The history of Waterford, a city in the south-east of Ireland, is closely linked to the wider history of the country itself, since it is widely believed to be the oldest city in the country. The location of Waterford, on the banks of the River Suir, was originally a settlement created by the Vikings in 853. The force of this foreign invasion was such that it still reverberates today, particularly in the architecture and history of the district of the city known as the Viking Triangle.
In this part of Waterford you’ll find medieval structures such as Reginald’s Tower as well as the remains of the original city wall, in the midst of archetypal medieval streets constructed along a narrow, winding template.
The Development of Waterford
As the years passed, Waterford grew, eventually becoming an important location for the import and export of a wide range of products. The presence of a deepwater port along the Suir, as well as the relative proximity of mainland Europe, helped fuel this growth and led to the development of the major conurbation that is modern Waterford.
Accommodation in Waterford
The growth of Waterford led to an architecturally and culturally diverse city centre, with Georgian buildings such as Christ Church Cathedral going up alongside their medieval counterparts before eventually being joined by modern structures such as the Medieval Museum. This growth, and the fact that Waterford is regarded as a gateway to the south-east of Ireland, has cemented its reputation as a magnet for tourists, and this, in turn, has led to the development of a wide-ranging accommodation offer.
The hotels, inns and guesthouses in Waterford range from small family-run affairs to large, gleaming five star establishments, and from contemporary boutique hotels in the centre of the city to classic country house piles on the outskirts. Book the right place, close to the banks of the river and the long stretch of the quay, and you’ll be just a short walk away from everything Waterford has to offer, whether that’s fascinating historical buildings, live music venues or some of the oldest and best pubs in Ireland.
One of the pleasures of staying in a hotel in the centre of a place like Waterford is that you are ideally placed to go out exploring on your own terms, turning away from the standard tourist trail and stumbling across hidden gems such as St Patrick’s Church
Finding St. Patrick’s Church
From the outside, St. Patrick’s is a fairly austere building with none of the excesses usually associated with places of worship. It would therefore be very easy to miss if you didn’t know it was there. It is located on Chapel Lane, just off Little Patrick Street, around the corner from the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity. The historical importance of the church is that it is a very rare example of an 18th century Catholic chapel, with records showing that Mass was being celebrated there as early as 1704.
The interior of the building is a single room with a horseshoe-shaped gallery above it. The fact that it is somewhat hidden away and secluded simply adds to its charm. Once you’ve discovered it, you’ll want to spend at least a short while there, soaking up a tranquil atmosphere far removed from the busy city to be found just outside its doors.