Port Láirge
From top, left to right: Waterford Marina, Holy Trinity Cathedral, Reginald's Tower, a piece of Waterford Crystal, Waterford City by night.


Coat of arms
Motto: Urbs Intacta Manet Waterfordia  (Latin)
"Waterford remains the untaken city"
Waterford is located in Ireland
Coordinates: 52°15′24″N 7°7′45″W / 52.25667°N 7.12917°W / 52.25667; -7.12917Coordinates: 52°15′24″N 7°7′45″W / 52.25667°N 7.12917°W / 52.25667; -7.12917
Country Ireland
Province Munster
County Waterford
Founded 914 A.D.
 - Type City Council
 - Mayor Pat Hayes
 - LEAs 3
 - Dáil Éireann Waterford
 - European Parliament South
 - City 41.58 km2 (16.1 sq mi)
Population (2006)
 - City 45,748
 Urban 49,213
Time zone WET (UTC0)
 - Summer (DST) IST (UTC+1)
Area code(s) 051
Car plates W
Website www.waterfordcity.ie

Waterford (from Old Norse: Veðrafjǫrðr/Vedrafjord meaning "ram fjord" or "windy fjord"—Irish: Port Láirge meaning "Lárag's port")[1] is a city in the South-East Region of Ireland. It is the oldest city in the country[2] and fifth largest by population. Waterford City Council is the local government authority for the city and its immediate hinterland. The population of the city in 2006 was 49,213; of which 45,748 lived within the city limits, and 3,465 lived in the suburbs in County Kilkenny.[3]


Notable features

The city is situated at the head of Waterford Harbour (Irish: Loch Dá Chaoch or Cuan Phort Láirge).[2] The city motto Urbs Intacta Manet Waterfordia ("Waterford remains the untaken city") was granted by King Henry VII of England in 1497 after Waterford refused to recognise the claims of the pretenders Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck to the English throne.[2] Waterford was subjected to two sieges in 1649 and 1650, during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. It withstood the first siege but surrendered during the second siege to Henry Ireton on 6 August 1650.[4][5]

Reginald's Tower is the oldest urban civic building in Ireland, and the oldest monument to retain its Viking name. To this day, it remains Waterford's most recognisable landmark. It is believed to be the first building in Ireland to use mortar. The River Suir, which flows through Waterford City, has provided a basis for the city's long maritime history. The place downriver from Waterford where the Nore and the Barrow join the River Suir is known in Irish as Cumar na dTrí Uisce ("The confluence of the three waters"). Waterford Port has been one of Ireland's major ports for over a millennium. In the 19th century shipbuilding was a major industry. The owners of the Neptune Shipyard, the Malcomson family, built and operated the largest fleet of iron steamers in the world between the mid-1850s and the late-1860s, including five trans-Atlantic passenger liners.[1]

Today, Waterford is known for Waterford Crystal, a legacy of the city's former glass making industry. Glass, or crystal, was manufactured in the city from 1783 until early 2009, when the factory there was shut down after the receivership of Waterford Wedgwood plc.[6] Waterford is the sister city of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador and Rochester, New York.


Waterford Quay at night.

Viking raiders first established a settlement near Waterford in 853. It and all the other longphorts were vacated in 902, the Vikings having been driven out by the native Irish. The Vikings re-established themselves in Ireland at Waterford in 914, led at first by Ottir Iarla (Jarl Ottar) until 917, and after that by Ragnall ua Ímair and the Uí Ímair dynasty, and built what would be Ireland's first city. A list of the city's rulers from this date to the mayors of the present day can be found in Rulers of Waterford. Among the most prominent kings of Waterford was Ivar of Waterford.

In 1167, Diarmuid MacMorrough, King of Leinster, failed in an attempt to take Waterford. He returned in 1170 with Norman mercenaries under Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke (Strongbow); together they besieged and took Waterford after a desperate defence. This was the introduction of the Anglo-Normans into Ireland. In 1171, Henry II of England landed at Waterford. Waterford and then Dublin were declared royal cities, Dublin was declared capital of Ireland.

