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The city of Waterford in the south-east of Ireland is the oldest in the country, having been settled by the Vikings in 853. Although this first settlement was small, its impact was huge, laying the foundations for the vibrant, cosmopolitan shipping port and cultural hot spot that now draws over 300,000 visitors per year.
The city centre as it was when the Vikings were running things is still very much intact in what is known as the Viking Triangle district of Waterford. Here you’ll find surviving medieval architecture as well as a trio of museums within walking distance of each other which tell the story of Waterford over the past 1,000 years.
The many hotels located in the centre of Waterford, often clustered around the picturesque sweep of the River Suir, are perfectly placed to take advantage of everything it has to offer. This means being within walking distance of the historical pubs of the Viking Triangle, the shops and markets of the Merchants Quarter and the wide open spaces of the People’s Park.
The variety within the hotels in Waterford is such that they are able to meet all needs, from three star comfort to five star luxury and basic hostelry. Whether you’re a student backpacker looking for somewhere to crash, a romantic couple seeking a room with a river view or a family looking for fun and a friendly bed and breakfast, you’ll be able to find it.
The geographical location of Waterford has led to it being dubbed the gateway to the south-east, such is the access it provides to some of the most stunning scenery in Ireland. Travelling in one direction, this means reaching the coast and a selection of up to 49 beautiful beaches, and travelling inland it means the chance to explore places like the village of Lismore and attractions such as Lismore Castle.
The historic village of Lismore is situated south of Waterford and can be reached by travelling along the N25 and N72. It takes approximately an hour to reach the village. The castle dominates the skyline from a hill overlooking the village.
There has been an abbey and castle on the sight of Lismore Castle since 1158, but the building as it exists today – in the form of a Gothic style fortress – was gradually commissioned and created by the 6th Duke of Devonshire in the years leading up to 1858. Today, large sections of the castle are available for rent as a private residence, but many parts of the building and its grounds are open to the public.
In 2005, the then derelict west wing of the castle was renovated and opened as Lismore Castle Arts, a gallery dedicated to showing contemporary art from around the world in a setting that is simultaneously ultra-modern and historically significant.
The gardens around the castle are open to the public every day between March and September. Access includes the beautiful gardens themselves, the permanent sculpture collection and stunning views of the castle and surrounding countryside.