The largest town in the Southeast and Ireland's oldest city, Waterford was founded by the Vikings in the 9th century and was taken over by Strongbow, the Norman invader, with much bloodshed in 1170. The city resisted Cromwell's 1649 attacks, but fell the following year. It did not prosper again until 1783, when George and William Penrose set out to create "plain and cut flint glass, useful and ornamental," and thereby set in motion a glass-manufacturing industry long without equal. View more
The famed glassworks closed after the 2008 financial crisis, but Waterford Crystal has triumphantly risen again from the flames in a smaller, leaner version, opened in 2010 and now relocated to the Mall.
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Discover the oldest city in Ireland during this picturesque, half-day excursion to historic Waterford, the 'Viking City'.
Waterford, National Monuments and Reginald's Tower
Depart the pier for the short drive to Waterford City, which was founded by Vikings about 1,100 years ago. Upon arrival, begin your guided walking tour of the city centre, known as the 'Viking Triangle'. Along the way, proceed for interior and/or exterior visits to six national monuments dating from 1190 to 1783. One of those National Monuments that you will pass by is Reginald's Tower, the strongpoint of the medieval defensive walls that enclosed the city until about 1700.
Greyfriars Franciscan Friary and Medieval Museum
Next, continue past Greyfriars Franciscan friary en route to the Medieval Museum. The eye-catching giant sculpture on the gable was inspired by a tiny, 13th-century belt mount found in Waterford. It is Ireland's only dedicated medieval museum, and the only building on the island to incorporate two medieval chambers; the 13th-century Choristers' Hall and 15th-century Mayor's Wine Vault. A short visit is made inside this modern structure, where you can observe a demonstration of how coins dating back to the Anglo Normans were made. Souvenir coins are provided for each guest.
Your final stop is at the Bishop's Palace, which charts the history of Waterford from 1700 to 1970, and gives a wonderful insight into the history of the city. The museum reveals the legacy of Waterford from 1700 to the 1970s, and contains many items of national and international significance. Included is the only surviving Bonaparte 'mourning cross', one of only 12 produced upon Napoleon Bonaparte's death in 1821. The Bishop's Palace also houses the Penrose Decanter, the oldest surviving piece of Waterford Crystal, which dates back to 1789. Following your visit you will have the opportunity to explore the city independently. Some free time will allow you to perhaps do a little shopping or stop into a local pub. Alternatively you will also have complimentary re-admission to the Bishop's Palace or Medieval Museum should you wish to explore either of these venues a little further. At the conclusion of your tour, re-board your coach and commence the short drive back to the pier.
Please note: This tour involves an extensive amount of walking and standing for approximately three hours, with a few steps to negotiate to get on/off the coach. This tour is not suitable for guests with limited mobility and guests who utilise a wheelchair. Warm, layered clothing, a waterproof jacket or coat, flat, closed-toe walking shoes, an umbrella are recommended. Due to the local climate, most of the coaches are air-cooled. Due to the local climate, most of the coaches are air-cooled.
Discover the medieval city of Waterford City. Long coveted by Ireland's neighbours, the Vikings, Danes, Normans, and Anglo-Saxons have all held sway. The city of Waterford cascades to the banks of the River Suir. The city was founded in AD 850, and today retains its medieval charms as Ireland's oldest city.
Waterford City Centre and the House of Waterford Crystal
Depart Pier with luxury transport and local professional tour guide and enjoy the nice drive into Waterford City Centre. Arrive at the House of Waterford Crystal for a guided tour. This tour gives an up close insight into the centuries old tradition that has produced some of the finest crystal in the world. After the tour, indulge yourself in a lavish retail store, which houses the largest collection of Waterford Crystal found anywhere in the world.
Depart the House of Waterford Crystal and enjoy a wonderful Irish Coffee in Faithlegg House Hotel.
After your refreshment return to the Pier where the ship will be.
Please note: This tour requires a moderate amount of walking. It is suitable for guests who utilise a wheelchair who can embark and disembark the via the coach steps. While appropriate for those with limited mobility, these guests may require additional time at certain elements of the tour. Lightweight, comfortable clothing, a light sweater or jacket, flat, closed-toe walking shoes are recommended. Due to the local climate, most of the coaches are air-cooled. The tour sequence may vary.
