Things to Do in Waterford
Waterford Crystal, the prestigious brand behind New York City’s Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball and the chandeliers at Westminster Abbey, was founded back in 1783. These days, the public can visit the main crystal factory complex to observe skilled craftsmen blowing the molten crystal or browse a collection of dazzling crystal pieces.
The Waterford Treasures Medieval Museum is one of three museums that make up the Viking Triangle in Waterford, Ireland. It is Ireland’s only purpose-built medieval museum and features two medieval chambers: the 13th century Choristers’ Hall and the 15th century Mayor’s Wine Vault. The latter is the oldest wine vault in Ireland, built around 1440.
Visitors to the Medieval Museum have the opportunity to see an impressive collection of historical treasures, including the Relic of the True Cross, acquired by Pope Paschal II during the First Crusade, and King Henry VIII’s Cap of Maintenance, the only piece of the king’s wardrobe to survive anywhere in the world. Also on display are the Great Charter Roll of Waterford from the 14th century, the Sword of King Edward IV, the Cloth of Gold Vestments from the 15th century, the Great Parchment Book of Waterford, which contains city records from 1356 to 1649, and the Luker Chalice, the oldest Waterford chalice in existence.
Wayfaring Norse invaders first arrived in Ireland in the eighth century, and while they looted, enslaved and caused quite a bit of destruction, these early Vikings also founded several Irish towns, including Waterford. Established in 914, Waterford is Ireland’s oldest city, and its cultural and historic center — once surrounded by Viking walls — is today known as the Viking Triangle.
One of the Triangle’s most fascinating landmarks is Reginald’s Tower, a twelfth century building that now houses one of the three Waterford Treasures Museums. It is also the only monument in the country to be named after a Viking. Other attractions of note in the Viking Triangle’s narrow streets are the Medieval Museum, Bishop’s Palace and the House of Waterford Crystal.
Imposing and isolated in an expansive Irish field, Loftus Hall is a mansion shrouded in mystery that has stood since the 14th century. With its curious history, the estate has been called ‘the most haunted house in Ireland.’
It is rumored that while a family was watching the home, with the owners on holiday, the house was approached by a young man who arrived from out of town. The man was welcomed indoors by the daughter Anne, who noticed that the man had a cloven foot during a game of cards. It is said that the man exited immediately through the roof, which left a hole in the ceiling that has never fully repaired. It is also said that the girl still haunts the house as a ghost after she fell ill following the visit. But this is just the ghost story…
The home was later converted into a school for girls and convent by the Sisters of Providence, after being abandoned by the Loftus family. The beautiful home maintains its beautifully tiled floors and majestic staircase. Whether or not a ghost inhabits the space is still up to interpretation.