Waterford is Ireland’s oldest city and the community of Waterford has done an excellent job at showcasing its history. As a busy southeast seaport, they’ve got quite a few activities to do along the water’s edge, as well as some beautiful hikes above the city. If you didn’t have a Waterford Wish List before, you will now: I gift to you, 30 things to do in Waterford, Ireland.
1. Waterford Treasures Medieval Museum
Waterford Treasures Medieval Museum is Ireland’s only purpose-built medieval museum equipped with 15th century Mayor’s Wine Vault and 13th century Choristers’ Hall. The Medieval Museum hosts costumed reenactments and is actually 1 of the 3 Waterford Treasures buildings.
2. Waterford Greenway
Waterford Greenway is a cycling and walking trail located along an old railway line running between Waterford and Dungarvan. Locally known as the Déise Greenway, this road is 46km long and the spectacular views seem to never end.
3. Reginald’s Tower
Reginald’s Tower is a historic tower located in the city quay. It’s been in use for over 800 years and used to serve as the strongpoint of the defensive walls lining the city. It’s now an exhibition center on Viking Waterford.
4. King of the Vikings VR
King of the Vikings VR is a virtual reality 3D adventure that will get you up close and personal with some vikings. It costs between 5 and 10 euros and takes place next to Reginald’s Tower, in a replica Viking house.
5. Bishop’s Palace
Also known as Gresham’s Castle, Bishop’s Palace is a 19,082 square foot Victorian-style house. Built between 1887 and 1892, Bishop’s Palace is known by architectural historians as one of the most significant of Victorian residences in the entire country.
6. Comeragh Drive
Comeragh Drive is a beautiful drive in the countryside that leads up to Mahon Falls. Watch for the majestic eagles swooping above you and don’t miss out on the legendary Magic Road (if you park your car at the bottom of the hill, it will mysteriously start rolling back up the hill).
7. Mount Congreve House and Gardens
Mount Congreve is an 18th century estate and mansion built by architect, John Roberts. The Congreve family lived here from 1760 all the way up until 2011, when it was left in trust to the Irish State after the death of Ambrose Christian Congreve. Surrounding the estate is 70 acres of woodland garden and a four-acre walled garden. It truly is a slice of heaven.
8. Coumshingaun Lough
Coumshingaun Lough is a 7.1 km (about a 4-hour-long) loop trail. You can hike, walk or run these trails, but it is best to visit between April and September.
9. Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, is where Strongbow was married to Aiofe, daughter of Diarmait Mac Murchada, King of Leinster, back in 1170. This cathedral is now one of the most important historic sites in Ireland, being awarded with a Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor.
10. The Viking Triangle
The Viking Triangle is the cultural hotspot of Waterford. It gets its name from the 1000-year-old Viking walls once surrounding the area. You can visit tons of Viking-themed exhibits and attractions here. Check their website to see what’s all going on in the area.
11. Theatre Royal
Theatre Royal is Ireland’s oldest continually operating theatre. First opened in 1785, this theatre hosts plenty of events like comedy, movies, dance, etc. Check out their website to see what’s playing now.
12. The Apple Market
The Apple Market is the area down in Waterford that consists of some shops and European-style cafes. The Apple Market is a great place to go if you need a caffeine boost and a quick shop until you drop.
13. Waterford Nature Park
Waterford Nature Park has plenty of paths for you take a lovely walk along the outskirts of the city. It’s a nice place to clear your mind and escape the bustle of the city for a bit.
14. The Clock Tower
The Clock Tower is a gothic revival-styled clock that’s been around since 1863. Most of the original art and mechanisms are still running in the tower, as they needed to be in tip-top shape when Waterford was Ireland’s busiest industrial port.
15. People’s Park
People’s Park is located between Park Road and William Street and is the largest public park in Waterford. In the park, you’ll find the Goff cycle track, a playground, an old painted iron bridge, and a gorgeous spherical monument and water feature.