Throughout the medieval period, Waterford was Ireland's second city after Dublin. In the 15th century Waterford repelled two pretenders to the English throne: Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck. As a result, King Henry VII gave the city its motto: Urbs Intacta Manet Waterfordia (Waterford remains the untaken city).

After the Protestant Reformation, Waterford remained a Catholic city and participated in the confederation of Kilkenny – an independent Catholic government from 1642 to 1649. This was ended abruptly by Oliver Cromwell, who brought the country back under English rule; his nephew Henry Ireton finally took Waterford in 1650 after a major siege.[4]

The 18th century was a period of huge prosperity for Waterford. Most of the city's best architecture appeared during this time. In the 19th century, great industries such as glass making and ship building thrived in the city.

In the early 19th century, Waterford City was deemed vulnerable and the British government erected three Martello towers on the Hook Peninsula to reinforce the existing Fort at Duncannon.

The city was represented in the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1891 to 1918 by John Redmond MP, leader (from January 1900) of the Irish Parliamentary Party. Redmond, then leader of the pro-Parnell faction of the party, defeated David Sheehy in 1891. In 1911, Br. Jerome Foley, Br. Dunstan Drumm and Br. Leopold Loughran left Waterford for Malvern, Australia. Here, they founded a Catholic college which is still in existence today.[13] In July 1922, Waterford was the scene of fighting between Irish Free State and Irish Republican troops during the Irish Civil War.

Local government

Per the Local Government Act 2001, Waterford City Council is a tier 1 entity of local government with the same status in law as a County council. The Council has 15 representatives (councillors) who are elected from one of three electoral areas. Residents in these areas are restricted to voting for candidates located in their ward for local elections. The office of the Mayor of Waterford was established 1377. A mayor is then elected by the councillors every year, and there is no limit to the number of terms an individual may serve. Mary O'Halloran who was mayor during 2007–2008 was the first woman to hold the post. The current mayor is Pat Hayes.

For the purposes of elections to Dáil Éireann, the city is part of the Waterford constituency, which includes the county of Waterford except for those parts of the county that lie in Tipperary South (Dáil Éireann constituency) near Clonmel."[14] The constituency returns four deputies to Dáil Éireann. There are no such ward restrictions for these elections and voters are entitled to vote for any candidate throughout the city and county.


The climate of Waterford is, like the rest of Ireland, classified as a maritime temperate climate (Cfb) according to the Koppen climate classification system. It is mild and changeable with abundant rainfall and a lack of temperature extremes. The counties in the Waterford area are often referred to as the Sunny Southeast. The hottest months of the year are June, July and August with temperatures of around 19 - 21 degrees. Waterford is also one of the cities with the most sunshine in Ireland. Waterford gets rainfall all year round and the wettest months are October, November, December and January.

Climate data for Waterford
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 8
Average low °C (°F) 3
Precipitation mm (inches) 53.4
Source: MSN Weather


Public buildings

A Large Church spire can be seen above and behind a theatre and a deciduous tree with leaves shed.
Christ Church Cathedral
  • Waterford Museum of Treasures, previously in the Granary on Merchant's Quay, is being split up to accommodate two new museums on the Mall area of the city. The first is housed in the 19th-century Bishop's Palace, on the Mall, which holds items from 1700-1970. This was opened in June 2011. The second museum will be located next to Bishop's Palace displaying the Medieval history of the city.[15]
  • Viking Triangle which combines a number of the city's tourist attractions in one place. By 2012, the Mall will contain the two new museums, Reginald's Tower, The House of Waterford Crystal, Christchurch Cathedral, the Theatre Royal, Waterford amongst various other historical landmarks.
  • Reginald's Tower, the oldest urban civic building in the country, is situated on the Quays/The Mall, in Waterford. It has performed numerous functions over the years and today is a civic museum.
  • A new museum at Mount Sion (Barrack Street) is dedicated to the story of Brother Edmund Ignatius Rice and the history of the Christian Brothers and Presentation Brothers. Along with the museum there is a café and a new chapel. The new museum was designed by Janvs Design[16]
  • Waterford Municipal Art Gallery has been housed in Greyfriars since 2001. It is the permanent home for the Municipal Art Collection, "A Gem Among Municipal Collections", over 200 paintings by Irish and International artists, including pieces from renowned artists such as Jack B Yeats, Paul Henry, Charles Lamb and Louis Le Brocquy. Garter Lane Arts Centre is located in two separate restored buildings on O'Connell Street. A new contemporary gallery called Soma opened in 2009 on the Mall.
  • The Theatre Royal[17] on The Mall, was built in 1876, as part of a remodelled section of City Hall. It is a U-shaped, Victorian theatre, seating about 600 people.
  • Garter Lane Arts Centre[18] is housed in two conserved 18th century buildings on O'Connell Street. Garter Lane Gallery, the 18th century townhouse of Samuel Barker contains the gallery and the Bausch & Lomb Dance Studio, and Garter Lane Theatre is based in the beautiful Quaker Meeting House, built in 1792. The theatre was renovated and restored in 2006 and now contains a 164 seat auditorium.


