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Located in the south of the Republic of Ireland, County Waterford is home to approximately 127,085 people, with nearly 54,000 of those residents living in the county's namesake, Waterford.[2] Waterford is considered to be the oldest city in Ireland, as well as the "only Irish city to retain its Viking name," which is Veðrafjǫrðr. As such, many attractions, activities, and other features in the region are based on the history that the land and people have experienced in prior centuries.[5] Apart from Waterford City itself, there are a relatively small number of populous cities in the area. Tramore and Dungarvan each contain roughly 10,000 people, and every other town in the county is home to less than 2,000 residents. Additionally, County Waterford as a whole is sometimes known locally as "The Déise," in honor of an Irish tribe (the Déisi) that inhabited the surrounding landscape between the 4th and 8th centuries.[2] Temperatures in County Waterford can range anywhere from 4 degrees to 18 degrees Celsius in a given year, on average. October is the destination's rainiest month, while May is the driest. For warm weather activities, people are recommended to visit anytime between June and September.[6]

What Waterford is known for

Considering the city of Waterford's status as the oldest city in Ireland, many of the attractions that can be found in the surrounding area are closely linked to the history the region has experienced. The Irish Museum of Time, the Irish Silver Museum, the Tomb of Edmund Rice, and the John Condon Memorial are all located within Waterford City limits. The foremost attraction (the Irish Museum of Time) was once a Gothic-style church, though it has since been refurbished to showcase "the finest collection of Irish timepieces in the world."[4]

A number of people visit County Waterford to experience the outdoor activities that are accessible. Waterford Greenway Cycle Tours, in Dungarvan, offers guided tours and shuttle services.[3] Alternatively, visitors can take a trip to one of the two primary mountain ranges found within the county: the Knockmealdown Mountains and the Comeragh Mountains.

As the county's namesake, Waterford City is the fifth-largest city in Ireland. Other notable communities include those of Tramore and Dungarvan, though an assortment of smaller villages is spread throughout the county's 1,857 square kilometers of land area. More specifically, Waterford and the two aforementioned cities are the only places in County Waterford to contain more than 2,000 residents—although Dunmore East and Portlaw are close, at populations of 1,808 and 1,742, respectively.[2]

In modern times, Waterford City has become more known for one of its local enterprises, Waterford Crystal, which stands as "a legacy of the city's former glassmaking industry." The words "glass" and "crystal" became synonymous in the region as a result of the company's success, though it was eventually shut down in 2009 following the receivership of Waterford Wedgwood plc. Today, tourists and others are still able to visit the Waterford Crystal visitor centre in the Viking Quarter, where production has been reinstated since 2010 following new ownership.[1]


County Waterford is positioned in the southernmost reaches of the Republic of Ireland, with only Counties Cork and Kerry containing sections that extend further into the Celtic Sea (or Muir Cheilteach). Waterford's general topography is similar to many of the other counties in the nation, though the eastern region is noticeably flatter than the majority of the country. To the west, however, can be found a number of mountains and more prominent hills. Some of the tallest peaks include those of Knockanaffrin and Knockmealdown. Sharing its borders with County Cork to the west and Counties Tipperary and Kilkenny to the north, County Waterford is the 20th-largest denomination in the Republic of Ireland in terms of both land size and population.[2]

As its status as county namesake would suggest, the city of Waterford is the largest metropolitan area in the immediate area and is, in fact, the fifth-largest city in Ireland as a whole.[1] The N29 and N25 roads encompass the town from the northeast to the west, with the N25 stretching all the way to the county's western border with County Cork, crossing the Colligan River and River Blackwater along the way. The upper regions of County Waterford are not accessible through these main avenues, though smaller networks dot the countryside and provide access to the area's more mountainous sections.

Summer months in the zone are classified as being from June to September of each year. June, in particular, is, on average, the month that experiences the least amount of rainy days annually. Despite this, May is the driest month, clocking in at typical rainfall quantities of 67 mm. This is nearly half of the average rainfall that takes place in October (113 mm), which is reported to be the rainiest month in County Waterford. Temperatures in the destination follow standard trends within the Northern Hemisphere, evidenced by July and August being the warmest, as well as January and February being the coldest. Average temperatures tend to fluctuate anywhere from 4 degrees to 18 degrees Celsius throughout the year.[6]

Containing a diversity in biomes and habitats, County Waterford is home to species such as native red squirrels and the foreign-introduced American grey squirrel. Japanese knotweed, ragwort, and coloured wood anemones are examples of flora that can be found in the area. Eels are present in the county's rivers, though populations have been reportedly declining in recent years. Other forms of aquatic life include whales, which are visible from the county's southern coast. There are varying conditions that affect the likelihood of spotting whales, so Waterford Council officials recommend "calm day[s] with good visibility. A telescope or binoculars are essential as the animals are usually over a mile offshore."[7]


Waterford City is somewhat of a historical landmark for the country of Ireland, given that it is reported to be the nation's "oldest city" and "the only Irish city to retain its Viking name." This referenced Norse name, Veðrafjǫrðr, is thought to mean either "Windy Fjord" or "Fjord of the Castrated Rams." Even local residents admit that neither translation is particularly "attractive," and a few have joked that the city should formally recognize "Winter Haven" as the word's translation "in a move to tap into" the popularity of television shows such as Game of Thrones and Vikings.[5]

County Waterford as a whole is colloquially referred to as "The Déise," which is pronounced as "day-shih." Origins of this name can be traced back to an early Irish tribe that inhabited the area, known as the Déisi. Additionally, like many other counties in Ireland, Waterford is home to multiple megalithic tombs and ogham stones. This is mixed with Viking influences such as Reginald's Tower and Woodstown, the latter of which was the "largest settlement outside Scandinavia" as well as "the only large-scale 9th-century Viking settlement discovered to date in Western Europe."[2]

The aforementioned city of Waterford became the county seat and subsequent namesake of the region in part due to its age. Viking raiders first entered the area in 853 A.D., though they were pushed back and did not make a formal return until 914 A.D. Ottir Iarla (Jarl Ottar) and subsequent Viking leaders built what ultimately became Ireland's first city. Approximately 1,000 years later, the city would be known for industries such as glass making and shipbuilding, as well as being one of the scenes of fighting between Irish Republican and Irish Free State peoples in the Irish Civil War.[1]