By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises
Waterford is the oldest city in Ireland.
The modern city still has an old-timey feel–not from the Viking era but more from Georgian and Victorian influence. Once again we were met with a sunny day, not all that common around here:
Silver Wind framed by a replica of a Viking ship.
In the heart of the shopping district of town is a small square with a mirrored open roof. I found the reflection of a pub in the mirror; I can only imagine what it must look like to one of the patrons exiting after a night of imbibing.
The Vikings came here in 853 but native Irish were already here, and drove them away.
But they came back and in 914 established a Viking settlement at a riverside location they named Vadrafjord, meaning either “ram fjord” or “windy fjord” in Old Norse.
Three museums in the Viking Triangle district of the town are collectively known ad the Waterford Treasures.
The Medieval Museum includes the Cloth of Gold vestments which were lost for hundreds of years after they were hidden from Cromwell’s army.
The Bishop’s Palace, within a magnificent Georgian home, is well-decorated in 18th century style. It showcases what is said to be the oldest surviving piece of Waterford Crystal, the Penrose Decanter, dating from 1789, as well as the Napoleon Mourning Cross, the only one to survive out of twelve that were made on his death.
The Treasures of Viking Waterford are within Reginald’s Tower, named after the Viking leader who founded Waterford in 914. There you will find a 9th century sword and weapons from a Viking warrior’s grave and a spectacular 12th century gold kite brooch.
THE CRYSTAL CITY
Today the place is probably best known for high-quality Waterford crystal, although the old factory is more of a gift shop with crafts demonstrations.
All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.