Daily Archives: October 24, 2010

A Tour of Ireland ~ Episode 7


Last week we stopped at Hook Head and today I lead you north from the lighthouse past Duncannon and Arthurstown to Ballyhack where a Car Ferry operates a continuous service across the River Suir linking the villages of Ballyhack in Wexford and Passage East in Waterford.

Waterford is a walled city of Viking origins, it retains much of it’s medieval character.  Although it is easily explored on foot, do take note that it is a hilly city so even though the distance covered may not be great you may well feel tired from all the up and down climbing. Thoughtfully placed benches along many public routes provide places for sitting and catching your breath every now and again.

The city’s landmark building is also Ireland’s oldest urban civic building, Reginald’s Tower.  It has been 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 artefacts 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.

World famous Waterford Crystal was originally founded in the city in 1783 by George & William Penrose it produced extremely fine flint glass. However, their company closed in 1851.  In 1947, Czech immigrant Charles Bacik, established a glass works in the city, due to the superb reputation of the original glassware.  By the early 1950s it had been taken over as a subsidiary of the Irish Glass Bottle Company, and later it became Waterford Wedgewood plc but went into receivership in 2009.  Waterford Crystal is still produced in other locations throughout Europe, notably Germany and the Czech Republic, by the company WWRD Holdings Ltd.
The crystal factory Visitor Centre 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.

A Walking Tour of Waterford’s Historic Quarter

The administrative capital of the county is set on Dungarvan Bay and is the starting point for three lovely, contrasting drives, the Gaeltacht & Galltacht Drive, Dungarvan & Copper Coast Drive and the Comeragh Mountains & Nire Valley Drive.  The town owes its foundations to the Anglo-Normans in the 12th century, but was substantially reconstructed by the Duke of Devonshire in the 19th century.

Built on the banks of the Blackwater, the town has been a hub of Irish life since medieval times when St. Carthage founded a monastery here in 636. It later became a celebrated international school. Henry II chose his site for a castle here in 1171 and the growth of Anglo-Norman influence during the late 12th century marked the decline of the monastery.  Lismore Heritage Centre occupies the old Courthouse.

Lismore Castle is the private home of the Dukes of Devonshire, but Lismore Castle Gardens are open to the public.

Lismore & The Vee Drive (One of my favourites) is a spectacularly beautiful drive where the scenery climbs and dips and changes constantly.  Highlights include The Vee viewpoint, the gardens and pet farm round Clogheen, Mount Mellary Abbey and Cappoquin House & Gardens.