Hi Everyone. I hope I find you all well. So after last week’s trip to County Kilkenny we’re heading over the border to neighboring County Waterford. Waterford is famous for it’s Viking history and is home to Woodstown, a 9th century Viking settlement which was the largest outside of Scandinavia. It also boasts a stunning coastline with over 30 beaches in Ireland’s sunny south-east.
County Waterford’s Hidden Gems
1. Ardmore Monastic Site
These stunning ruins sit high on a hilltop overlooking the village of Ardmore. The monastery was founded in the 5th century by St. Declan and are Ireland’s oldest surviving ruins of a christian settlement. The 30 foot round tower is the most striking feature of the settlement while the roofless 12th century cathedral features some incredible stone carvings of biblical scenes. There are also 2 Ogham stones inside featuring Ireland’s oldest form of writing.
2. Trawnamore Cove
Trawnamore Cove is part of County Waterford’s 25km long Copper Coast. The Copper Coast takes it’s name from the 19th century copper mining tradition in the area. In 2015 it was designated as a UNESCO Global Geopark. It is a unique natural history of the deserts, ice sheets and volcanoes that created these stunning rock formations. If you’re lucky enough to catch a sunset here, you will be treated to the awesome sight of the cliffs glistening in a warm orange glow.
3. Dunhill Castle
Dunhill Castle dates back to the 12th century and was built by the Le Poer family. Although it is now in ruins, it perches high above the Anne Valley and looks magnificent from a distance. The Anne Valley Nature and Wildlife walking trail takes in the castle and commands stunning views of the valley below.
4. The Viking Triangle
Our next stop on our tour of County Waterford takes us to the heart of the city. Waterford is Ireland’s oldest city dating back to 914 AD when Viking invaders first arrived on Irish shores. The name itself goes back 1000 years too, from the Norse meaning “windy fjord”. At Reginald’s Tower (pictured above), you can see a host of Viking artifacts before heading to see a wealth of treasures at The Medieval Museum and The Bishop’s Palace Museum.
5. Mount Congreve House & Gardens
I’m going to end in the peace and tranquility of a garden and wow-what a garden! Mount Congreve House dates back to 1760 and was built by John Roberts, a local architect. The design of the gardens takes inspiration from Lionel de Rothschild’s stunning garden at Exbury in Hampshire, England. Mount Congreve Gardens feature 70 acres of woodland garden, a 4 acre walled garden and 16 kilometers of paths to wander along and enjoy this beautiful place. It boasts the largest plant collection on Ireland and is one of “the great gardens of the world”
Thanks so much for joining me on my Irish virtual tour. Do drop by next week when we’ll be heading to the awesome County Cork.
Take care of yourselves and each other,
Slán go fóill!