Week Long Trip to Waterford
Explore your Irish Roots
If you have ever wanted to learn more about your Irish ancestry, a useful starting point is the Local History Room in the Central Library, Lady Lane. While they won’t do the digging for you, they will point you in the right direction. The Waterford Heritage Service can also be of assistance.
Visit County Waterford
Explore the Comeragh Mountains
There are a number of walks in the Comeragh Mountains of varying degrees of difficulties or if you would like to take the difficulty out of planning a walk, there are a number of different companies that offer guided mountain walks. Muddy Boots offers guided walks tailored to individual needs and requests. Mountain Zone provides family friendly camping and mountain adventure. Prices include transport from Waterford City, equipment and meals. For those with a real interest in walking, the annual Nire Valley Walking Festival may be of interest. This a nnual walking festival in the scenic Nire Valley offers a weekend of spectacular walking, great talking and a feast of traditional music, singing and dancing in the Nire Valley. Around the Comeraghs there are a number of open forest and picnic sites.
For more information on walking in Ireland, visit Discover Ireland Coillte Outdoors . website or
Dungarvan is a thriving market town and medieval port. The chief points of interest in Dungarvan are King John’s Norman Castle, Waterford County Museum and the Old Market Arts Centre. For the more active there is rallying, paint balling or sea angling and diving charters to view the wrecks off the coast.
Lismore Heritage Town is one of the most historic towns in Waterford. The chief points of interest are Lismore Castle and St Carthages Cathedral. Other attractions for visitors include the Lismore Heritage Centre and the historic walking tours. Lismore Castle has been the Irish home of the Dukes of Devonshire since 1753 and is one of the most spectacular castles in Ireland. Situated in a panoramic position overlooking the Blackwater Valley it has views over rolling, wooded hills to the Knockmealdown Mountains beyond. While the castle itself is not open to the public, the beautiful castle gardens can be visited. While in Lismore, take the time to visit Ballysaggartmore Towers which were built in 1850 by Arthur Kiely-Usher as a present for his wife, but the gates were the only part of the castle to be finished as they ran out of money after their completion.
The seaside village of Ardmore was originally a 5 th Century monastic site founded by St Declan, a monk who preceded St Patrick in bringing Christianity to Ireland. Ardmore is famous for its 12 th Century Round Tower which is one of the finest examples of this structure in Ireland. While in Ardmore a visit to the Ardmore Pottery & Craft Gallery is worthwhile.
Covering 32acres, Fenor Bog is located in one of the smallest villages in County Waterford under the Ballyscanlon Hills. Designated as Waterford’s first national nature reserve in 2004, it is rich in flora and fauna and is the unique habitat of many rare plants, birds and butterflies. A raised walkway through the bog and picnic area makes it a relaxing trip for families as well as wildlife enthusiasts. Close by to Fenor Bog is the Copper Coast Mini Farm which has a picnic area and tea rooms.
Ring or An Rinn in Irish is a scenic Gaeltacht area south of Dungarvan where Irish (Gaeilge) is the first language of the people. Along with its cultural uniqueness, Ring has some beautiful scenery.
Enjoy the gardens of Waterford City and County, such as Mount Congreve (run by Ambrose Congreve 103 years old and going strong) open to the public on Thursdays, which is one of the finest gardens in the world. Or why not take a spin up to Lismore to the 'Camelot' type setting and wander through the beautiful castle gardens.
Visit the Other Counties of the South East
To the east of Waterford in County Wexford there are also a number of attractions which are well worth a day trip and are only a short trip from Waterford City. In the town of New Ross which is about 25km from Waterford City is the Dunbrody Famine Ship which is a replica of a 19 th Century three masted sailing ship that brought emigrants from Ireland to America during and after the great famine. A visit to the Dunbrody includes an audio visual presentation and an opportunity to experience what life on board was like for the emigrants who travelled to America.
Just 12km south of New Ross is the John F Kennedy ArboretumDubrody Abbey which was founded in 1170 and is one of the finest examples of a Cistercian Monastery in Ireland. Attractions include the Abbey, the Maze with Pitch & Putt, Craft Shop and Tea Room. If you are returning to Waterford City at this point consider continuing your journey on the Passage East Car Ferry which will take you from Ballhack, Co Wexford back to Passage East, Co Waterford. Alternatively, you can continue onto Hook Lighthouse which is 38km from New Ross. Hook Lighthouse is a 13 th Century Norman structure, built by the Earl of Pembroke. It is possible to climb the 115 steps to the top to enjoy the beautiful views of the Wexford coastline or see if you can spot any whales or dolphins. There is a Family Garden play area, café and gift shop at the Hook Lighthouse. Close by is Duncannon Fort which is a star shaped fortress which was built in 1588 to defend against an attack by the Spanish armada. The fort is surrounded by a 30ft high dry moat and has one of the oldest lighthouses of its kind in Ireland. The fort also has a children’s museum, art gallery, craft shop and café. which covers 252 hectares and is dedicated to the memory of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, President of the United States from 1960 to 1963. The Arboretum contains a plant collection of international standing. There is also a visitor centre and tea rooms. Just 5km along the road is
Carlow is a charming inland county steeped in historical and archaeological artefacts from pagan sites such as the Brownshill Dolmen to ecclesiastical settlements at St Mullins and Clonmore. Carlow has a well developed Garden Trail including those at Duckett’s Grove and Altamont.
Kilkenny is small and compact and it is easy to explore its winding streets by foot. One of the main attractions in Kilkenny is the 12 th Century Norman Castle which has been fully restored. The castle is set in extensive parklands and other attractions include an art gallery, book shop and playground. Close by is St Canice’s Cathedral and Round Tower which are a reminder of Kilkenny’s rich medieval past
Around Kilkenny there are many beautiful villages and attractions to explore at your leisure. Of particular interest are Kells Priory, Woodstock Estate, Dunmore Caves and Castlecomer Demesne and Discovery Park.
Within Tipperary there are a number of visitor attractions which will make a day trip worthwhile starting with the rather unique Rock of Cashel which was once the seat of the High Kings of Munster. Other towns in Tipperary have attractions of architectural and historical interest include Cahir Castle, the Governor’s House in Nenagh, Roscrea Castle and Damer House in Roscrea Heritage Town, the Mitchelstown Caves, Ormonde Castle in Carrick-on-Suir and Holy Cross Abbey. For sporting fans, the Lar na Pairce Museum tells the story of Ireland’s Gaelic Games.
If you’re feeling adventurous and looking for something to do, check out our Sporting Amenities section. Alternatively, if you are looking to enjoy yourself at a more relaxing pace, why not visit some of the beautiful Houses & Gardens in the County. And if you’re tired of walking, consider one of the many scenic drives you can easily take within the South East.