Waterford is an ancient Southern seaport in Ireland which was founded by invading Vikings in 914 AD. Rich in heritage, many aspects of its tumultuous culture remains today.
However, previous Viking settlers are not the only reason to visit the county. Waterford is now a buzzing cultural hub with art galleries and visitor centres, the home of Waterford Crystal and stunning natural surroundings.
Already planning your trip? Here are the top ten things to do and see in County Waterford.
10. Mount Congreve – for gardens
Set on the impressive surroundings of an 18th-century Georgian estate, Mount Congreve is Waterford’s leading mansion and garden attraction. Whether you’re looking to get lost in the woods or marvel in the majesty of the stunning stately mansion architecture, this is the place to be.
Mount Congreve is open every Thursday to Sunday from 11am until 5.30pm and tours are available, too.
Address: Mount Congreve Gardens, Killoteran, Kilmeaden, Co. Waterford, X91 PX05
9. Fairbrook House – for art-lovers
If you feel like enjoying some culture on your trip to Waterford, feel free to check out Fairbrook House in Kilmeaden. With enchanting country house gardens and a Museum of Contemporary Figurative Art, this is a fairytale place to spend an afternoon.
Fairbrook House is open 1 May – 30 September yearly. Closed Monday and Tuesdays. Adult admission fees apply.
Address: Fairbrook, Kilmeaden, Co. Waterford
8. Waterford & Suir Valley Railway – for the family
Waterford & Suir Valley Railway is a perfect activity for the entire family in County Waterford. This scenic slow-paced adventure offers visitors an opportunity to hop on board and trace the riverbank of the River Suir, as well as offering views of Mount Congreve Gardens.
Train journeys operate April to September; adult and children admission fees apply (babies under two travel for free).
Address: Kilmeaden Train Station, Kilmeadan, Kilmeaden, Co. Waterford
7. Bishop’s Palace – for history
If you’re hoping to become truly immersed in local history, Bishop’s Palace is certainly one of the top things to see and do in Waterford. This heritage palace offers tours led by costumed gentry who are bound to keep you interested from start to finish.
Whether you love European art or have a penchant for history, this is the one for you!
Address: The Mall, Waterford
6. Emiliano’s – for food
One of the top restaurants in all of Waterford has got to be Emiliano’s. This Italian eatery is not about frills and fanciness, but about solid service and quality, authentic cuisine.
Classic in décor with wood finishes, tiled floors and arched doorways, this is the perfect place for a romantic dinner, catch-up with friends or meal with the family. At Emiliano’s, everyone’s welcome.
Address: 21 High St, Waterford
5. Waterford Nature Park – for nature-lovers
For those of you who are dying to stretch your legs in nature and breath in some fresh country air, this one is for you.
Whether you’re keen for a leisurely stroll, want to take on a trail or hike, cycle or picnic, this is the perfect place to go on a sunny day in Waterford.
4. Medieval Museum: Treasures of Medieval Waterford – for Viking enthusiasts
For those of you keen to learn a little more about Waterford’s ancient Viking past, check out the Medieval Museum: Treasures of Medieval Waterford.
With informative exhibits and costumed scenes of re-enacted history, this is a perfect rainy day activity when in Waterford city.
Address: Cathedral Square, Waterford
3. Woodstown Beach – for a sunny day
When the sun is shining, there is only one place to be in Waterford: Woodstown Beach. This little strip of sandy serenity could be somewhere in the Mediterranean on a sunny day, but as a matter of fact, it is in the Emerald Isle.
Although parking here can be a bit of a pain (arrive early to avoid disappointment), this is also one of the most favoured local’s spots in the county.
Address: Unnamed Rd, Co., Waterford
2. House of Waterford Crystal – for craft
Waterford Crystal is known worldwide and where better to experience it than in its home-town. The eponymous visitor centre offers guests an up-close look at the world-leading glassblowers, tours, a café and a shop, too.
Address: 28 The Mall, Waterford
1. King of the Vikings – the ultimate experience
If you truly care to be blown away, here is the top thing to do and see in Waterford. King of the Vikings is a one-of-a-kind virtual reality experience which pulls visitors into the world of Vikings in Ireland’s oldest city.
The experience lasts 30 minutes, and only ten visitors are allowed on each one – booking is advised.
Address: 10 Bailey’s New St, Waterford, X91 A0PF