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Waterford is the oldest city in Ireland. It is famous for its crystalware and intriguing medieval history.


Located on the River Suir, it was once one of the most important European ports. Today, Waterford maintains its 'small Irish town' feel, with a much more relaxed vibe than the larger cities, whilst still providing for most traveler's tastes, appealing most to interests such as history, culture, music and arts. Like most Irish towns, it has a lot of pubs.

  • Waterford Discover Ireland Centre, 120 Parade Quay. M-Sa 09:00-17:30. Tourist information centre.


Waterford is in County Waterford in the south-east of Ireland. It is on the River Suir and close to where the Suir, Barrow and Nore enter the sea. Most of Waterford City itself is on the southern side of the river, Ferrybank being the only suburb on the north. The South Quay (once dubbed 'the Noblest Quay in Europe') is a mile long and provides the perfect entrance to the city.

Being a medieval town, the city has sprawled over other fully functional villages over the many generations of its existence. Most (if not all) of these villages have kept their own village centres and attitudes, which provides the city with numerous cultural quarters. The oldest of these is the Viking triangle near Reginald's tower. Narrow lanes, tranquil surroundings and late night dining have made this spot very popular with visitors. The architecture in the area is also some of the finest in the city.

After a Norman conquest, as Waterford grew, the city walls were extended west. A large portion of these walls still stand today, and tours are run regularly. Inside the Norman quarter (opposite the Clock Tower on the quay) is the pedestrianised John Roberts Square, and Arundel Square. These are two of the main social and commercial hubs in the city.

Just outside the walls is Ballybricken, one of the many inner-city villages in Waterford. The centre has been converted into a public green area with a bandstand and many benches for those tired from walking the hill. Being an old farmers' community, Ballybricken is known locally for having some of the finest produce and butcher shops in the city. Waterford city Garda station is also located on Ballybricken.

When to visit

Waterford has a wet and windy climate, like most of Ireland, almost all year round. The summers are mild, but absolutely no guarantee of good weather. Heavy rain is common in winter, and snow is rare. Bring your umbrella and don't let it put you off, there are plenty of scenic shelters in the city. One of the finest is the William Vincent Wallace Plaza on the quay.

Get in

By car

Waterford City is 65 km (40 miles) west of Wexford, 78 km west of Rosslare Harbour, 158 km (98 miles) southwest of Dublin, 126 km (78 miles) east of Cork, and 153 km (95 miles) southeast of Shannon Airport.

By train

1 Plunkett Railway Station is the main train station in Waterford. It is on the north side of the river. You can travel anywhere in Ireland on the rail network [1]. Plunkett Station is outdated, and as the large signs posted over the entire building suggest, due an upgrade. Don't hang around wondering where the services are and just start your trek across the bridge.

By bus

Bus Eireann provide the state bus service in Ireland. The main Bus Terminal is in the centre of the city. Bus services run from all major cities and smaller towns into Waterford and is probably the easiest and least expensive way to travel to the city.

By boat

Ferries run from Fishguard and Pembroke in south Wales to Rosslare harbour. From there you can get a bus directly to Waterford City.

By plane

  • 2 Waterford Airport (WAT IATA) (6 km south of the city). This airport has no scheduled services.

Waterford is also ideally located between Dublin and Cork and therefore has access to airports at both those places for long distance flights.

Get around

By bus

Bus Éireann operate a frequent city bus network in Waterford, consisting of six routes:

  • Route W1 provides a clockwise loop from the Clock Tower in the city centre via Cork Road, Waterford Institute of Technology, Ballybeg, Cannon Street and back to Merchants Quay in the city centre, every 20 minutes Monday to Saturday and every 30 minutes on Sundays.
  • Route W2 provides an anticlockwise loop from the Clock Tower in the city centre via Cannon Street, Waterford Institute of Technology, Cork Road and back to Meagher's Quay in the city centre, every 20 minutes Monday to Saturday and every 30 minutes on Sundays.
  • Route W3 provides a loop from the Clock Tower in the city centre to St Johns Park in the south and back to Meagher's Quay in the city centre, every 20 minutes Monday to Saturday and every 30 minutes on Sundays.
  • Route W4 provides a service from Peter Street in the city centre to Browne's Road in the west, every 30 minutes Monday to Sunday.
  • Route W5 provides a cross-city service from University Hospital Waterford in the east to Oakwood in the west, every 30 minutes Monday to Sunday.
  • Routes 360 and 360a provide a service from Waterford to the coastal town of Tramore in the south, every 30 minutes Monday to Sunday.

A map of the city bus network is available here. All routes connect with each other in the city centre.