Scotch Quay
  • Theatre companies. There are three theatre companies, Red Kettle, Spraoi and Waterford Youth Arts. Red Kettle[19] is a professional theatre company based in Waterford that regularly performs in Garter Lane Theatre. Spraoi[20] is a street theatre company based in Waterford. It produces the Spraoi festival, and has participated regularly in the Waterford and Dublin St. Patrick's day parades, often winning best float. In January 2005 the company staged its biggest and most prestigious production to date, "Awakening", the Opening Show for Cork 2005 European Capital of Culture. Waterford Youth Arts (WYA),[21] formerly known as Waterford Youth Drama, was established in August 1985. WYA has grown from the voluntary efforts of two individuals and 25 young people, to a fully structured youth arts organisation with a paid staff and 400 young people taking part each week.
  • Libraries There are three public libraries in the city, all operated by Waterford City Council: Central Library, in Lady Lane; Ardkeen Library, in the Ardkeen shopping centre on the Dunmore Road; and Brown's Road Library, on Paddy Brown's Road. Central Library, or Waterford City Library, opened in 1905. It was the first of many Irish libraries funded by businessman Andrew Carnegie (Carnegie funded 2,509 libraries across the world). It was renovated in 2004 for its centenary.
  • Barrack Street Band, a brass band who, in 1994, were All Ireland Senior Military Band Champions and 2004 were South of Ireland Champions.
  • Waterford Film For All (WFFA)[22] is a non-profit film society whose aim is to offer an alternative to the cineplex experience in Waterford. WFFA conducts much of its activities on the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) campus.
  • Cinema - Storm Cinema in the Railway Square complex.[23].


  • Spraoi festival, (pronounced 'Spree')[20] organised by the Spraoi Theatre Company, is a professional festival and street arts organisation which takes over the city centre of Waterford on the August Bank Holiday Weekend. It attracts audiences in excess of 80,000 people to the city.
  • Waterford International Festival of Light Opera[24] is an annual event that has been held in the Theatre Royal since 1959. It has recently been rebranded as the Waterford International Festival of Music and now takes place in November.[25]
  • Tall Ships Festival, held in Waterford in 2005, marked the start of the Tall Ships race of that year. The Suir river provided a perfect berthing location for the numerous tall ships (up to 90) that lined the north and south quays, for almost a week. The festival attracted in the region of 450,000 people to the city in what was the biggest event ever held in Waterford or the south east. Waterford hosted the start of the Tall Ships race again in 2011, with an entirely free festival of music, culture, food and from the 30th June to the 3rd July 2011. Race 1 saw the fleet race to Greenock in Scotland, from Waterford, Ireland.[26]
  • Waterford Harvest Food Festival takes place annually in September along the Quays and in 2010 saw the South Quay closed off to traffic two successive Sundays and a free concert on the Saturday night. The festival offers visitors demonstrations, workshops and tours of local producers, numerous markets, tastings and dinners. Local restaurants design special Festival Menus. A feast for the senses, for all the family.
  • St. Patrick's day Parade takes place annually on the 17th March.
  • There are two Arts Festivals of note in the city; The Imagine Arts Festival[27] in October and The Fringe Arts Festival[28] in September.



