Things to do in Waterford: Discover Historic Landmarks, Idyllic Trails and More.
Updated On: June 19, 2023
Located in the Southeast of Ireland, Waterford is an idyllic county that is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the south and from west to east by Counties Cork, Tipperary, Kilkenny, and Wexford.
It is renowned for its rich Viking history and strong cultural heritage, making it a unique destination to visit in Ireland. Keep reading this article to discover the best things to do in Waterford and uncover experiences that await you.
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Best Things to Do in Waterford Ireland
From beautiful gardens to magnificent cliffs, we have listed some of the best things to do in Waterford for the ultimate visiting experience, check them out below.
The Waterford Greenway is a spectacular 46 km off-road cycling and walking trail along an old railway line between the city of Waterford and Dungarvan. It is the longest off-road walking and cycling experience in Ireland and offers breathtaking scenery along the way.
The trail takes you through tunnels and across bridges, alongside the river and by the sea, offering views of the Comeragh Mountains, the Copper Coast, and Dungarvan Bay. There are numerous entry and exit points, so you can choose to do the entire Greenway in one go, or split it up into smaller sections.
Mount Congreve Gardens
Mount Congreve Gardens is a renowned horticultural masterpiece located in Waterford, Ireland. It is an expansive private estate covering approximately 70 acres and is considered one of the most impressive gardens in the country.
The gardens are situated on the slopes of the River Suir and boast over 3,000 different plant species, including magnificent rhododendrons, camellias, magnolias, and azaleas. Visitors can explore winding paths that lead through woodlands, formal gardens, and open lawns, all of which are meticulously maintained and burst with vibrant colour throughout the seasons.
Copper Coast Geopark
Copper Coast Geopark is a UNESCO Global Geopark that stretches along the coastline of County Waterford and County Tipperary. It is named after the rich copper mining heritage of the region, which dates back to the 19th century.
The geopark covers an area of approximately 80 square kilometres and showcases a diverse range of geological features, coastal landscapes, and cultural attractions. It is a place where visitors can explore the fascinating geological history of the area, and witness the stunning cliffs, bays, and coves.
Things to do in Waterford in the Rain
On the days when the rain and hail are pelting down, you can still enjoy exploring the county with these interesting things to do in Waterford in the rain.
One of the city’s most famous attractions is the House of Waterford Crystal. Here, you can observe the talents of master craftsmen shaping molten glass into exquisite pieces of Waterford crystal.
The Waterford Treasures is a collection of three museums in the Viking Triangle which tell the 1100-year-old story of Waterford, Ireland’s oldest city. Explore here and immerse yourself into the history and heritage of the region.
This is the oldest urban civic building in Ireland. It has been used as a mint, prison, and military storehouse over the years. Today, it’s a museum showcasing the city’s Viking heritage.
The Bishop’s Palace
The Palace is a Georgian residence that covers Waterford’s history from 1700 to 1970. A particularly special feature of the Bishop’s Palace Museum is the garden to the rear. It’s been restored to its original Georgian layout and is complete with a traditional ‘play temple’.
The Medieval Museum
The Medieval Museum in Waterford, Ireland, is the only museum in Europe that’s built over two National Monuments – the 13th-century Choristers’ Hall and the 15th-century Mayor’s Wine Vault.
Things to do in Ardmore waterford
Ardmore is a small seaside village located in County Waterford and is Ireland’s oldest Christian settlement. It offers visitors a mix of history, natural beauty, and Irish culture. Here are some of the top attractions and activities in and around Ardmore:
Ardmore Round Tower and Cathedral
These are among the best-preserved Irish monastic sites. The round tower dates back to the 12th century and was used as a bell tower and a place of refuge. The nearby cathedral is known for its intricate Romanesque sculptures. Both are open to visitors to explore the rich history of the region.
Ardmore Cliff Walk
The Ardmore Cliff Walk is a scenic coastal trail that offers visitors a stunning opportunity to explore the rugged beauty of the region’s coastline while enjoying breathtaking views of the sea and surrounding landscapes.
The trail begins in the village of Ardmore and follows the cliff edge, winding its way along the coastline for approximately 4 kilometres. It is a well-marked and maintained path that is suitable for walkers of various fitness levels, usually taking around 1.5 to 2 hours to complete.
St Declan’s Well
Along the way of the Ardmore Cliff Walk, you’ll also encounter the ruins of St. Declan’s Well, a significant pilgrimage site associated with the 5th-century saint, Declan of Ardmore. The well is believed to have healing properties, and visitors often stop to leave offerings or take a moment of reflection.
Ardmore Open Farm and Mini Zoo
The Ardmore Open Farm and Mini Zoo is a great place for a family day out in Waterford. The farm allows children to interact with a range of animals, from typical farm animals to more exotic species.
Ardmore Beach is a picturesque sandy beach located in the village of Ardmore. It is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, offering a beautiful stretch of coastline and a tranquil setting for relaxation and recreation.
Ardmore Beach also provides lots of opportunities for a variety of water-based activities, including, snorkelling, kayaking, or paddleboarding to explore the waters and enjoy the coastal views from a different perspective.
Things to do in Dungarvan Waterford
Dungarvan is another vibrant town in County Waterford. It’s known for its picturesque harbour, historical attractions, and its growing reputation as a food destination. Here are some top things to do in Dungarvan.
Dungarvan Castle is a historic 12-th century fortress that stands as a prominent landmark in the region, which once played a significant role in the defence and governance of the region throughout the centuries.
Today, visitors can explore the castle ruins and get a glimpse into its mediaeval past. Interpretive panels and information boards are placed throughout the site, providing historical context and insights into the castle’s significance.
Waterford County Museum
Waterford County Museum is a local history museum located in the city of Dungarvan. It is housed in a former Georgian townhouse, which adds to the historical ambience of the exhibits.
The museum features a variety of artefacts, photographs, documents, and interactive displays that highlight different aspects of Waterford’s history, including archaeology, industry, social history, and the arts.
Visitors are welcome to observe the many collections and exhibits, delving into the region’s past and gaining a greater understanding of the people, industries, and events that have shaped this vibrant county.
Dungarvan Bay is a picturesque coastal inlet and is well known for its natural beauty, diverse marine life, and recreational opportunities. The bay is also a popular destination for boating and yachting, with several marinas and harbours nearby.
Water sports enthusiasts can enjoy sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, and paddleboarding in the bay’s calm waters. The bay’s sheltered nature makes it an ideal location for beginners and experienced water sports enthusiasts alike.
Whether you’re interested in marine activities, birdwatching, coastal walks, or simply appreciating the scenic views, Dungarvan Bay offers a delightful experience for visitors seeking a coastal escape in County Waterford.
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