When you hear the name Waterford, what most often comes to mind is Waterford Crystal. When it comes to County Waterford, Ireland, the world-famous name is indeed a reason to visit, but there is so much more to see in this area on the southeast coast of the Emerald Isle. Here are four spots where you can find out just how friendly the Irish can be.
Waterford Crystal Factory Tour
Waterford Crystal is known throughout the world as a premiere brand. It's used for famous occasions, well known trophies and glassware for royalty. You can see first-hand how the crystal gets made in a tour that takes visitors through every phase of the process, including watching master craftsmen put cuts in to the pieces that make for unique designs. When you're done, there is a showroom on hand to buy your own souvenir. Don't worry about having it break in your luggage; you can arrange to have them ship it home.
The Viking Triangle
Waterford City is the oldest city in Ireland, founded by the Vikings in 914 A.D. The central part of the city is known as The Viking Triangle, featuring small, windy streets paved with cobblestone that give a classic old, European feel, lined with shops and restaurants. If you want to learn more about the history of the area, check out what are known as the Waterford Treasures. The historic trio includes the Bishops Palace dating to the 18th century, the Medieval Museum and Reginalds Tower, built in the 12th century and the only Irish monument named after a Viking.
The most popular design of Waterford Crystal is the Lismore design, named after the windows found in Lismore Castle, located just a short drive west from the city of Waterford. The interior of Lismore Castle is not open to the public, but there is an art gallery and gardens open during the summer months. The grounds surrounding the castle are also the perfect place for a picnic. Stop in the town of Lismore to check out shops and restaurants or the Lismore Heritage Centre, where you can learn more about the history of the area.
For the classic small Irish village feel, stop by Cappoquin, just a few miles along a scenic drive from Lismore. Meet the friendly locals by stopping in at one of the pubs or Barrons Bakery & Coffee Shop where the brick ovens have been working since 1887 and are still producing delicious crusty bread.
County Waterford is rightly famous for its crystal, but there are many other parts of this classically Irish area that makes it one of the jewels of the Emerald Isle.
What is your favorite area of Ireland to visit?