Custom House Quay

RTÉ's south eastern studio is located in the City Square shopping centre, in the city. The local correspondents are Damien Tiernan (South East Correspondent) and Helen McInerny (South East Reporter). Waterford Report[29] is a once weekly television programme on City Channel covering local news in Waterford. It is now presented by Mark Staunton. It is available only on cable and mmds from NTL (Channel 107). The programme is repeated twice every day. The service began on 1 November 2006, and broadcasts to homes across Waterford City and County. Previous presenters include: Aoibhin Fallon (WLR FM), Mary O'Neill and Janice Corrigan (Beat 102 103, WLR FM).

Waterford Local Radio (WLR FM) is available on 94.8FM on the Coast, 95.1FM in the County and on 97.5FM in Waterford City WLR FM is Waterford's local radio station. It serves a potential audience of 170,000 people, and 75% of all adults in Waterford tune in weekly. Beat 102-103 is a regional youth radio station broadcasting across the South East of Ireland, it is based at "The Broadcast Centre" in Ardkeen, along with sister station WLR FM. It serves a population of about 450,000, and in August 2006 it had a 49% share of the south east market.


The Munster Express has its office on the Quay in Waterford City and covers stories from across the city and county. It switched to tabloid format in 2011.

The Waterford News & Star is based on Michael Street in Waterford City. It covers Waterford city and county. It is now published in tabloid format.

Waterford Today is an advertising supported free newspaper. It is delivered to most homes in the Waterford city area and is also available in many shops across the east of the county. Its newly refurbished offices are at the Mayors Walk in the city.

The Munster Express, Waterford News and Star and Waterford Today are in the shops on Wednesdays. The Munster Express "Late Edition" comes out on Fridays.

Places of interest

Reginald's Tower
The Quays: "The Three Sisters" mix near the city before flowing into the harbour.

The City of Waterford consists of various cultural quarters, the oldest of which is known as 'the Viking Triangle'. This is the part of the city surrounded by the original 10th century fortifications, which is triangular in shape with its apex at Reginald's Tower. Though this was once the site of a thriving Viking city, the city centre has shifted to the west over the years, and it is now a quiet and tranquil area, dominated by narrow streets, medieval architecture, and civic spaces. Over the past decade, a number of restaurants have opened in High Street and Henrietta Street, taking advantage of the charming character of the area. Much of Waterford's impressive architecture is to be found in 'the Viking Triangle'.

In the 15th century, the city was enlarged with the building of an outer wall on the west side. Today Waterford retains more of its city walls than any other city in Ireland with the exception of Derry, whose walls were built much later. Tours of Waterford's city walls are conducted daily.

Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity on Barronstrand Street.

The Quay, once termed by historian Mark Girouard 'the noblest quay in Europe', is a mile long from Grattan Quay to Adelphi Quay, though Adelphi Quay is now a residential area. It is still a major focal point for Waterford, commercially and socially, and the face that Waterford presents to those traveling into the city from the north. Near Reginald's Tower is the William Vincent Wallace Plaza, a monument and amenity built around the time of the millennium that commemorates the Waterford born composer.

John Roberts Square is a pedestrianised area that is one of the main focal points of Waterford's modern day commercial centre. It was named after the city's most celebrated architect, John Roberts, and was formed from the junction of Barronstrand Street, Broad Street and George's Street. It is often referred to locally as Red Square, due to the red paving that was used when the area was first pedestrianised. A short distance to the east of John Roberts Square is Arundel Square, another square with a fine commercial tradition, which the City Square shopping centre opens onto.

The old Waterford Crystal visitor centre which closed in late 2009. A new centre opened in June 2010.

Ballybricken, in the west, just outside the city walls, is thought to have been Waterford's Irishtown, a type of settlement that often formed outside Irish cities to house the Vikings and Irish that had been expelled during the Norman invasion of Ireland. Ballybricken is an inner city neighbourhood with a long tradition, centred around Ballybricken hill, which was a large, open market-square. Today it has been converted into a green, civic space, but the Bull Post, where livestock was once bought and sold, still stands as a remnant of the hill's past.

