Waterford is known worldwide for its fine lead crystal tradition. We were pleasantly surprised to find this ancient city had so much more to offer.
While wandering the downtown riverfront, famished in the winter gloom, we were pointed to Geoff’s Bar, an atmospheric little pub. The decor was exactly what you would expect and the food did not disappoint. The menu was simple but the food was amazing. They have a large variety of craft beers to enjoy. The staff was top-notch and service was speedy. Though the bar seemed popular for the younger crowd, there were people of all ages enjoying the atmosphere, food, and drinks. We had a friendly chat with two lovely young students, and became Facebook friends straight away, as we learned to say. All in all, a terrific weekday evening.
Waterford Crystal Factory Showroom
We just knew that we had to visit the showroom of the famous crystal factory that shares the city’s name. If you have time, the in-depth tour of the factory takes you through the mudroom, blowing department, handle marking room as well as the cutting, sculpting, and engraving departments. You get to see the crystal being created from beginning to end. Part of the information includes historical role the company has played by employing thousands of locals, many for life. By most accounts, the tour is an informative and comprehensive experience.
As our time was limited, we opted to browse the showroom, which glittered and twinkled from each and every facet. The displays are set to take advantage of the beautiful details. Lest you think prices are out of reach (and some, particularly the chandeliers and special commemoratives, can approach six figures), you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the affordability. We purchased several items to be sent back to the U.S. and the process was easy as pie – I guess they’ve done it a few times. 🙂
Waterford Bed and Breakfasts
It was no trouble selecting a Bed and Breakfast in Waterford as part of our travel package. We’d received a voucher and the reservation process was done online. There are quite a few B&Bs in town you could choose from, whether you’re booking independently or as part of a planned excursion. Most include a traditional Irish breakfast, which we were eager to try. They can help you navigate the town and suggest suitable activities for the type of adventures that you are setting out for. Our room was clean and comfortable, if a bit spartan, and breakfast was served in a lovely morning room with a garden view.
If a lesson in history is what you’re looking for the Waterford Treasures would be a perfect stop. These are three separate museums – Viking, Georgian, and Medieval – located in the historic Waterford Viking Triangle, the cultural and heritage quarter of Waterford within a few hundred feet of each other. You can learn the ancient beginnings of Waterford, Ireland’s oldest city, beginning from when it was founded by Viking pirates in the 10th century. This is a fun and informative stop to make.
The Suir Suspension Bridge
If you’re interested in taking pictures of a notable landmark then you must visit this bridge. It boasts as being the longest cable bridge in all of Ireland. It is also known as a span bridge, which means that it has no supports going into the river. It is supported mainly by the top structure. The drive across is breathtaking, as it suddenly comes into view from the highway. You can stop on either side for some great photo ops.
Tips: Familiarize yourself thoroughly with where your accommodations are once you arrive in Waterford. It’s a bit difficult to navigate your way around town, especially after dark. We found that the independent businesses were not very well lit. B&Bs and other quasi-residential locations do not have street numbers (how does the postman keep them all straight? Part of the charm of Ireland!), and signs are quite small. For directions to your B&B, you may be given GPS coordinates, which didn’t work well with our smartphone app. Tired, hungry and lost in the dark was not our preferred state of mind. Once we were settled in, our host directed us back downtown with recommendations for a bite and a pint, but we went with a chatty young co-pedestrian’s recommendation to Geoff’s Bar, which sounded more like our speed. 🙂