Depart Pier for a leisurely ride in the luxury coach for a beautiful scenic drive to the picturesque village of Lismore, County Waterford. Enjoy a lovely walking tour of this historic town. Lismore is one of the oldest towns in Ireland; founded in 636 AD St. Carthage founded a monastery here that became a seat of learning and was known all over Europe.
Stop for tea and delicious homemade scones in Lismore Heritage Centre followed by free time in the town or perhaps join your guides on a short walking tour.Continue to visit Lismore Castle Gardens - the Castle is the Irish home of the Dukes of Devonshire since 1753 and is possibly the most spectacular castle in Ireland. While the Castle is not open to the public you will have the opportunity to visit the beautiful Lismore Gardens.
The Park Hotel
A leisurely 30 minute drive will take you to Dungarvan, home of the Garden Room Restaurant at the Park Hotel. Adored by locals for its freshly cooked food. Enjoy your lunch at this traditionally styled elegant restaurant.
After lunch, transfer to House of Waterford Crystal for a guided tour. This tour gives an up close insight into the centuries old tradition of crystal making. After the tour, indulge yourself with the world's most famous crystal in a lavish retail store, which houses the largest collection of Waterford Crystal found anywhere in the world.
Depart the House of Waterford Crystal and enjoy panoramic city tour. This walled city is of Viking origin and still retains much of its medieval character. The parameters of the 10th-century settlement can be clearly identified in The Viking Triangle which has the most historic urban medieval monument in Ireland, Reginald's Tower. The elegant Chamber of Commerce building, the City Hall and the Bishop's Palace are prime examples of beautiful 18th century architecture
Return by luxury coach to the Pier.
Please note: This tour requires a moderate amount of walking 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometres). It is suitable for guests who utilise a wheelchair who can embark and disembark the coach via the coach steps however parts of the gardens will be inaccessible. While appropriate for those with limited mobility, these guests may require additional time at certain elements of the tour. An inside visit to the Lismore Castle is not permitted. Lightweight, comfortable clothing, a light sweater or jacket, flat, closed-toe walking shoes are recommended. The tour sequence may vary.Due to the local climate, most of the coaches are air-cooled.
Discover the pastoral beauty and history of the Irish countryside during this picturesque, half-day sightseeing excursion to the 12th-century Jerpoint Abbey.
Waterford, River Arrigle and Jerpoint Abbey
Depart the pier for the scenic, approximately one-hour drive to Jerpoint Abbey. En route, your picturesque route traverses the rich farmland of County Kilkenny. Nestled on the banks of the River Arrigle, Jerpoint Abbey is a 12th-century Cistercian monastery. Its expansive grounds contain a well-preserved series of ruins that paint a vivid picture of monastic life. Upon arrival at Jerpoint Abbey, take a guided walking tour. Along the way, see the gardens, watermill, granary, large kitchen, a number of stone carvings depicting the saints, and intricately-designed, rounded archways. The precision and attention-to-detail in the architecture is truly inspiring.
Jerpoint Abbey Transepts, Chancel, East Window, and Central Tower
The oldest sections of Jerpoint Abbey are the Irish-Romanesque transepts and chancel. The east window dates from the 14th century, and the magnificent central tower was added in the 15th century. You may opt to climb the stairs for a magnificent panoramic view. The restored cloister bears carvings of knights and ladies, bishops and dragons, and even a man with a stomach ache, echoing a drawing found on a medieval manuscript. Legend has it that a ruined church just to the east of Jerpoint Abbey is the final resting place of Saint Nicholas, the man who inspired Santa Claus.
Thomastown, Inistioge, and Nore and Barrow River Valleys
Next, re-board your coach for a splendid orientation drive through Thomastown and on to Inistioge, an enchanting Irish village nestled on the banks of the River Nore. A photo stop is made here to capture the idyllic scene of a stone-arched bridge spanning the gently flowing river. At the conclusion of your visit, re-board your coach and commence the approximately 45-minute drive back to the pier. En route, take in lovely views of the Nore and Barrow river valleys and countryside.
Please note: This tour involves a moderate amount of walking, at time over uneven surfaces and inclines, with a few steps to negotiate to get on/off the coach, four steps at the entrance to Jerpoint Abbey and 15 steps inside the venue. It is suitable for guests who utilise a wheelchair who can embark and disembark the coach via the coach steps however parts of the Abbey Ruins will be inaccessible. Guests are advised to wear warm, layered clothing and a waterproof jacket or coat with flat, closed-toe and non-slip walking shoes, and bring an umbrella from the ship. Due to the local climate, most of the coaches are air-cooled.
