Category Archives: Beautiful Waterford

What they can’t take from Waterford

saleens-sunset (Custom)I’ve been thinking about Waterford a lot of late and our offering to tourists both national and international, and also our job situation and the fact that so much is being pilfered and taken from us and I think that we need to go back to basics… what is it that makes Waterford unique and special, and what can we build on that they can never take away.

We’re lucky to still have the glass, but unfortunately, this just brings in daytrippers, who spend plenty of money in the glass but not around the city before they head off to kiss the blarney stone.  We had a scare recently and the glass could be moved from Waterford and we know Kilmeaden cheddar is made elsewhere now for example.

Other treginalds-tower (Custom)hings that have been taken or at least part set up elsewhere, however,  the most disastrous one was losing our city status, which was blessed and passed by many of our then elected Councillors (many didn’t get re-elected but have any lessons been learned?).  They promised we would still be a city, that nothing would change but we don’t have a city mayor anymore (we have some metropolitan hybrid) and in the local Governments act we can simply call ourselves a city (or pretend we still are).  Anyone with Waterford blood coursing through their veins should see that act for what it was and never forgive it until it is completely reversed.


So what can’t they take and can we build on this?  I think so?

gaulstown-dolmen (Custom)For me, growing up, Waterford was always about family adventures (not just families with kids but couples and friends too, who want an adventure but not run a marathon over mountain range whilst being chased by minotaurs).  Now I know that the west is great at this sort of thing but it seems to be more rugged and wild (certainly Bord Failte think so).  Waterford on the other hand, though still rugged, has it’s own spectacular beauty and it can be enjoyed by families.  So I was thinking about a list of things that we have that cannot be taken that can be promoted, and Paul Dower, of Waterford in Your Pocket has been doing a great job promoting them.  Some of these things include:

Ground Zero:

– City fabric: historic pubs, local artisan shops, walls and museums, food and culture

metalman-coast (Custom)Within 10 miles:

– Fabulous beaches  incuding woodstown, dunmore, tramore, annestown
– Town offerings: great restaurants and pubs in coastal villages, jack meades, spinnaker, the vic etc.
– Megalithic history: dolmens like gaulstown, knockeen etc.
– Suir valley, which will soon be an unreal greenway
– Gardens such as Mt. Congreve and now Curraghmore opening up
– Playgrounds such as people’s park, fenor bog etc.

coumshingaun-chopper (Custom)Within 30 miles:

– Mountain range with magic hill, beautiful falls, accessible drives and fabulous corrie lakes (untouched)
– Walks at Rathgormack side, hanoras cottage, beautiful nire valley
– Magical little walks like crough wood, newtown, colligan
– Amazing beaches all the way to Ardmore

towers-of-ballysaggartmore (Custom)

West Waterford

– Ballysaggartmore towers
– Lismore castle and town
– Dungargvan and it’s countless pubs, restarurants, history, mannicured parks etc.
– Ardmore tower, cliff house, st. declans well, cliff walks
– An Rinn (only gaeltacht this side of Ireland)
– All the way to youghal there’s blackwater, cappoquinn, villierstown, mt. mellary, the vee

ballysaggart-waterfall (Custom)So many amazing spots, enough to fill 2 weeks for any tourist and I’m just chucking this out from the top of my head.

When I was with my wife first we used to love exploring together, now we do it with the kids… yeah we were limited for a few years but as they grow they take on more and more of these experiences and we get pleasure showing them, and a blaa with saussies and red sauce on the side of the road never goes astray.

lismore-ducks (Custom)So, the bottom line is this.  They can’t take these things from us, lets build on it, sing it from the rooftops more and show people how brilliant Waterford really is.  If they use Waterford city and Dungarvan and the other towns and villages as bases money will be spent etc. which will create sustainable jobs as the word spreads about it.

We’ve undersold these assets in the past, nobody else can claim them, but their beauty can claim hearts.

That’s what we should be targetting.

Entertainment Venue for Waterford North Quays?

Gig StageI love the fact that something is being done about the North Quays and the fact that the council have gotten it to a stage where it can be pushed forward. Even it’s demolition will be an improvement as it is an eyesore, though most of our brains just ignore it at this point. Tourists see it very clearly though when they visit and it is ugly to them so anything would be an improvement.  I think it’s a pity that even one of the buildings has to be kept for historic reasons.

I love the bridge. Perhaps it could be covered all the way across, like the corridor from the car park to the terminals in Dublin Airport as it can get very windy. This would be nice for people who get the train here and want to walk to the city centre.

I’m not sure about more offices in the city as we can’t fill the ones we already have… I would much prefer to see something that would push Waterford forward as the capital of the region like an entertainment arena/conference centre.  I would like to see huge acts come to perform here, like they do at the Glenn Eagle in Killarney or the Odyssey in Belfast.  The Forum wasn’t big enough for huge acts to come here, and there’s nothing really like that in the region so it would really add to the cool factor of Waterford if we built something that could hold 3K+ people for big events.  Something like that can be a success with the right marketing and given the site is at the end of the motorway, and train station it is really convenient.  It would bring a huge amount of money to the city as people exiting gigs visit our pubs, restaurants, hotels etc.

The North Quays also bake in the sun in the summer, so it would be nice if it became an entertainment centre with some nice restaurants, cafes, maybe a bar etc.  A cool place to hang out for adults and families with a fantastic view of our city’s quays.  It could be lit up at night calling out to the people of the city to come visit, just as the city would call to people who exit the venue after a gig has finished.   I’d consider moving the bus depot there too, especially if the bridge is covered and make it a hive of activity for people traveling to and from Waterford.

We need to think a lot bigger here in Waterford.  If we build it they will come!

Aurora Borealis / Northern Lights over Waterford

I saw a report last night from Waterford Weather’s facebook page (give them a like) about a possible rare view of the Aurora Borealis as far south as Waterford.

It was about 12.30am last night so I went outside for a look and it looked like there was a sunset happening to the North! I know it’s North because the sun sets in the direction of the Comeragh Mountains.  It wasn’t the city lights because I am in Orchardstown and that is well to the East. I installed an app on my phone to find due North and looked in that direction towards the sky to make sure I wasn’t going crazy.

There was definitely a green haze to the ‘sunset’ so I took a couple of photos with my phone so apologies for the quality.


I went up to my attic to get a higher shot and kept the camera steady on the roof and got this shot also…


It wasn’t flickering like you’d see in the movies but you could clearly see the green haze as it was such a clear night.

Christmas in Waterford

christmas-waterfordWhy not spend Christmas in Waterford this year? Waterford City is the place to be this Christmas where Ireland first Christmas Festival, Winterval, is taking place between November 21st and December 24th.  Here are 40 things that you can do in Waterford during the Christmas season!  Come visit and you will be amazed at what we have to offer!  The City will provide a fantasy wonderland for kids of all ages from 1 to 101 and there is no better way of getting into the christmas spirit!

  1. Take a trip on the Santa Express with Waterford & Suir Valley Railway
  2. Visit the Museum of Toys
  3. Take a spin on the old style Carousel  in John Roberts Square
  4. Winterval Illuminates Light show at Cathedral Square
  5. Storytelling for the kids at Irelands oldest civic building at Reginalds Tower
  6. Visit the Yule Viking Settlement at Newstreet Gardens
  7. Visit Waterford on Ice
  8. Visit Santa Grotto at the Medieval Museum
  9. See the Waterford Panto Societies “Sleeping Beauty”
  10. Have a classical evening with Handel’s Messiah at the Cathedral of the most Holy Barronstrand Street
  11. View Disneys “Frozen” and have a hot chocolate or a gluhwein
  12. Visit the Polar Bear Garden at City Hall
  13. Experience a “Victorian Christmas” at the Bishops Palace
  14. Visit the South Pole and enchanted gardens at the Newstreet Gardens
  15. See Keith Barry on the 29th of November at The Mall
  16. Take a slide on the “Helter Skelter” on The Mall
  17. Take a spin on the “Vintage Ferris Wheel” outside the House of Waterford Crystal
  18. Come along a have a listen to the “Singing Christmas Tree”
  19. WAMA, Princesses and Superhero Parade
  20. Visit the Spider Man Exhibition
  21. Let your taste buds experience all the food stalls at the WInterval Market
  22. Take a ride on the WInterval Express
  23. Visit the Elves Workshop
  24. Take a ride through the City on a Horse Drawn Sleigh
  25. Hang a decoration on the Hasbro Giving Tree
  26. Take an adventure through the “Exploration Dome”
  27. Visit the Winterval Market for hand crafted Christmas goodies
  28. Experience the Waterford Homecraft annual Christmas Craft Fair
  29. Sing the kids up for the Christmas Creative Writing Workshop
  30. Visit Central Arts.  Little Elves Puppet Making Workshops. Let your child’s imagination run riot, where they will get the opportunity to make Christmas themed puppets.
  31. Meet Oldman Winter and enter into the City Square Word Search Competition
  32. Visit the Polish Christmas Market at Parnell Street
  33. Party the night away at the Late Night Winterval Club
  34. Call into the Municipal Gallery.  The “Eye of a Child” – is your child a Michaelangelo in the making? Get them to colour in, create and exhibit their own version of one of our famous artworks and bring it home.
  35. Visit the Rotary Club Christmas tree
  36. Visit the Penguins at the Palace
  37. Check out the choice of Hotels and B&Bs in Waterford
  38. Check out some of the over 114 restaurants and cafes that we have in Waterford City and County
  39. Visit Tramore Christmas Carnival
  40. Keep up to date with all thats going on with Waterford In Your Pocket

So you see we have everything covered for you this Christmas in Waterford.  With the special seasonal spirit that can only be found in Waterford, shopping, restaurants, cafes and pubs all in the City centre, Waterford is the place to be this winter!  Fun for all the family, go on, you know you want to!  See you in Waterford Ho Ho Ho!

This article was written by Paul Dower of Waterford in Your Pocket, copyright (c) 2014


Magners in the Mountains: Nothing added but time

Ah yes, the Comeragh mountains, those wondrous mountains that provide a natural border between our wonderful Tipperary neighbours and us occupants of the Gentle County. A playground for both adult and child alike, with lakes abounding and scenes astounding.

Heaven on Earth.

Coumshingaun Lough, Comeragh Mountains, Co. Waterford.

Coumshingaun Lough, Comeragh Mountains, Co. Waterford.

I spend a lot of time up there myself, especially at the lough called Coumshingaun (pronounced Come Shing Awn), the magical lake nestled on the East side of the range. Why?  because a) it keeps me fit, b) it is beautiful, serene and untouched c) it is very calming, d) I can swim there (for a few months of the year at least). Add a sunny day, and a pint of bulmers and you couldn’t imagine a more heavenly retreat.

I posted a pic a couple of years ago of a Bulmers in a glass with ice, with the backdrop of the cliffs of Coumshingaun and it went wild on facebook, shared by Bulmers too.  I enjoyed every drop of that beverage and have had many more up there since.  I fact, I often leave a few hidden around up there so that I don’t have to carry them up each time.

bulmers in the sun

Bulmers in the Comeragh Mountains. Heaven.

This year has been epic in terms of the weather so I’ve been up there more often than not. The other day I was swimming in the lake and I stood on something strange in the lake.  I dived to see what it was, it was a bottle.  I brought it to the shore to bring down as rubbish and only when I got it in did I realise that it was actually a very old bottle of Magners.

old magners bottle

old magners bottle

I thought that Bulmers was always Bulmers in Ireland and that it’s exported name was Magners because of Bulmers in the UK, but it turns out that Magners was made in Clonmel since the 1930s and Bulmers bought shares in the company before the second world war and the reason it became Bulmers in Ireland was to piggy back the Bulmers branding in the UK as we received UK channels to our TVs here in Ireland.

According to Wikipedia:

“Commercial cider production was started in Clonmel, South Tipperary, Ireland in 1935, by local man William Magner. magners-2Magner bought the orchard from Mr Phelan from Clonmel. Magner quickly established a successful cider factory in Dowds Lane, Clonmel. In 1937 English cider-makers H. P. Bulmer purchased a 50% share in the business, using their expertise to greatly increase production. After the war in 1946, Bulmers purchased the remaining 50%, changing the name to Bulmers Ltd Clonmel.”

So it turns out that the bottle I found is probably from the period of 1935 to 1946, which is pretty cool.  What is even cooler is that the tradition of drinking a bottle of cider manufactured across the mountains in Clonmel has been going on for well over 60 years.

I guess it was fate that this bottle found me.

Remember to drink sensibly.

If anyone has any further information about this bottle, please email as I’d love to hear from you.

Some Facts about Waterford

The following text appeared at the end of ‘The Deise Dictionary of Waterford Slang’ which was published nearly 8 years ago now:

reginalds-tower (Custom)Waterford is a fantastic county in South East Ireland with an amazing history, spectacular scenery, and a unique  culture. Waterford’s history spans many thousands of years, Waterford City being Ireland’s oldest city and Old Parish near the beautiful Ardmore being the oldest Christian parish in the country, pre-dating even St. Patrick. There are Castles, Historic Buildings, Dolmens, and Ogham stones dotted around the county also. Some historic characters of note are: TF Meagher, one of the nine fine Irishmen, who conceived and first raised the Irish flag in Waterford; Robert Boyle, internationally known as the father of chemistry; Luke Wadding, who set up St. Patrick’s day as a feast day; and Edmund Rice, founder of the Christian Brothers. There are simply too many to mention here.

Waterford also boasts some spectacular scenery such as: the world class Corrie lakes in the Comeragh mountains (Coumshingaun and Crotty’s lake); the Towers loop walk in Ballysaggartmore (a totally magical experience); 40+ beaches on its 70 mile, geologically unique, copper coast line; and some amazing walks through woods and marshes. It has to be experienced to be believed!

Finally, it has a unique culture where people are always up for a bit of craic (joking about). They speak their own language, as is evident by the slang in this book. It also boasts a unique cuisine in the form of Blaas, Goody, Dilisk and Crubeens for example.  All in all, Waterford is an amazing place to live and the quality of life here is just fantastic boy.

Some Waterford Facts:

  • Waterford City is Ireland’s Oldest City
  • Old Parish near Ardmore is Ireland’s oldest Christian parish, dating back to before St. Patrick’s time.  It is located near Ardmore, which is the site of a beautiful round tower in a magnificent setting with breathtaking coastal views.
  • The Christian Brothers’ were founded in Waterford by Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice in 1802
  • Waterford city is the only city where the Protestant and Catholic Cathedrals were built by the same man, John Roberts. The Roman Catholic Cathedral is the oldest in Ireland
  • The Irish Flag was flown for the very first time in Waterford City on the 7th of March 1848 at 33 the Mall and was conceived by Waterford and Irish legend, TF Meagher.
  • Waterford has had many names, Vadre Fjord, Port Láirge, Cuan-na-Grian, Glean-na-nGleodh, Urbs Intacta, Decies, Déise
  • Reginald’s Tower is the oldest urban medieval monument in Ireland and is one of 6 towers still standing in Waterford as part of the old city walls after 1000 years
  • The phrase By Hook or By Crooke originated here from the place names Hook and Crooke when Cromwell vowed that his armies would take Waterford ‘by Hook or by Crooke‘. He never did.
  • The first Governor of New Zealand was Waterford born William Hobson
  • Born and reared in Lismore Castle, Co. Waterford, Robert Boyle is hailed as the Father of Chemistry and is most famous for Boyle’s Law
  • ETS Walton was the first man to split the atom and the only Irish man to win the Nobel Prize for Science!
  • The bacon curing process (bacon / rashers) was invented in Waterford
  • Waterford has approximately 40 beautiful beaches dotted along its beautiful copper coast. The copper coast is geologically unique, with spectacular views and points of interest such as the pipes of baidhb and the old copper mines.
  • The Most significant Viking find in recent times was discovered in Woodstown along the river Suir, it has been called the Pompeii of Europe and is of major international significance
  • There are Dolmens, Megalithic tombs, Cairns, Ogham Stones, standing stones and ruins all around the county
  • William Vincent Wallace probably the greatest opera composer and organist the country has ever produced (his works include, Maritana, the opera).
  • The Metal Man is a unique point of interest on Newtown head, West of Tramore Bay (which is one of the finest beaches in the country)
  • It is one of only 5 counties in Ireland with a Gaeltacht, An Rinn or Ring, with around 1000 native Irish speakers.  It is a very beautiful part of the county.
  • There are some impressive remains of monasteries in the City, once called “Little Rome” due to the sheer number of churches and monasteries etc.
  • Towers of Ballysaggartmore, West of Lismore, is a magical site with a beautiful woodland walk, suitable for family excursions.  The gates of grandeur and the entrance gate were built before they ran out of money. If you visit make sure you search for the Waterfall.
  • Dromana Gate, stands along the Villierstown-Cappoquinn road. It is the only Hindu-gothic building in Ireland
  • Mt. Mellary is an impressive monastery in a beautiful setting on the Vee drive.
  • Sean Kelly, a cyclist from Rathgormack, County Waterford, is ranked in the top 10 cyclists of all time.  He is in good company with other famous Waterford sports people such as Percy Kirwan, John Treacy, Jim Beglin, Paddy Coad, Alfie Hale, John O’Shea, John Keane and Philly Grimes.
  • Coumshingaun, a corrie lake in the Comeragh mountains, is said to be the finest glacial lake in Europe.
  • Many international businesses started in Waterford, including Ryan Air, Jacobs biscuits and Grubb telescopes.
  • Luke Wadding, a Friar from Greyfriars of Waterford, set up St. Patrick’s day.

