Founded in 914 AD by the Vikings, today Waterford has a busy pedestrian shopping area that has several landmarks including Reginald's Tower said to be Europe's oldest stone mortared tower dating back to the 12 century. The tower has been a number of things including a fort, a storehouse, a prison, a residence for the chief constable and today a museum open to the public.
Walking around Waterford you can see that the current economic downturn has also affected local businesses which were filled with lookers but not many buyers. But when business is bad the pubs seems to do well.
An interesting nearby visit is Waterford Castle, situated on a 310 acre private island. Reached by a short ferry crossing, The castle is situated along with a 18-hole golf course and clubhouse surrounded by rolling acres of woods and gardens. .The 500-year old Castle is a four-star hotel with several dining areas and 19 bedrooms and suites. It was taken over by singer Michael Jackson when he was performing in Ireland.
One of the most popular attractions in Waterford is the Waterford Crystal factory tour. The company which survived bankruptcy a couple of years ago is once again manufacturing right in the heart of Waterford. The fascinating tour follows the production of this legendary crystal from the creations of wood molds to the glass blowing by hand, the cutting, polishing and all the myriad of steps to create these wonderful and costly works of art. While I was there they were making a crystal basketball for an NBA award and the glass cutter handed the unfinished ball to my son explaining that he was holding the ball before Michael Jordan. Just don't try and shoot it!
In watching all the hands and time that goes into making a piece of Waterford crystal it is easy to understand why it is considered to be one of the great collectibles made in Ireland. For more visit: