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Waterford is a city in the south-east of Ireland, famous for the Waterford Crystal glass that has been manufactured in the city since 1783. Examples of the uses of this particularly fine form of crystal include the chandeliers hanging in Westminster Abbey and the New Year’s Eve ball that descends every 31 December in Times Square, New York.
There’s much more to Waterford than simply the crystal, however. The city itself is the oldest in Ireland and one of the oldest in the whole of Europe, having been established by Viking settlers as long ago as 853. This rich history is apparent on the streets themselves, particularly in the old Viking Quarter of the town, which still boasts many fine examples of medieval architecture and the kind of narrow, winding streets that create a sense of calm and tranquillity.
Accommodation of every kind is on offer in Waterford, from bed and breakfasts and guesthouses to luxury boutique establishments. By far the most numerous, however, are the three star hotels dotted around the centre of the city, offering everything from views out over the River Suir to spa treats and the simple but comfortable rooms offered by established national chains.
The centre of Waterford itself is relatively small, albeit packed with attractions, and can easily be explored on foot. A three star hotel in the area around Grattan Quay will be perfectly placed to explore both the history of the city and its modern day cultural offering.
Despite its rich history, Waterford is a vibrantly modern city and the centre is packed with venues offering a varied taste of that Irish tradition – a great night out. Music fans should head for The Kazbar on John Street. A resident musician plays live acoustic sets every Monday and Wednesday night and, at the weekend, a DJ blasts out more modern tunes until the early hours.
Those seeking something a little gentler should check out the Phil Grimes pub on Johnstown in the Viking Triangle. This is one of the oldest pubs in the city and, as well as a wide range of craft beers and whiskeys, it offers regular live bands and, in an upstairs room, candlelit sessions for singer-songwriters, poets and storytellers
Both the Theatre Royal on the Mall and the Garter Lane Arts Centre on O’Connell Street, offer a year-round range of theatrical events. The Theatre Royal can boast of being Ireland’s oldest theatre while Garter Lane also offers film, a varied music programme and visual arts exhibitions.
Of course, a large part of the appeal of a historic Irish town is the number of historic Irish pubs it will contain, and Waterford is no exception. Venture in virtually any direction from your three star hotel and you’ll find a character-packed establishment that has been providing hospitality for hundreds of years. The most famous include The Reg, next to Reginald’s Tower, Downes, on Thomas Street and The Munster, on Bailey’s New Street.