Waterford, apart from its famous crystal, gives us marvelous views along the River Suir
Waterford is one of the oldest cities in Ireland. It is a city with Viking origins and you can still see a lot of remnants of medieval life. The city was founded in the year 914, but what I recognized before visiting the city was its famous Waterford Crystal Factory. It was the first place I chose to visit, because they have a shop/visitors center that is pretty impressive. Inside we found crystal place settings, sculptures that reflected the light and some more irreverent ones like a rugby ball or a sculpture of Cinderella´s carriage. They also offer guided tours where you can see how they make their famous crystal, but since I only had one day to visit the city, I decided to be satisfied with just seeing the shop.
Near to the Waterford Crystal factory, you can find Reginald´s Tower. It is one of the oldest urban civic buildings in Ireland. It also forms part of the “Viking Triangle,” of the city which defines the boarders of the Viking settlement from the 10th century. It is a tower that was constructed for defense at the beginning of the 8th century and was used as a mint, a jail, and a military guard post. Today you can see Viking artefacts such as coins, broaches, and old weapons inside.
We continued walking along the River Suir until we found the famous Watchtower. This tower was constructed in 1861 and measures 40 feet tall. Now it is a meeting place near to the river. From here we made our way through the historic area of Waterford. It´s important to note that the city is rather small, and you can easily visit it on foot. We went up the hill to visit Christ Church Cathedral. The church has been around in Waterford since the 9th century and is the only cathedral in the Neoclassic Georgian style in Ireland, for this reason it is considered a building of architectural significance. The church is open for visitors Monday-Saturday, but since we were there on a Sunday, we were not able to go inside. It was too bad because we have seen photos of the interior of the church and it is rather different from a Spanish Cathedral. It seems that the church was rebuilt in the 18th century because the congregation wanted a church with more air and light, but even so, they used some of the original rocks from the Norman foundation around the year 1210.
After having seen the Cathedral it was time to eat lunch, so we made our way to George´s Street. There we found lots of place to have something light and sit at an outdoor table to watch the people passing by. Since it isn´t typical to eat a lot at lunchtime in Ireland, we got a sandwich with some chips (crisps if you are from the UK) and enjoyed watching the waves of people passing by on a Sunday afternoon. After eating, we saw an iron gate with the words Saint Patrick´s. It seemed like the gate to another little world, as if it were straight out of a children´s story like the Secret Garden or Alice in Wonderland. We couldn´t pass up the opportunity to go inside, so we carefully pushed open the door and walked down the cobblestone alley. It wound up being the path to St. Patrick´s Church, one of the oldest Catholic churches in the city built in 1750 after the Protestant Reformation.
We finished our visit to the city at the Museum of Treasures of Waterford because it began to rain. We also wanted to know a little more about the history of the city of Waterford. We learned that there were lots of myths about the founding of Waterford as a city. One of them said that it was established by a Viking King named Sitric in 853. In 1170 the city was conquered by the Normans. It’s normal that the city saw so much conflict since it is very well placed next to the River Suir.
Actually, in Medieval times, Waterford was the second city of Ireland after Dublin. It was impressive because today it seems like such a small city, especially if you consider that the old city walls were even smaller! In the 17th century Waterford witnessed religious wars and in the 18th century it prospered with the Waterford Crystal factory. But the city fell victim to the famine in the 19th century. It is a complicated history that is full of dates, but it is worth it to visit the museum, especially if you weren´t the best student of European history in high school. We ruskommend a visit to Waterford with 4 boquerones, but don´t forget your umbrella!!!