The cash fare within the city is €2.40 adult and €1.40 child, while if paying with a TFI Leap Card is €1.68 adult and 98c child. The cash fare to Tramore is €2.80 adult and €1.70 child, while if paying with a TFI Leap Card is €1.96 adult and €1.19 child. On TFI Leap Card, 24 hour, 7 day and monthly tickets are also available.

  • Rapid Express (or J.J Kavanagh & Sons Coaches [2]) also offer a local service, concentrating mainly on Ferrybank and Dunmore Road locations to and from the centre.

By taxi

Taxis and hackney cabs are available in Waterford. Taxis can be hailed down in the street however hackney cabs must be booked from offices. Costs are measured by distance. Taxis have a meter. If you have to be somewhere at a particular time, it is wise to book in advance as offices can be quite busy.

  • Rapid Cabs, ☏ +353 51 858585. Major carrier in the city. Serve all surrounding areas.

By car

Whilst travelling to Waterford by car is easy, travelling around the city by car is not recommended. The city centre is almost entirely pedestrianised, and in the narrower streets during peak times, your car horn will fall on deaf ears. This is truly a walker's city! Vehicle hire is readily available but make advance reservation particularly during main holidays periods. As with rental anywhere, make sure you have a current driving licence.

By foot

Waterford remains a small city, retaining its medieval feel. The city centre is easily travelled on foot as it is pedestrianised. Leave the car behind, you will likely save time by walking! Also, Waterford is infamous for its steep urban hills. You can rest on the many public benches.


Discover the Viking and Norman heritage of the city on one of the walking tours, including a visit to the famous Reginald's Tower and the ancient city walls.

Coastal highlights south of Waterford include Passage East, a tiny seaport from which you can catch a ferry across the harbour and cut your driving time from Waterford to Wexford in half.

  • 1 House of Waterford Crystal, 28 The Mall. Apr-Oct: M-Sa 09:00-16:15; Su 09:30-16:15, shorter hours other months. Waterford Crystal is a famous export of this city. Glass is hand-blown and hand-cut in the Waterford Crystal factory. The factory tour is well worth it. See the master craftsmen at work on one of the factory tours. Many famous designers have contributed to the collections ranging from glass tumblers to chandeliers. Tours of the factory run every 15-20 minutes and last 1 hour 30/40 minutes. Adult €13.50 (10% discount for online booking).
  • 2 Mount Congreve Gardens, Kilmeaden (8 km west of the city centre). Th-Su, bank holiday Mondays, 11:00-17:30, last entry 16:30. About 70 acres of intensively planted woodland garden and a 4-acre walled garden. Adult €6, joint ticket with the Medieval Museum & Bishop's Palace €12.


  • Edmund Rice International Heritage Centre, Barrack St. Dedicated to the memory of Brother Edmund Rice, founder of the Presentation and Christian Brothers.

Waterford Treasures consists of three magnificent museums in Waterford's Viking Triangle.

  • Medieval Museum: Treasures of Medieval Waterford, The Mall, ☏ +355 51 849501. Daily except 1 Jan, 25-26 Dec. Jun-Aug: M–F 9:15-18:00, Sa 9:30-18:00, Su & bank holidays 11:00-18:00; Sep-May: closes at 17:00 every day. Last admission 40 min before closing. Don’t miss the unique Cloth of Gold vestments which were lost for hundreds of years after they were hidden from Cromwell’s army, and the Great Charter Roll which was viewed by Queen Elizabeth II on her visit to Ireland. Take the multimedia handheld guide or enjoy a family friendly tour with a costumed performer. Adults €7, seniors & students €6, under 14's free. Adult combined entry €10 for Medieval Museum & Bishop's Palace; €12 for Mount Congreve as well.
  • Bishop's Palace: Treasures of Georgian Waterford, The Mall, ☏ +353 51 849650. Hours same as Medieval Museum. Café 10:00–17:00. This magnificent Georgian residence is a must-see attraction. Experience authentic, grand 18th-century living in this beautiful Georgian building. Don’t miss the oldest surviving piece of Waterford Crystal in the world, dating back to 1789, and the Napoleon Mourning Cross, the only one to survive out of the twelve that were made on his death. Take the multi-media handheld guide or enjoy a family friendly tour with a costumed performer. Allow 1-2 hours for visit. Prices same as Medieval Museum.
  • Reginald's Tower: Treasures of Viking Waterford, Parade Quay, ☏ +3535 51 304220. Daily except 24 Dec - 6 Jan. Late Mar - Dec: 09:30-17:30, Jan - early Mar: 09:30 to 17:30. Last admission 30 minutes before closing. Reginald's Tower is named after the Viking leader who founded Waterford in 914, making it Ireland's oldest city. Don't miss the 9th-century sword and weapons from a Viking warrior's grave and the magnificent 12th-century gold kite brooch. Guided tours and multimedia handheld tours available. Average visit 1 hour. Adult €4, seniors/group €3, child/student €2, family €10.


