forts.
Continuing along the coast leads to Dungarvan, the administrative capital of the county and a busy market town. It is set in a broad, beautiful bay. St Mary’s church, on Emmet St, dates from 1828 with some interesting gravestones. The 17th century market house in Parnell St is an Irish arts centre. The Dungarvan museum in the old town hall gives all the details of the town’s history using displays and panels. St Garvan’s church, on Barrack Lane, was built on the site of a 16th century church. 12th century Dungarvan castle, across from the church, is shown by guided tour.
On the tip of land south of Dungarvan is the county’s Gaeltacht region, An Rinn. The small area on a peninsula has a harbour and beaches, offers walking opportunities, and is a center of Irish music.
Along the far south coast, Ardmore, the oldest Christian settlement in Ireland, is a picturesque seaside resort with a sandy beach and a 12th century round tower. The West Gable cathedral has Romanesque 9th- 12th century sculptures and two ogham stones. In the town are three sites related to St Declan: an oratory, well, and stone.
Lismore, in the south-west of the county is a Heritage Town and winner of tidiest small town award. The Lismore Heritage Centre, in a former courthouse, presents the town’s history. Guided tours are available from the centre. A wooded walk along the banks of the Blackwater is signposted from the heritage centre. Lismore castle’s gardens, on a promontory overlooking Blackwater river, are open to the public. St Carthage cathedral has a number of old gravestones. By car the Lismore and the Vee drives take in the scenery.
Near Lismore in west Waterford, Cappoquin is a market town in the wooded and scenic countryside of the Knockmealdown mountains. Westward is the Blackwater valley. Cappoquin House and Gardens in the town centre, is an 18th century Georgian mansion.
South is Tourin House and Gardens and Dromana House, the site of a former castle of the Earl of Desmond. Crossing the river Finisk leads to Dromana gate, a Hindu style building. Mount Melleray Abbey, an 1832 Cistercian abbey, in the foothills of the Knockmealdown mountains four miles north of the town, is a working monastery.
West of the Monavullagh mountains in the Nire valley is Ballymacarby. It’s a popular walking area and celebrates with a mountain walking festival each autumn. Fishing is another activity in the area. Rathgormack is a good centre for touring north Waterford. East of the village is Mothel Abbey, founded in the 6th century and refounded in the 13th as a Augustinian abbey. Curraghmore House and Gardens are located at Portlaw, north-west of Waterford. They are part of the estate that is the home of the Marquis of Waterford.
Cappoquin House and Gardens
Tel. 058 54004
Curraghmore House and Gardens
Three miles from Portlaw
Tel. 0513 87102
Castle St, Dungarvan
Tel. 058 48144
Open: by guided tour only during summer months June-Sep, 10am-6pm daily
Dungarvan, in old town hall on St Augustine St.
Tel. 058 45960
Web: Dungarvan Museum
Waterford on N25, just past Jury Hotel
Tel. 051 851558
Lismore Castle Gardens
Tel. 058 54424
Web: Lismore Castle Gardens
Lismore Heritage Centre
Lismore, in former courthouse
Tel. 058 54975
Mount Congreve Garden and Nursery
Tel. 051 384715 for the nursery
Mount Melleray Abbey
Cappoquin, on Vee Road
Tel. 058 54404
The Quay, Waterford
Tel. 051 304220
Tourin House and Gardens
Three miles south of Cappoquin
Tel. 058 54405
Tramore House and Gardens
Tel. 051 390 130
Waterford Crystal Visitor Centre
The Mall, Waterford city
Tel. 051 317 000
Web: Waterford Crystal Visitor Centre
Waterford Treasures Museum
Waterford Merchant’s quay
Tel. 051 30 4500
Web: Waterford Treasures Museum
Walking Tours of Waterford
Waterford Tourist Services
Jenkins Lane, Waterford
Tel. 051 873711
Waterford County Tourism
Waterford County Tourist Information Centres
Ardmore Tourist Office
Tel. 024 94444
Dungarvan Tourist Office
The Courthouse Building
Tel. 058 41741
Waterford Tourist Information
Arundle Square, Waterford
Tel. 051 852550
Photos of Villierstown quay on River Blackwater, Ardmore beach, St Declan graveyard statue, St Declan tower, Lismore castle, Lismore Catholic cathedral, and Dromana gate © by Barbara Ballard
Other photos courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland as follows:
Comeragh mountains Crotty’s Lake by Kevin Higgins; Waterford Crystal chandelier, Waterford old town walls, Christchurch cathedral by Eirian Evans; Reginald’s tower, Tramore beach, Dunmore East lighthouse, Dungarvan harbour by Paul O’Farrell; Waterford Most Holy Trinity Cathedral by Philip Halling; Matthewstown passage grave by Kieran Campbell; Waterford clock on the quay, Kilfarrasy cove, Tankardstown copper mine Bunmahon by Shaun McGuire; Stradbally cove, Curraghmore House by John M; Blackwater River gorge by Mike Simms; River Finisk by Jonathan Billinger; Monavullagh mountains heathland by Kevin Higgins
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