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For anyone interested in purchasing the Deise Dictionary of Waterford Slang it is available to buy with my other books at the following link:



The Garden of KilmEDEN – Mount Congreve, Old Kilmeaden Road, Waterford

Beautiful Waterfall at Mount Congreve

Waterfall at Mount Congreve

I spent a wonderful 2 hours today with my wife Nicola in what I’ve coined ‘The Garden of KilmEDEN’ i.e. Mount Congreve, Old Kilmeaden Road on the outskirts of Waterford city. This garden was carefully maintained under by Ambrose Congreve, who died at the ripe old age of 104 back in May 2011.  God bless him for the legacy, nay gift, he has left behind for the people of Waterford and Ireland as he bequeath the state this wonderful sanctuary in his will.  Let us hope that it remains the paradise it is long into the future.

The gardens have been labelled as ‘the greatest garden in the world’ by the Horticultural Society of Massachusetts and won countless awards and accolates worldwide over the years. The Mount Congreve estate is located between Waterford city and the village of Kilmeadan and lies on approximately seventy acres of woods and gardens including a 4 acre walled garden. It runs alongside the suir valley, which has a little train service for tourists that wish to experience the beauty of the area.  Wouldn’t it be fantastic to have Mt. Congreve as a stop on the Suir Valley Railway.

Lush wooded walks

Lush woodland walks

There are around 16 miles of paths so even with a full day you would not have enough time to explore the garden fully in one visit.  In our short lunch we went through the walled garden, which contains thousands of the most healthy flowers you are ever likely to see or smell.  Then we took a path alongside the river through trees and rhodedendrons, which were just out of bloom.

We walked to the old estate, which is in fabulous condition and then on to the beautiful little waterfall.  We stopped for a little packed lunch and then went back to the courtyard where there were some plants and snacks and coffees for sale.  It was great to see the huge interest in the gardens at lunch time today and I hope that it will open 7 days a week soon and the buses start flowing to experience this floral wonder of the world.

Thank you Ambrose from all the people of Waterford and Ireland once again.  May you rest in peace your work has been outstanding.


Being from Waterford

Coumshingaun Lake

Me up at Coumshingaun Lake

This is a change from my usual posts here, but I just wanted to share what it means to me to be from and live in Waterford.

I have had several opportunities to leave Waterford for greener pastures on the work scene, but I would rather work for a fraction of the salary I could get in Dublin, London or further afield to stay and raise my family here.