In northwest County Waterford, the Comeragh Mountains [3] provide many opportunities for beautiful walks, including the short trek to Mahon Falls. These mountains also have highly scenic roads for biking. Farther west, there's great fishing and bird-watching on the Blackwater estuary.



A blaa is a floury bread bun unique to this area of Ireland. Local legend has it that the white bread introduced by the French Huguenots in the early seventeenth century demanded that locals request a 'blanc', for white. The soft 'k' demanded by the French 'c' never squared with the flat delivery of the Waterford voice, where even today the 'A' is alway for Apple, and the locals dropped it. Responsibility for this local essential lies with either the Jacques, Sauvage, De Coursey, or Deveraux found scattered throughout the city. More likely, it was a combined and co-operative effort of the industrious Huguenots as they set to gain a foothold in the city.

  • Café Lucia, 2 Arundel Square, ☏ +353 51 825553. A lovely little café in a small laneway, Cafe Lucia is the best in the city. Enjoy sumptuous food and decadent hot drinks. Located in the centre of the city, it is perfect for a cup of coffee or lunch in the middle of your sightseeing.
  • Bodéga, 54 John Street (City centre in entertainment hub), ☏ +353 51 844177. M-Sa 12:00-22:30, closed Sunday. Located in the hub of Waterford's nightlife, this very fine bistro/wine bar offers a fabulous range of dishes prepared by their three French chefs. Seafood a speciality. This alternative, informal late-night wine bar has a truly Latin feel, with a full licence serving wines, beers & spirits. Awards include; Bridgestone 05, Guardian, and Time Out. Main course €15-27.
  • The Dry Dock Bar, Dooley’s Hotel, The Quay (in the city centre), ☏ +353 51 873531. Rich in character comfort and style. Carvery lunch served from 12:30-14:30 followed by an a la carte menu until 20:00. Tradition Irish music on Monday and Wednesday nights during the summer. Irish stew on Wednesday nights until 20:00.
  • Espresso, Parnell Street, ☏ +353 51 874141. Espresso is an Italian run pizza and pasta restaurant at Parnell Street in the heart of John’s Street Village. The menu is inexpensive and includes lots of pasta, homemade burgers, salads and probably the best pizza in the country. The house wine comes by the litre and the beer comes by the pitcher. The style is informal, the music is loud and the prices are cheap. Espresso is open from Tu-Su for lunch & dinner. Also do pizza & pasta to take out.
  • Jade Palace, 4 The Mall (city centre), ☏ +353 51 855611. Daily 17:00-20:00, M-F 12:30-14:30. Evening meals M-Sa 17:00-23:30, Sunday 12:30-23:00. Fine traditional Chinese restaurant. Wide variety of Chinese, Thai, European & seafood dishes available. Relax & enjoy a splendid meal in the restaurant or alternatively enjoy the barfood menu in the licensed bar.
  • Kambo, The Brasscock Centre, Dunmore Rd, ☏ +353 51 870727. A delightful Thai restaurant serving the best Oriental dishes. All dishes freshly prepared to traditional recipes. Excellent selection of wines & bottled beers. Book now for special occasions & dinner parties. Free car parking.
  • Kong's Chinese Restaurant, Glenville Centre, Dunmore East Rd. (Behind StatOil Garage), ☏ +353 51 843082. 12:30-14:30 and 17:00-00:00. A genuine Chinese experience in style & taste. A fine selection of wines & bottled beers.
  • L’Atmosphere Restaurant, 19 Henrietta St, ☏ +353 51 858426, ✉ Latmosphererestaurant@hotmail.com.
  • La Bohème, 2 George’s St., ☏ +353 51 875645. M-F 17:30-22:30; Saturday 18:00-22:30. Innovative French food in a beautiful restaurant, carved from the cellars of one of the oldest houses in Georgian Waterford. 7-course tasting menu a speciality. Proprietors: Eric and Christine Theze. 3 course table d’hote menu M-F from 17:30-19:00 for €28 per person.
  • Zaks (at Athenaeum House Hotel Christendom, Ferrybank), ☏ +353 51 833999. Daily lunch and dinner. Athenaeum's signature restaurant Zaks, overlooking Waterford city, offers superb cuisine in chic & elegant surroundings. Music from their resident pianist every Saturday night.
  • Mothers' Knee Tea Parlour and Chocolate Boutique, Tramore. An up-market chocolate boutique and tea shop/cafe. The Choclatier trained in London and Geneva before starting Mother's Knee in Tramore.
  • Momo's, George Street. Eclectic modern cuisine with a wonderful nod to the vegetarian and vegan.