The Mall is a fine Georgian thoroughfare, built by the Wide Streets Commission in order to extend the city southwards. It contains some of the city's finest Georgian architecture. The People's Park, Waterford's largest and finest park, is located nearby.

Ferrybank in County Waterford is Waterford's only suburb north of the river. It contains a village centre of its own. Waterford City Council have granted permission for a number of major retail developments in Ferrybank. One has been completed and the second is currently under construction and due to be completed in January 2009.

In April 2003 an important site combining a 5th century Iron Age and 9th century Viking settlement was discovered at Woodstown near the city, which appears to have been a Viking town that predates all such settlements in Ireland.[30]

Waterford Crystal is manufactured in Waterford but in early 2009 the company moved it operations to Europe after denying the workforce their entitlements, some workers lost many thousands in pension rights etc. A new Waterford Crystal visitor centre opened on June 22, 2010. Tours are conducted daily. It is the biggest Waterford Crystal store in the world. While on the tour you can see how the glass is manufactured. The centre is open seven days a week.

Waterford's oldest public house (pub) can be found just outside the old 'Viking Triangle'. T & H Doolans, of 31/32 George's Street, has been officially active and open to the public for over three hundred years. The official record of licences dates back to the eighteenth century but the premises is believed to be closer to five hundred years in age. A main element of the structure includes one of the original city walls, almost 1,000 years old, which can be viewed in the lounge area of the building.


Waterford is connected by rail, bus, road, air and sea. Waterford is connected with Cork, Dublin, Limerick, Rosslare Europort, Wexford and Dungarvan. The M9 motorway was completed on September 9, 2010, connecting Waterford and Dublin.[31] The City has rail connection to Dublin and other towns in the South-East. Bus services operate throughout the city centre and across the region. Waterford Airport is located 9 km outside the city centre.


Waterford Institute of Technology.

The city is served by 21 primary schools[32] and 9 secondary schools.[33]

There is one third level institution in Waterford: Waterford Institute of Technology, which is currently being considered for university status.[34] Waterford College of Further Education previously called the Central Technical Institute (CTI), is a Post Leaving Certificate institute located on Parnell St., Waterford city. It was founded in 1906 and thus celebrated its centenary in 2005.[35] Waterford is the largest population centre and only city in the Republic of Ireland without a National University.

The Quaker co-educational boarding school, Newtown School is situated in Waterford, east of the city centre.

Waterpark College is a secondary school in the city of Waterford, Ireland. The school was established in 1892 on the banks of the River Suir as Waterfords' first classical school, and still provides a secondary education to boys from Waterford City, County and the surrounding area.

De La Salle College is a secondary school in the city of Waterford, Ireland. With more than 1000 students and over 70 staff it is the biggest in the county. It ranks as a highly sought after college within the city Founded by the brothers of the De La Salle in 1892, it now serves as a catholic school for boys. (http://www.delasallewaterford.com)



Waterford United is a team in the League of Ireland First Division. Waterford United's origins are as Waterford Football Club which was formed in 1930 and joined the League of Ireland the same year. The Club which changed its name to United in 1982 played its games in the city's greyhound racing stadium at Kilcohan Park. At the end of the 1992/93 season, the Club were granted the use of the Regional Sports Centre, due to the absence of owning their own pitch. The Club has had mixed fortunes through its history, success peaking in a near decade spell of domination of the domestic game between 1965 and 1973 which led to games being played at European level against teams that included Manchester United and Celtic. The club's last trophy win was the First Division in 2003. Since then Waterford United has bounced between the two League of Ireland divisions changing managers frequently.

Successful Waterford born or raised football players include Jim Beglin, John O'Shea and Daryl Murphy. There is a common misconception that Stephen Hunt was born in Waterford but he was actually born in Co Laois to Waterford parents. He was however raised from a young age in the Rathgormack area of east Waterford along with his brother Noel Hunt.


