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Vikings founded Waterford in 914 AD, and Ireland's oldest city wears its 1,100 years on its sleeve. Medieval structures stand alongside charming jumbled buildings from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, contrasting with modern development along the quays. The city's treasures are displayed across various museums and you can watch glass-blowing demonstrations at the jewel in its crown, the House of Waterford Crystal. You can take in the rugged beauty of the Copper Coast and the Comeragh mountains too, greeting fellow walkers with the traditional call of "Welllll!"
Immerse yourself in the area's natural beauty by staying in a Waterford hostel with breathtaking mountain views or one surrounded by 30 acres of farmland. You can see the world and protect it at the same time with a stay at an eco-friendly cottage. Lots of hostels in Waterford provide a free breakfast, while others have on-site bars where you can make friends to swap travel tips with. Free Wi-Fi and bed linen are usually available too.
In Waterford city, the Viking Triangle is the historic heart. It's inside the old city walls and contains most of the cultural hotspots. This is the best place to go for nightlife too. The village of Dunmore East is just outside the city, known for its Copper Coast walks and secret coves waiting to be discovered. Little Island, surrounded by the River Suir and King's Channel, is home to Waterford Castle and its rich, wild grounds.
Waterford county's dramatic coast and rolling mountains make it a thrilling place for walking and cycling. Beginner and intermediate surfers will be happy with the waves and you can take lessons too. Climb the spiral steps of 13th-century Reginald's Tower for panoramic views and to see treasures from as early as 950 AD. If you're visiting in August, you might catch the three-day Spraoi Festival (spraoi means "fun" in Gaelic), a whirlwind of colour, music and street performances. Waterford's culinary scene should be on any foodie's list too: some of Ireland's most famous restaurants are here.
If you're travelling from elsewhere in Ireland, it's easiest to go by train. Plunkett Station is the main railway hub and it's just a 15-minute walk from the Viking Triangle. Both Cork and Dublin Airports are just under 3 hours away by bus. You can travel around the county by bus to explore the towns, villages and beaches, and Waterford city itself is easy to navigate on foot.