  • Geoffs, John's St. A popular location with the alternative crowd. Impossible to find a seat after 21:00 on the weekends. Good drinks and loud music without being too imposing. Geoffs has an amazing arty interior and a large sheltered and heated smoking area. With a chilled vibe, and an easy cosmopolitan atmosphere,
  • Downse's Pub, Thomas St (between the Quays and the Glen). Waterford's oldest pub, it remains a clock-ticking pub. Conversation is the music of this pub and it attracts the most unique characters from all over the city. Please switch off the ring-tones on your mobile (cell) phone as this is frowned upon.
  • Jordan's, The Quays.
  • Kazbar, John's St.
  • Munster Bar (entrances on Bailey's New Street and The Mall).
  • The Tavern, Lower Yellow Road.


  • The Forum. In the Glen is a bit out of the way from the normal nightlife hub, but is one of the major gathering points for the 'alternative' crowd in the city. They run a popular indie nightclub every Thursday and Saturday night. The main floor is normally open for techno nights, but still attracts an unusual crowd due to its location. They also host live bands and theatre productions.
  • Harveys, Manor St. Play a mix of mainstream pop music from every era. Is nearly always packed. Popular venue, It's in the middle of the nightlife so get there early if you plan on sitting down. Harveys do cater for an older crowd, 21+, but still the club hosts a student night on a Wednesday.
  • Oxegen, corner of Parnell St and John St. Play the usual nightclub music and are populated by the younger mainly student crowd.
  • The Foundry, corner of Parnell St and John St. Play the usual nightclub music and are populated by the younger mainly student crowd.
  • Crystal, John St.
  • Escape, John St.


  • Waterford Castle.
  • The Fitzwilton Hotel, Bridge St, ☏ +353 51 84 69 00, ✉ info@itzwiltonhotel.ie.
  • Athenaeum House Hotel, Ferrybank, ☏ +353 51 833999. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. A 4-star boutique hotel on the banks of the River Suir overlooking the city and harbour. It has 29 bedrooms including 4 suites, restaurant, bar and lounge, terrace overlooking the city. From €50 pps.
  • Majestic Hotel, Tramore (take the R675 from Waterford), ☏ +353 51 381761. Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 12:00. On the Waterford Coast overlooking Tramore Bay.
  • Travelodge Waterford Hotel, N25 Cork Road (opposite the Waterford Crystal visitor centre in the heart of the commercial district), ☏ +353 51 358885, fax: +353 51 358890, ✉ waterford@travelodge.ie. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. From €35.
  • Viking Hotel Waterford, Cork Road, ☏ +353 51336933, ✉ info@vikinghotel.ie.

Stay safe

The city centre is safe, both day and night, and even wandering the narrow alleyways of the old town alone is perfectly secure. The nightlife can keep certain areas near Parnell Street very busy until 05:00 Thursday through Sunday, but there is normally Gardaí around (they stand out with big glow-in-the-dark coats). Tourists should maybe avoid some of the denser neighbourhood suburbs if alone at night.

Go next

  • Cahir (County Tipperary)
  • Dungarvan – a major town with a fine harbor; also Ardmore, known for its fine, long sandy beach
  • Dunmore East is a picturesque working fishing village about 10 miles from Waterford City. With views across to Hook head, the scenery can be breathtaking. Dunmore East was home to one of the main events of the 2005/2010 Tall Ships Race. The start of the race was hosted by Waterford City, with the bay around Dunmore East holding over 50 antique tall ships. Well worth a visit to anyone who goes to the south-east of Ireland. Portally Cove, near Dunmore East, is the home of Ireland's only Amish-Mennonite community.
  • Inistioge (County Kilkenny)
  • Wexford
  • The Comeragh Mountains are one of Ireland's best kept secrets. Here you will find hill walks of all kinds with spectacular views, hidden lakes, pretty valleys, wild waterfalls and rocky crags. Some of the larger tracks are suitable for mountain biking. Powers the Pot camp site high in the Comeragh Mountains is good for camping or caravanning. They also do wonderful home cooked meals in their little bar.
  • The coast of Waterford is scenic and varied and is still very unspoiled. There are cliffs, sandy beaches and sea-caves. The stretch between the towns of Tramore and Dungarvan is called the Copper Coast. See the Copper Coast geopark website.
  • Tramore and Clonea are known for their fine, long sandy beaches.
  • The beaches at Bonmahon, Clonea, and Dunmore East have Blue flag status.

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