Mount Sion GAA is a local Gaelic Athletic Association club. Other clubs include: Erin's Own GAA (Waterford), De La Salle, and Ballygunner GAA.


The skate scene in Waterford has grown substantially in the past 15 years. Two skate parks have been built recently, one in Tramore and one in the Peoples Park.


Waterford Boat Club is the oldest active sports club in Waterford established in 1878. Located on Scotch Quay the club has had great success in recent years with several national championships and numerous medals in Europe. Several Waterford rowers have been selected to row for Ireland recently.


  • Poet Seán Dunne was born in Waterford in 1956 and grew up in St John's Park. He attended Mount Sion CBS in Barrack Street and wrote with affection of the city in his memoir "My Father's House".
  • French Poet Laetitia Marie Wyse Bonaparte was born in 1831 in Waterford


Waterford is twinned with the following places:

See also



Additional reading


  1. ^ a b Discover Waterford, by Eamon McEneaney (2001). (ISBN 0-86278-656-8)
  2. ^ a b c http://www.waterfordcity.ie/city/history.htm
  3. ^ Census 2006: Population classified by area – cso.ie
  4. ^ a b A New History of Cromwell's Irish Campaign, by Philip McKeiver (2007). (ISBN 978-0-9554663-0-4)
  5. ^ Discover Waterford, by Eamon McEneaney (2001). (ISBN 0-86278-656-8)
  6. ^ USAtoday.com, but Reopens again in the Viking Quarter of Waterford City in June of 2010 after the intervention of Waterford City Council and Waterford Chamber of Commerce. Also included in the launch of Waterfords Viking Triangle with be the "undercroft" of The Bishops Palace, a Medieval escape route from the City, and the award winning Waterford Museum of Treasures.
  7. ^ For 1653 and 1659 figures from Civil Survey Census of those years, Paper of Mr Hardinge to Royal Irish Academy March 14, 1865.
  8. ^ Census for post 1821 figures.
  9. ^ Histpop.org
  10. ^ NISRA.gov
  11. ^ Lee, JJ (1981). "On the accuracy of the Pre-famine Irish censuses". In Goldstrom, J. M.; Clarkson, L. A.. Irish Population, Economy, and Society: Essays in Honour of the Late K. H. Connell. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press. 
  12. ^ Mokyr, Joel; O Grada, Cormac (November). "New Developments in Irish Population History, 1700–1850". The Economic History Review 37 (4): 473–488. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0289.1984.tb00344.x. http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/120035880/abstract. 
  13. ^ Steve Stefanopolous, St. Joseph's Malvern, 2003. Held by the De La Salle College Malvern Archives
  14. ^ "Electoral (Amendment) Act 2009: Schedule". Irish Statute Book database. http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/2009/en/act/pub/0004/sched.html. Retrieved 29 September 2010. 
  15. ^ Waterford Treasures Official Site
  16. ^ Janvs.com
  17. ^ The Theatre Royal Official Homepage
  18. ^ The Garter Lane Arts Centre Official Homepage
  19. ^ Red Kettle Official Homepage
  20. ^ a b Spraoi Official Homepage
  21. ^ Waterford Youth Arts Official Homepage
  22. ^ WFFA – Waterford Film For All
  23. ^ Storm Cinemas – Waterford
  24. ^ Waterford International Festival Of Light Opera Official Homepage
  25. ^ http://www.waterfordintlmusicfestival.com/
  26. ^ http://www.waterfordtallshipsrace.ie/
  27. ^ http://www.discoverwaterfordcity.ie/events.php?categoryid=imagine
  28. ^ http://www.waterfordfringefestival.com/
  29. ^ Waterford Reports Page on City.ie
  30. ^ 9th Century Settlement found at Woodstown – vikingwaterford.com
  31. ^ http://www.nra.ie/News/PressReleases/htmltext,17283,en.html
  32. ^ Primary Schools in Waterford City- Education Ireland
  33. ^ Secondary Schools in Waterford City- Education Ireland
  34. ^ Waterford Institute Of Technology Official Homepage
  35. ^ Waterford College of Further Education Official Homepage

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