16. Kilmurrin Cove
Kilmurrin Cove is a beach that’s perfect for swimming or exploring. The cove is around a 30-minute drive from the city and rests between two cliffs. Though it is a beach, Kilmurrin Cove is still a serendipitous place to visit during the winter to find some peace.
17. Waterford & Suir Valley Railway
The Waterford & Suir Valley Railway will give you the opportunity to experience the Suir Valley, which is only accessible from this railway. Tickets aren’t too expensive and can be purchased at the Mark 2 railway carriage upon arrival to the station.
18. Thomas Francis Meagher Statue
Irish nationalist & leader of the Young Irelanders in the Rebellion of 1848, Thomas Francis Meagher, carries a huge reputation for pride and respect in Ireland. This statue was built in 2004 in honor of Meagher and is now displayed near his childhood home at Number 19, The Mall.
19. Meagher’s Quay
Meagher’s Quay is a great place to walk along the river or enjoy a nice, cool drink. This is especially convenient if you’re staying at the Granville Hotel, as Meagher’s Quay is just outside the front door.
20. St. Saviour’s Dominican Priory
St. Saviour’s Dominican Priory is the home of a small Dominican community in Waterford. In 1226, Waterford was the Dominican’s first settlement in Munster. This gorgeous church is near the bridge over the River Suir and has been described as an oasis of calmness.
21. Kilcohan Park Greyhound Stadium
Kilcohan Park Greyhound Stadium is a racing track for greyhounds. Surprised? Why? I mean, they’re basically the same size as horses…. Anyway, this is a great way to experience Irish culture with some nighttime entertainment featuring doggos!
22. William Vincent Wallace Plaza
William Vincent Wallace Plaza is newer than most medieval buildings in Ireland. Opening in 2001, this continuous walkway connects the plaza to Rice Bridge, allowing you to enjoy some people-watching and a place to sit and relax.
23. Edmund Rice Heritage Centre
Edmund Rice is the International Heritage Centre in Waterford. It consists of a community centre, a chapel and a museum. Take a look at their website to see what events are going on while you’re visiting.
24. St. Patrick’s Gateway Centre
St. Patrick’s Gateway Centre is a community centre that hosts events in Waterford. They cater to the recreational, educational, social, artistic and cultural needs of Waterford and the surrounding areas.
25. Comeragh Mountains
The Comeragh Mountains are a glaciated mountain range and one of the most incredible things to do in Waterford, especially if you are a hiker or a mountain climber. However, even if you aren’t one of the two, how could you turn down the opportunity to see a view like this?!
26. John Condon Memorial
John Condon Memorial is a statue dedicated to none other than John Condon. Who is that, might you ask? John Condon was the youngest recorded casualty on the Allied Side in WWI, dying at the age of 14. Though this isn’t one of Ireland’s biggest attractions, it stands as a sad reminder that freedom and ‘the great adventure’ can come at a price.
27. Dunmore East
Dunmore East is a village located within Waterford that is very popular for tourists and fishermen. The harbor here is one of just five designated National Fishery Harbours, paying respect to its long line of fishing history. If you’re around during the end of August, make sure to check out their annual bluegrass festival.
28. Garter Lane Arts Centre
Garter Lane Arts Centre is a very vibrant and modern hub for all things art. Getting around 30,000 visitors annually, the art centre hosts a plethora of performances, exhibitions and outreach programs.
29. Stradbally Cove
Stradbally Cove is a part of the Copper Coast, an area of national significance. The beach is very clean and tranquil and you’ll likely be the only one there (unless it’s Electric Picnic time, like above!). This cove truly is a hidden little gem equipped with soft, golden sand and rolling tides.
30. House of Waterford Crystal
The House of Waterford Crystal is a retail store of high-end crystals that hosts guided tours of their factory. Here, you’ll gain a better understanding of how to deliver, hand-shape and hand-blow these crystals, as well as get some history and time to shop afterward.
I hope this list gave you a great starting point for your wishlist of things to do in Waterford, Ireland, but, as always, if you’ve got more suggestions, please comment them below!