Discover Kilkenny, arguably the pre-eminent medieval city of Ireland. Kilkenny's rich medieval heritage is evident in the city's treasure trove of historical buildings and landmarks, including St Canice's Cathedral and Kilkenny Castle.
The day begins with a lovely scenic drive to Ancient Kilkenny which was named after St. Canice. Kilkenny is home to two exquisite structures, St. Canice Cathedral and Kilkenny Castle.
The first stop is Kilkenny Castle where the Normans arrived in the 12th century and built the castle, which overlooks the River Nore. The vividly painted ceiling of its long gallery has been implicated in a few stiff necks - its beauty is simply fascinating. Three of the castles four original towers survive today. Kilkenny Castle became the home of the Butlers - the Earls and Dukes of Ormonde - in 1391. The family continued to reside there until 1935. You will undergo a self-guided visit and 'meet' a few generations via a plethora of portraits that still adorn the Castle.
Free Time in the City
Following your visit to the Castle there will be some time to explore Kilkenny independently and perhaps visit the famous Kilkenny Design Centre to browse the wonderful collection of Irish Designer products.
Rejoin your guide and travel short distance to Langtons House Hotel for a delicious 3 Course Lunch followed by tea and coffee. Established in 1938 and ever since expanding filled with character and plenty of charm Langton's has a reputation for a leading venue in food. Prepare your senses for the flavors and tastes of award winning food.
St Canice's Cathedral
Next stop for photos is outside St Canice's Cathedral and Round Tower, which are an essential part of the structural heritage in the vibrant medieval city of Kilkenny. This ecclesiastical site was founded in the 6th century and named after St Canice. "Cill Channigh" (the Irish name for the town of Kilkenny) is the Gaelic for the Church of Canice, the church that originally stood on the site in the 6th century.
After Lunch, visit the Smithwick's Brewery. This new multi-sensory and interactive experience will take you on a journey through the medieval origins of brewing on the site of the St. Francis Abbey Brewery to the arrival of John Smithwick in the 1700's, and right up to the present day. Be fully immersed in the history of Smithwick's, Ireland's oldest beer brand, the amazing heritage of the Smithwick's family and its place in Kilkenny, a city steeped in history and brewing. Smithwick's, with its rich ruby glow and creamy head, is the perfect marriage of innovation and tradition. Enjoy a sample before departing for the pier
Please note: This tour requires a moderate amount of walking 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometres) with many steps at the castle. Due to the stairs at Kilkenny Castle this tour is not suitable for guests in wheelchairs or those with limited mobility. Due to the local climate, most of the coaches are air-cooled. Lightweight, comfortable clothing, a light sweater or jacket, flat, closed-toe walking shoes are recommended
Experience the splendid beauty of Waterford and its surrounds in a unique new way during this half-day cycling excursion.
Waterford City, River Suir and Kilmeaden Village
Depart the pier and travel to Waterford City, situated at the head of Waterford Harbour. Upon arrival, receive your safety briefing and bicycle before setting off on your guided cycling tour from just outside Waterford City. Cycle alongside the River Suir, the best way to explore the most picturesque part of County Waterford, and follow the former Waterford-to-Dungarvan Railway line as far as the village of Kilmeaden.
Irish Countryside and Photo Stops
Your leisurely cycle along this line offers wonderful panoramic vistas of your surrounds, with photo stops along the way to take in the stunning beauty of the lush, green countryside. En route, a light refreshment stop is made before returning to Waterford City. Upon arrival, re-board your coach and commence the approximately 30-minute drive back to the pier.
Please note: This tour involves an extensive amount of bicycling for approximately 14 miles (23 kilometres). This tour is recommended for guests who are in good physical condition, experienced and confident bicycle-riders, and comfortable with hand brakes and riding downhill. This tour is not suitable for guests with limited mobility and guests who utilise a wheelchair. Guests are advised to wear warm, layered clothing with flat, closed-toe walking shoes and raingear from the ship. Helmets are provided, and must be worn throughout the riding portion of the tour. Guests must be at least 10 years old to participate on this tour; minors must be accompanied by an adult. Due to the local climate, most of the coaches are air-cooled. The tour sequence may vary. Operation of this tour is subject to weather conditions. Space on this tour is very limited; we suggest you book in advance to avoid disappointment.