So why do I choose to live here?  Is it because I am from Waterford?  I’m sure that’s part of it, but the main reasons are as follows:

  • The Area: I love the area, I’m a few miles from Tramore beach where I can have a coffee looking out at the waves in the T-Bay surf club, or to Dooleys for a Cod and Chip and then a drive up to the Guillemenes to check out the view over the bay.  I’m 15 mins from the mountains and Coumshingaun, the most beautiful corrie lake you are likely to see in a lifetime. There’s forest walks, rivers, mountains, lakes, fantastic copper coastline and so much more to do and see in the area.
  • Towns and Cities: I’m close to the City and not far from Dungarvan, which both have everything I need from shopping point of view or if I need to go to the flicks or whatever.  And within driving distance to fantastic towns such as Dunmore East, Ardmore, Lismore, Stradbally to name just a few, each unique and beautiful.
  • Food: There are some absolutely fantastic places to eat, both cheap and cheerful and for that special occasion.  For all tastes.  The farmers market on the quay, the bar food at Geoffs, Surf and Turf at the Spinnaker in Dunmore East.  If you like Thai, there’s Sabai on the Mall, for Indian, there’s Cafe Goa, for French, la Bohemme and l’Atmosphere, for Italian there’s a number of choices in the city.  You can also get traditional Irish food and Carvery in many of the hotels and the Holy Cross on the Cork road.  Then of course, there’s the Blaa and Rasher, both invented in Waterford, a hearty Deise breakfast :-)  If you like fast food, there’s plenty to choose from e.g. Gino’s the best pizza you’ll get anywhere (get the special and their hazelnut ice cream is to die for), then there’s chippers where you can get a Waterford Scallop (just don’t eat too many or you’ll turn into a fat puddin).
  • Great Place for Families:  I have two children and it’s a great place for them to grow up.  It’s safe, they people are friendly and have good morals, and there’s loads of community groups and clubs such as Scouts, Stage Schools, Sports Gyms and so on. The schools are well run and trouble free. There’s also loads of places to bring kids on picnics and to explore like ‘The Mossy Woods’, Ballyscanlon, Newtown Cove, and there’s loads of brilliant playgrounds around like Fenor in particular, Kilmeaden, Ballybeg etc. and there are fantastic skate parks in Tramore and The People’s Park.
  • Sport & Activities: Waterford has a great sporting tradition with Soccer and GAA and we love our teams.  We haven’t had huge success lately but we battle on for the county colours.  Other than that people love keeping fit here, there’s great running clubs, cycling clubs, surfing, kettlebells, taekwondo, MMA, Tag Rugby, Boxing and so on.  Something to cater for all tastes.
  • History & Culture:  We are a very proud culture, we love our history, our language our art.  There are 3 museums in the city in the Viking Triangle which has 1000 years of history in 1000 steps. Waterford is the oldest city in Ireland and will celebrate it’s 1100th Birthday in 2014.  We have had some very famous children too such as Luke Wadding, who set up St. Patrick’s day as a festival, Thomas Francis Meagher, who came up with the tricolour flag, Edmund Rice (from Kilkenny) set up Mount Sion School here and started the Christian Brothers.  The Theatre Royal is the main theatre in the city, and there’s Garter lane, which cater’s for a wide range of art.
  • Language: We have our own slang here, I’ve written the book on it ‘The Deise Dictionary of Waterford Slang’ and we have bizarre names for things e.g A snail is a shellakybooky, a catapult is a gallybander… If you’re the tough sort and are looking for a drink in a bar order a Large Bottle off the Shelf.  That’s how real men drink Guinness!
  • Bars: Some good ones have been lost due to the recession, but we still have loads of great pubs including old pubs like Downses and T&Hs, then there’s the trendy Geoffs Bar and the Kazbar which leads you into the Nightclub area.
  • Festivals: We have festivals all year round such as The 1848 Tricolour Celebration, Spraoi, Harvest Festival, Winterval and many others. There’s the Dungarvan Food Festival and the Lismore Book Festival also to name but a few.
  • Community: Waterford has a fantastic supportive business community, we all take an interest in each other and recognise the fact that supporting your own means supporing yourself as the money stays within the local economy.  There’s a great community on facebook and it’s very supportive and welcoming. Without this community I would not be able to make a living here and for that I’m really appreciative.

In conclusion, Waterford is a great place to work, live and play, and the ideal place to raise a family.  If you’re from Waterford you already know all of this, if you’re not, why not come visit us. If you are looking for stuff to do give me a shout and I’ll be delighted to help you out.